[XeTeX] Pronunciation of "XeTeX" in various languages

Bruno Voisin bvoisin at mac.com
Wed Feb 21 16:34:13 CET 2007

Le 21 févr. 07 à 15:03, Robert Spence a écrit :

> And what about French?
> Do French-speaking TeX users usually pronounce "TeX" with a /x/ at
> the end or a /k/?

Those I know pronounce "tek", as in technology. But similarly French  
people usually say "bak" for the composer Bach, with only purists  
pronouncing "bar" as it should be in German AFAIR from high school.  
(Sorry for those knowledgeable in phonetic alphabet, I never managed  
to remember it.)

I've always been amazed by Knuth's explanation that TeX should be  
pronounced like loch as in Loch Ness. We French people pronounce  
"lok", but Knuth's explanation seems to imply this should be "lor".

Knuth refers to Greek also, but I must confess I don't know Greek.  
For a couple of years I had a Dutch office mate who had studied  
classics, and he was pronouncing "ter", which seems to imply this is  
how tau-epsilon-xi is pronounced in Greek.

> <irrelevant>
> One of the nicest things about Jürgen Vogel's recent screen portrayal
> of Frederick the Great of Prussia was the way he pointedly addressed
> J.S. Bach as (French) /'bak/, not (German) /'bax/.
> </irrelevant>
> And is the first sound of "XeTeX" the sound of "x" in
> "xylophone" [gz] or the sound of "x" in "xénophobe" [ks]?

Personally I pronounce "kzétèk", a bit like czar. But I must confess  
I know no other French XeTeX user in person.

I was never aware of a difference between the pronunciations of the  
"x" in xylophone and xénophobe, both sound like "kz" to my ears. But  
maybe this is just the Parisian accent I have.

In any case, I think Jonathan once said the initial "X" in XeTeX  
should be pronounced like a "Z", as for XUL, though he had no strong  
feeling about the matter.

Bruno Voisin

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