[XeTeX] Pronunciation of "XeTeX" in various languages

Yves Codet ycodet at club-internet.fr
Thu Feb 22 09:30:28 CET 2007

Le 21 févr. 07 à 23:43, Robert Spence a écrit :

> My mother was taught at highschool in Australia in the early 1940s
> that there was a difference, but my highschool teachers there in the
> late 1960s told me there was no difference.  At university I was told
> that (strictly speaking) my mother's teachers had been right, not
> mine.  I think the difference has died out everywhere except on the
> stage, so your native-speaker feeling is right and my university
> lecturers were pedants.

Not only on the stage. People who were born in Lyons or in the  
surrounding region don't pronounce "in" and "un" (or "a" and "â") the  
same way. If you have a look at "Le Robert", you'll see that "brin"  
is [bʀɛ̃] but "brun" is [bʀœ̃] (or that "dame" is [dam] but  
"âme" is [ɑm]). This is the old pronunciation, but in most regions  
"in" and "un" are both pronounced [ɛ̃].

> But this raises an interesting possibility.  Instead of worrying
> about the difficult initial and final consonants in "XeTeX", we
> should be worrying about the vowels, which are really far too
> simple!  I propose we nasalize them, and adopt the Polish spelling
> "XęTęX".  (In French orthography the "ę" would be pronounced
> something like "hein", I think.)

It would be no problem for French speakers, but in many languages  
there are no nasalised vowels. Personally I pronounce XeTeX as [ketɛk]:
--- as Bruno wrote, French users of TeX say [tɛk],
--- so symmetry gives [ketɛk] (with [e] in the first syllable because  
[ɛ] wouldn't be normal in such a context in French).

Best wishes,


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