The Pip is home with coxsackie virus today, and we’re having a big party for SteelyKid tomorrow (her fifth birthday is next week), so I’m too busy to do more cold-atom blogging today. So instead, we’ll consider one of the great linguistic conundra of modern physics:

This is a purely classical poll, so you can choose one and only one answer, not a quantum superposition of several. And if you choose wrong, everybody will point and laugh. No pressure, though…


  1. #1 Charles R.
    August 2, 2013

    Here is the official answer, such as it is:

  2. #2 Alioth
    August 2, 2013

    …I’ve often heard it as “le Tech”, as if you were French.

  3. #3 damigiana
    August 2, 2013

    What Charles said. I can say it very well because I speak German. I thought LaTeX was mandatory for scientists everywhere, but recently discovered that some friends(?) of mine use Word. They don’t submit their papers to the ArXiV, and take the h-index seriously. It’s like they live in a different universe.

  4. #4 D. C. Sessions
    August 2, 2013

    Depends on who I’m talking to.

  5. #5 joemac53
    August 2, 2013

    I lived in an alternate universe for years. On an old Mac I used a program called MathWriter. I wanted it to become some kind of standard because it was so simple to use. Dorky folks sometimes think if something is not inconvenient it is not worthy, so I was the only long-time user. I kept LaTex at arm’s length for a long time, but finally had to give in.

  6. #6 dean
    August 2, 2013

    I typed my dissertation with Ams-Tex in 1987. Kept “The Joy of Tex” at arm’s reach. I was teaching part-time at a (now defunct) Catholic college here in Kalamazoo and had the book on my desk. One of the nuns came by to chat and check on my progress, saw the book and asked was for. I told her. “Interesting name” she said. “How did author arrive at that title?”

    I fumbled some answer but on reflection believe she had a good idea on her own.

  7. #7 thomas
    August 2, 2013

    The second choice, but with the final sound as a voiceless velar fricative, not a voiceless velar stop.

  8. #8 bruce w fowler
    United States
    August 3, 2013

    Actually, I have never heard it pronounced any other way than Lay Tex, exactly like Playtex without the “P”, which is an association that seems meaningful for at least the STEMs of my generation. Of course in the “Old Confederacy” we have to express our individuality from the rest of the nation.

  9. #9 Eric Lund
    August 4, 2013

    The X in “TeX” was intended to be a Greek chi, which sound does not exist in English but is similar to the German ‘ch’.

    In the combination “LaTeX”, some people put the stress on the second syllable, but that is not common.

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