1. 24

After a suggestion from @1amzave, I thought it would be fun to ask how various Crustaceans pronounce those UNIX utilities and programming terms we’ve all read a million times but perhaps not said.

With that, how do you pronounce:

  • /etc
  • /lib
  • char
  • fsck
  • schema (and how do you pluralize it?)
    1. 10

      I say

      • et-see
      • lib like the first part of “libertine” not the first part of “library” (ironically)
      • car (but not cdr)
      • f-sick
      • skeema (and when I was young and pretentious I pluralized it “schemata” which is the best kind of correct)
      1. 3

        Ours match.

        “but not cdr”

        Nice touch. ;)

      2. 2

        This is exactly what I do, and I assume is going to be the most common among people. Leaving a comment since I’m not sure whether you are counting votes or just comments.

      3. 2

        I once received a pull request that was supposed to replace “schemata” with “schema” (sic, singular).

    2. 10

      I pronounce ‘em list most people I’d presume.

      • E-T-C
      • lib(erty)
      • char(coal)
      • F-S-check or fuck, depending on the context
      • skeema, skeemas
    3. 8
      • Etsy or “slash E-T-C”
      • Slash lib
      • char (as in charbroiled) or care
      • F-S-C-K
      • Ski-mah (Ski-mahs)
    4. 7

      Referencing this Am. Eng. IPA chart,

      1. ɛt si
      2. lɪb
      3. tʃɑr
      4. fʌsk
      5. skimə and skiməs

      I speak mostly with Western Pennslyvania English accent a.k.a. Pittsburghese, if it matters. My accent isn’t as strong as others since I grew up north of the area.

    5. 6

      Missing from the list, everyone seems to pronounce daemon as “daymon” but I’ve always thought it should be pronounced as “deemon” otherwise you have to start saying “ayon” for aeon and “encyclopaydia” as well. You know, for consistency.

      1. 1

        Wait, is aeon not “ayon”? I assumed it was, and eon in “eeyon”.

        1. 1

          Depends on how you pronounce the y.

        2. 1

          There may be a case for differentiation for certain uses but I’m a simple peasant so I consider æon and and eon to be the same word since they both mean unspecified long stretches of time (longer than an era).

      2. 1

        The Greek roots disagree with you for daimon [1] and aion [2]. Of course we don’t necessarily pronounce things as their roots, so this isn’t intended as a normative response.

        [1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daemon_(classical_mythology)

        [2] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aion_(deity)

        1. 1

          Sure, but–and bearing in mind that I’m in no way a linguistics scholar, so huge grain of salt here–regardless of its roots the ancient Æ ligature has no direct English equivalent vowel sound so it was simplified to long e almost everywhere for the purposes of modern English. E.g. “ether” for “æther” and “medieval” for “mediæval”.

          For whatever it’s worth, the cambridge dictionary agrees with me :) https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/pronunciation/english/daemon

    6. 6
      • slash etcetera
      • slash lib(erty)
      • char(coal)
      • effsock … I know it is file system check.
      • skeema
      1. 3

        I pronounce them the same, with the exception of fsck, which I pronounce as effsick.

    7. 6

      Never been more triggered by a bunch of tech-related text.

    8. 5
      • /etc — et see
      • /lib — lib, as in “liberal”
      • char — char, as in “char broiled”
      • fsck — fuh sk, as in “fun ski”
      • schema — scheme uh, scheme uhs (as in a ruse, or the programming language skeem)
    9. 4
      1. Et cetera
      2. Lib, rhymes with bib.
      3. Care as in care free, bears.
      4. Like physic.
      5. Schema (sounds like schemer); pluralized like schemers.
    10. 3

      but what about:

      cache? k-ssh?

      1. 3

        Cash! I watched a video recently where the narrator pronounced it caysh and I just cannot

    11. 3
      • et-see
      • lib
      • care
      • fisk
      • skee-ma (skee-muzz)
      • yavascript
      • rimraff
      • ell-ess
      • var (rhymes with far)
      • gun-zip
      • ch-own
      • cha-mod
      • su-dough

      (Also folks come out for pizza tomorrow if you’re in NYC! Scarrs pizza at 1800! Cheap and crowded!)

    12. 3

      I’m more interested in the ways people pronounce “–” as in “–verbose”.

      1. 4

        “dash” “dash”, or “dash” for those odd single - flags.

        1. 3

          Oh, so I’m not the only one. Many people around me call it “minus”.

    13. 3

      Canadian living in the US:

      • etcetera
      • lib (as in liberty)
      • char (as in charred)
      • f-sock
      • skeema (skeemas for more than one)

      The most consistent difference I notice is that almost every Canadian or British person I know pronounces “char” as in “charred” but my American colleagues, almost without exception, pronounce it as “care”.

      1. 3

        American here; I say “char” as in flame. But if I were going to make it short for “character” I’d pronounce it more like “carr”, i.e. “carry” without the final syllable.

        I seem to recall switching from “datta” to “dayta” due to watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, but I still say “stattus”, not “staytus”.

    14. 3

      I’m Australian, and we pronounce everything wrong, so my apologies; but:

      1. ettuk (’ɛttək)
      2. lib (liberated)
      3. char (like burning, not like character)
      4. fsk (unvoiced f; ski)
      5. ski ma / skeema; the plural is “heaps schemas mate”

      As a confusing bonus, we pronounce route as “root” (to a place, or on a network). However, both the woodworking and networking routers are called “rout er”, in the American fashion. This might be because the verb “to root” means something quite different here, and most people don’t do that in public.

    15. 3
      • et-see or ee-tee-see
      • lib (liberty)
      • char (broiled)
      • eff-ess-see-kay or “fussuk”
      • skeema (and I don’t recall pluralising it… but maybe skeemas?)
    16. 2
      • [Slash] e-t-c or et cetera
      • [Slash] lib(eral)
      • Char(coal)
      • Fuh-zuck (I caught this from my old boss, sometimes become aware of it mid-word, trip over it and then spell it out)
      • Ski-ma. And, correct or not, schemas.
    17. 2



      k-har (like if you say the first syllable of character, with a British accent)

      fsck (just like that)

      … how else would you pronounce schema? schemas.

    18. 2
      • EHT-see
      • as in “library”
      • as in “character” (care)
      • fisk
      • “SKEE-muh”, and probably “SKEE-muhz”, though pluralizing this isn’t actually something I personally deal with often (if ever)


      • sudo: “pseudo” (not “soo-doo”)
      • /var: as in “variable”
      • SQL: “squeal” (mostly just for giggles, because if you’re inserting vowels that weren’t there to start with, it’s no more arbitrary than “sequel” – or if anything less so, since it only adds them between “q” and “l”)
      • chmod, chown: see-aitch-{mod,own}
      • ioctl: eye-oh-control (have also heard “eye-OCK-tull”, not a fan)
    19. 2
      • etch
      • lib(erty)
      • char(coal)
      • fösk (stress falls on the ö but it’s mostly silent)
      • skeema

      Most come from how I’d read those combinations of letters in my native language (italian), except for schema.

    20. 2

      Similar but not identical to lorddimwit.

      • et-see
      • lib like libertine
      • char like charred
      • eff-suck
      • skeema(s)
    21. 2
      • slash et cetera
      • slash lib
      • car
      • fs check
      • skeema, skeemas
    22. 2
      • et-sea
      • lyb
      • char as in charcoal
      • eff ess see kay
      • skee-ma (schemae skee-may just to mess with people)
    23. 2
      1. “slash et-see”
      2. “slash lyb”
      3. “car”
      4. “f-s-c-k”
      5. “schema” and “schemas”, unless I’m feeling stroppy, in which case, “schemata”
    24. 2
      • et-see
      • like the beginning of “liberal”
      • care
      • eff-ess-check
      • skeem-uh, plural skeemz
    25. 2
      • ee - tee - cee
      • as “liberal”
      • as “character”
      • f-s-c-k
      • skeema, skeemas

      also /usr as “oosir”

    26. 2
      • et-see - initially used to call it ee-tee-see till i heard someone pronounce it et-see
      • lib - like lib[erty]
      • char - like char[acter], called it char[coal] till someone made pointed out it was wrong (it wasn’t wrong but the person was not comfortable with the idea that there can be different pronunciations)
      • f-es-see-k
      • skema

      i taught myself to code and had different pronunciations in my head which changed as i was exposed to other people who also wrote code and used linux.

      1. 2

        It is said that people who pronounce things “wrong” should be respected because they learned it from a book (or now the Internet) rather than being taught in person :)

    27. 2
      • Etsy
      • lib like “liberation”
      • char like “give it a good char on the grill”
      • eff ess check
      • skeh-ma / skeh-maz

      Bonus round:

      • chmod: chuh-mod
      • ~: twiddle
      • !: bang
      • src: sir-see
      • gif: jiff (respecting the creator’s wishes)
      • jpg: jay-feg (respecting the wishes of those who think gif is pronounced like the “g” in graphics by pronouncing the “p” like “photographers”)
      1. 4


        Correct. Also acceptable for GIF is “heef”

        1. 5


          What have you wrought upon this cursed land.

          1. 4

            I worked for Cheezburger, which owned Señor Gif. There’s only one way to read that!

    28. 2

      et-see (or ‘slash et-see’)

      lib-as-in-libertine (or ‘slash lib’)

      ‘char’ (as in charcoal; and I literally just now realized how awkward that is…)


      skee-ma. Like ‘sheep’, it is its own singular and plural. A case could be made for ‘schemata’ too, I suppose)

    29. 2
      • etcetera
      • lib like bib
      • char like far
      • I read fsck like the f-word
      • skeemuh, schema is already plural
    30. 2

      /etc = slash e-t-c

      /lib =slash lib (like liberty)

      char = ch-are (like charbroiled)

      fack = f-ess-see-k

      schemas = ski-ma ski-mas

    31. 2
      • etcet
      • lib, sounds like bib or nib
      • char as in charred. (burned black)
      • I’ve never pronounced fsck in my life… F-sack?
      • scheme-a, and I’d probably say schemae just to be funny
    32. 2
      1. “ets” or “et cetera”
      2. “libb”
      3. “char” (as in charcoal)
      4. “eff-sick”
      5. “skeema” / ”skeemas” probably
    33. 2

      I pronounce the first one as something like ‘ats’, but I note I seem to be the only one

    34. 2
      • Ee tee cee
      • Lib(erty)
      • Char(coal)
      • Ef es check
      • Skeema and skeemas

      In the Netherlands, we learn British English in high school, but of course we mostly hear American English, so don’t expect any consistency.

    35. 2
      • ɛts
      • lɪb
      • car
      • effsock
      • skimə
    36. 2

      As I’m spanish/catalan I usually say these things in a mix of catalan and english:

      1. ɛ te ˈsɛ
      2. li.ˈβ
      3. ˈʧaɾ
      4. effe check
      5. eskema (eskemas)
      1. 1

        I too mix spanish and english, altough with /etc as etcetera.

        I think the worst from me might be ce ache oun

        1. 1

          hahahaha, yes “ce ache oun” is a classic, I usually say “choun” tho, “ele ese” too.

    37. 2
      • slash et-see
      • slash lihb (as in liberty)
      • car
      • fisk (like fist)
      • skeema, schemas (if you say schemata, you have to start saying “datum”)

      Posting because I didn’t see another “fisk”. I learned to say that at CMU in the mid-80s so it must be correct. :) Also, it’s the best way to be able to say the word “fscking”, as in “what’s wrong with this fscking computer?”

    38. 2
      • slash-etsy
      • slash-lib
      • kah
      • fusk
      • sk-ay-ma & skem-ART-a
    39. 2

      • either e t c or etcetera

      • lib, short for libertarian or liberal. This makes modern political rhetoric super confusing

      • ch - are. I know that’s not how character sounds.

      • fa schick. I never have to use this command. Get a GUI

      • skee mah. Skee mahs
    40. 1

      Fun, but I refuse to answer because if you’ve spent most of your working life in a non-English speaking office you will probably have at least half of it wrong or don’t really pronounce it in English, ever :P

      So my sample would be mostly made up, because you probably didn’t ask for the German stuff.

      Can’t resist a simple example though. While I did use /lib in the past many people would use the German version of ‘lib directory’. lib64 would be a better example though, as there can be some ./lib - just saying not everyone uses ‘slash’.

      1. 1

        you will probably have at least half of it wrong

        There’s no “wrong” way. :) I worked in a polyglot office in Luxembourg and the pronunciation differences were interesting.

        English was the lingua franca of that office, which is ironic in itself: lingua franca being a Latin phrase that means “Frankish” but that indicated “English”…We also spoke French (my French 20 years ago was passable; it’s non-existent now). My best friend over there was a native German speaker and I’d regularly go hang out with him in Trier, so I picked up a little German (a very little German, mostly enough to order food/beer, ask if they spoke English, that sort of thing).

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