[XeTeX] Pronunciation of "XeTeX" in various languages

Bruno Voisin bvoisin at mac.com
Wed Feb 21 21:44:38 CET 2007

Le 21 févr. 07 à 21:18, Robert Spence a écrit :

> On 21 Feb 2007, at 16:34 , Bruno Voisin wrote:
>> 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 fact, I wasn't aware of a difference either.  When I checked in a
> concise Larousse dictionary (35,000 words) I found /gz/ for the "x"
> in "xylophone" and /ks/ for the "x" in "xénophobe".  But a much
> larger Le Robert/Collins gives /gz/ for both, with---among all the
> words listed under X---only "xi" and "xyste" having the /ks/ sound at
> the beginning.  Strange...

Thinking about it a bit more, I would say you're right: x is usually  
pronounced /gz/, as in "exercice", while /ks/ would rather be written  
cc, as in "accessoire". A notable exception is the Greek letter xi,  
pronounced as /ksi/, but usually the transliteration "ksi" is used in  
French texts instead of the ISO "xi".

My dictionary, though, says the same as yours: for some words it's / 
gz/, and for others /ks/. I must admit I've never heard the second  
used, but it may be just a matter of having trained ears. I know some  
people who tell there's a difference in the ways "brun" and "brin"  
are pronounced, but I never noticed any myself. I remember from  
primary school in the Paris suburbs being told "in", "im", "ein",  
"ain" and "un" are different spellings for the same sound, and  
similarly for "en", "em" and "an", but some of my friends educated in  
other parts of France were told these were subtly different sounds;  
thus it may all be regional.

> [...] And as most of us don't actually know
> many (if any) other XeTeX users in person, and phonetic
> transcriptions are such a bother, I suggest we push ahead with plans
> for the 1st ICXTXU, where we can compare pronunciations directly,
> over Ricard and amuse-gueule...

Or, to add a bit more confusion to the matter, over some Xérès...

Bruno Voisin

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