From iOS to SQL: The world’s most incorrectly pronounced tech terms

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Aurch Lawson

Many people mispronounce common technical terms, from iOS to SQL to Qi. It is understandable: some of the correct or official pronunciations of these terms are at best not intuitive. Still, we think it’s time to clear some of them.

On technical websites, it’s a bit of a trope to create vocabulary lists with definitions of common terms, and that makes sense. Reviewers who address a general audience often have to define their terms, as not everyone is as immersed as he is.

However, it is less common for efforts to clarify the pronunciation, as differences in this regard go far beyond the classic, death-to-death GIF debate between hard and soft GIF. To that end, we will go through some of the most controversial debates and ask Ars readers to share their findings and other examples that you think are worth discussing.

Below you will find a handful of Ars employees. Here too, dear readers, you are welcome to discuss and debate and introduce some others. For some of these and other proposed terms, we will publish an article that pronounces some correct (or at least official) pronunciations against incorrect ones that come from the best we can.

iOS and beOS

Apple’s widespread mobile operating system used to be called iPhoneOS, but has been called iOS for years. Nevertheless, you will often hear two different pronunciations: eye-oh-ess or eye-oss (rhymed with the name Ross). What about beOS? Do you pronounce these two instances of “OS” the same or different?

OS X and iPhone X

Anecdotally, about half of the people seem to say OS Ex and about half OS Ten. However, it’s even more confusing with the iPhone X, as this phone started next to the iPhone 8 instead of following a phone called iPhone 9. And what about the iPhone XS? Is it iPhone 10 Ess or, as the joke says, “iPhone Excess”?

SQL and MySQL

A Snafu trademark made this more complicated than it needed to be, but even if that never happened, it could still be controversial. Some people say SQL like “continuation”, while others pronounce the letters “ess-cue-ell”. The same applies of course to MySQL: MySequel or MyEssCueEll.

Linux

Lie-nux or Lihh-nux? Most people say the same, but there is always someone who goes their own way when it comes to Linux.

Qi

Kee? Chee? Everyone just appreciates wireless charging.

Huawei

Many English speakers pronounce this brand Hoo-ah-why. Others say wah-way or wow-way.

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