Pronounciations I had to look up

Originally written: December 2nd, 2020
Last edited: January 23rd, 2021

During my undergrad, I did research with this interesting friend from MIT. When I asked him for his email address, let's say, he pronounced it as "foo at mitt dot edju". Instead of pronouncing MIT as em-eye-tee and edu as ee-dee-you, he pronounced them as full words. Needless to say, I was quite confused when I heard him say his e-mail address.

I don't believe in a "right pronounciation" (I'm a "descriptivist" instead of a "prescriptivist"), and I celebrate pronounciations, likes the ones produced by my MIT friend. However, due to pragmatic concerns, it usually helps to pronounce words like other people. SCUBA is an acronym, but nobody pronounces it as such.

Tech and programming notably have words with ambigious pronounciatons. I believe all that all pronounciations are "correct", but I've definitely looked up "how to pronounce" for these words. Off the top of my head...


GNU's not Unix is apparently pronounced guh-new.


I for sure thought GNOME would be pronounced like the little creature, like no-um. But since it's derived from GNU, apparently it "should" be pronounced as guh-no-um.


Okay, this is a source of heated debates, actually. One camp says that SQL's predecessor was named Sequel, and that SQL intended to call itself SEQUEL, but could not due to copyright issues. So they believe SQL should be prounounced like the word "sequel". The other camp asserts that SQL stands for Structured Query Language, so it should be pronounced like an acronym: es-queue-el.

Seeing as how two camps have their own prounciations, I'd say either is just as good as the other. They'll understand each other, even if begrudingly. One piece of advice I've once heard:

It's not SQL or SEQUEL. It's whatever your boss calls it.


I've always pronounced the llvm-based C compiler as klang, but in retrospect it seems to make more sense to pronounce it see-lang, since it's really C compiler frontend for LLVM. However, people do tend to prounounce it klang, apparently. Or you can just use GCC, which tends to have an unambigious pronouncation (at least I've not heard anybody pronounce it as a word...).


Well, the color is typically pronounced ah-zu-uhr, but Microsoft CEO Satylla Nadella calls it ah-jur.


Well, vim is pronounced vee-eem, so for sure vi should be prounounced like the alphabet v? I quickly found out that everybody around me pronounces it as separate letters, vee-eye.


is pronounced as-key.


To quote the internet:

According to the documentation, TikZ is a recursive acronym of the German phrase "TikZ ist kein Zeichenprogramm." If a German speaker pronounced it as a word rather than the single letters, it would sound like English "tics". The terminating "Z" would sound like "s" as in the aforementioned "tics" rather than like "tz" as in "quartz" in order to avoid the piling up of the three consonants "ktz".

Probably add more words as time goes on...