Automattic, Programming

The Plight of the Self-Taught Programmer

At each company-wide Automattic meetup, every employee is required to give a flash talk on a topic of his or her choosing. At our meetup last September, I gave a short overview of some of the programming terms I don’t pronounce correctly in my head, since I initially learned them on my own and took a guess at their pronunciation. Here are the slides from that fateful day.

The Plight of the Self-Taught Programmer: Chris Finke

a.k.a. Is it pronounced GIF or GIF?

GIF: A picture of a JIF peanut butter jar.

I say “GIF”, but apparently lots of other people pronounce it “GIF”.


Get it?

SQL: My Sequel 2. This time, it's personal.

I learned it as Ess-Cue-Ell and was very confused the first time someone asked me if I had worked with my sequel. “My sequel to what?”

/etc or Etsy?

Still not sure about this one. Thankfully, I never have to say it out loud.

C#: C Sharp or C Pound?

I remember reading a newsgroup post where someone was ridiculed for calling it “C Pound.” That someone was not me, but it could have been.

GUI: A hand covered in something gooey.

Gee-You-Eye is not as fun as the correct gooey pronunciation.

Apple's Operating System: Mackossex.

My college roommate was a diehard Apple fan and especially loved their operating system, “Mackossex” (Mac OS X).

XPI: Zippy.

Firefox extensions use a file format called XPI, pronounced “zippy”, not “ex-pee-eye.”

LaTeX is not the same as latex.

For years, I thought that LaTeX was spoken the same as latex until I heard a professor mention that he had used “layteck” to typeset his papers. In my senior year of college. Dodged a bullet there.

Egill: Not a chance.

I have a coworker from Iceland named Egill. It’s not “Ee-gill”, “egg-ill”, or “Ay-gill”. It doesn’t even have an L-sound if you say it properly, and I’ve been informed that because I’m not from Iceland, I probably can’t physically pronounce it.

Finke = Fing-key. Rhymes with inky. And slinky.

As a public service, here’s a pronunciation guide to my name.


4 comments on “The Plight of the Self-Taught Programmer

  1. I used to say S-C-S-I. I had no idea it was pronounced “scuzzy”

    I still say XPI instead of zippy. I just didn’t know any better.

    I’ve heard people say X-U-L instead of XUL.

    I knew someone who called it a bee-log instead of a blog.

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