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There appear to be two ways to pronounce the last syllable based on deeply held beliefs and cultural divides and assumptions:

  1. Phi fi fo fum
  2. Fee phi fo fum?

I've heard that (2) is the American pronunciation (as in the motor parts corp Delphi), although it's not how we pronounce it in my office in America, which is probably largely the result of the Russian programmer who introduced us to Delphi.

I'd say, I'd never pronounce the Greek "Phi" as as "fee", but I don't speak Greek and if I did, I would probably pronounce it wrong.

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migrated from programmers.stackexchange.com Jun 30 '11 at 17:11

This question came from our site for professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development.

Phi fi fo fum = Delphi? – TheLQ Sep 29 '10 at 14:55
yeah, just the last syllable – Peter Turner Sep 29 '10 at 14:57
I guess I'll have to turn this to community wiki if no one can substantiate their claims. Maybe I should have asked it on the english usage SE? – Peter Turner Sep 29 '10 at 15:01
The best answer would go into the history of why Delphi is called Delphi (started as the code name, but caught on) while giving a little Greek lesson (oracle at Delphi) and explaining that there are a lot of non-american Delphi programmers (Marco Cantu calls it Del fee. It might even touch on motorsports. But sheesch, you can't be good moderators if you close questions because you don't understand them. – Peter Turner Sep 29 '10 at 22:01
According to Meridians Dictionary Delphi is pronounced delf eye – user50530 Aug 26 '13 at 8:23
up vote 18 down vote accepted

I've always said "Dell fee".

In further support of this, the name was chosen (cite) by one of Delphi's developers, Danny Thorpe, who has a decidedly non-Greek name.

If you look into it further, you'll see the name is a reference to the Oracle at Delphi, which was pronounced in ancient Greek as /ðelˈfi/, using the Ancient Greek IPA (/i/ refers to the "hard e" sound, whereas /ai/ would refer to "hard i"). And according to this footnote, "dell fi" is actually the English corruption.

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Yes, the name was taken from the Oracle at Delphi, a classical Greek reference, but I really don't see how my non-Greek name has anything to do with it. In the USA, we say "delf-eye", and everywhere else in the world we say "del-fee". – dthorpe Oct 12 '10 at 16:16
[ðelˈfi] is the Modern Greek pronunciation, not Ancient Greek. According to Wiktionary, the correct Classical Greek pronunciation would have been [delpʰo͝ɪ̗]. – Mechanical snail Oct 11 '11 at 23:14

For what it's worth. The place/oracle it is named after in Greece is pronounced by the locals as "Dell-Fee". So that is probably the most correct, but I've never heard an American call it anything other than "Dell-Fi"

FYI: That is a truly awesome place to visit, I highly recommend it.

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Apparently it is a country thing. Gasp! (for us Americans) The majority of the world pronounces it with a long E sound according to this article. (I've always pronounced it with a long I sound, like the Phi in the first letter of my fraternity name.)

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The ONLY thing that matters is how Borland pronounces it. (Duh) As commander 'Data' in Star Trek TNG said, "my name is DATE-A, Not 'DATa'" - when asked about it he said, "One is my name, the other is not." Borland people came up with the name, they came up with how to pronounce it, based on something that properly pronounced is 'Del fee', but they chose to name it 'Del Fi'

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