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People here (Hong Kong) like to pronounce n0 ("n subscript zero") as "N-nor"; "N-zero" seems to be acceptable. I am wondering what's the most popular pronunciation in English.
I am actually a little confused by "N-nor". Where does it come from? Is it understood in America or England?

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I've never heard of "N-nor". Could it be "N-nought", pronounced in a Hong Kong accent? I have no idea what a Hong Kong accent is like, but "N-nought" (which would sound just like "N-nort" in many British accents) is a common term for N subscript 0. –  Peter Shor Jul 18 '11 at 13:16
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I think I've usually heard "n sub zero" for this (saying the "sub" makes it clear we're talking about a subscript and not an exponent). –  aedia λ Jul 18 '11 at 14:59
    
Could you provide an alternate representation or description for those of us who see "n[little box with the numbers 20 and 92]"? –  Marthaª Jul 18 '11 at 15:11
    
@Martha Do you see it correctly, in the question body? –  kiamlaluno Jul 18 '11 at 15:25
    
@Kiamlaluno, yes, thank you. Unfortunately, I don't think that fix will work for the question title. :/ Not sure what (if anything) to do about that. –  Marthaª Jul 18 '11 at 15:40
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4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

If you were reading it out to somebody, eg. to write down in a lecture, I would say N-sub-zero. But if this is a particular mathematical term then it's probably N-nought, or N-null. Sometimes the term has a particular usage from history or convention (eg the original paper or a famous textbook) whatever the rules of regular English grammar might say.

eg. the set of cardinal numbers aleph-null is normally Aleph-nought or Aleph-null

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Pronounced Aleph-null only if your teacher was German. (Or his teacher, and so on...) Otherwise pronounced nought or zero just like other subscripts. –  GEdgar Jul 18 '11 at 16:13
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Or because it was invented by Georg Cantor –  mgb Jul 18 '11 at 16:21
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OK, I suppose Cantor would have said "Aleph-eins" but we don't do that in English. –  GEdgar Jul 19 '11 at 0:27
    
Thanks a lot. That Aleph-nought is interesting. –  LLS Jul 19 '11 at 10:03
    
I read about this in a book (probably Kasner & Newman's Mathematic and the imagination) long before I went to college, and have always called it aleph-null. –  Colin Fine Nov 28 '12 at 16:14
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From a native US English speaker:

As there don't seem to be any readily available pronunciation guidance resources on this subject, I am forced to be subjective. I believe "zero" is the most common, in the US, at least. Since I do not prefer to call "0" anything other than "zero" in any situation, I would say:

N-zero for nₒ

N-two for n₂

Etc.

As to your last question, I confess I wouldn't understand someone who said "N-nor", without further enlightenment.

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In the US, we also say "N-nought". –  Peter Shor Jul 18 '11 at 13:38
    
Yes. I have heard both "nought" and "zero" used on both sides of the Atlantic, but I think "zero" is more common on either side, in any usage. And if one calls 0 zero, one tends to call nₒ "N-zero". At least, so I infer. –  Daniel Jul 18 '11 at 13:43
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@Peter: Some in the US might use 'nought', but it is pretty rare. –  Mitch Jul 18 '11 at 14:28
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In my US college math courses, my prof read it as "N-sub-aught." –  KitFox Jul 18 '11 at 15:40
    
I guess there are some differences in different areas. Thank you very much. –  LLS Jul 19 '11 at 10:00
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Here in Canada we use 'N-nought'. I have NEVER heard N-zero or N-nor. This is solely from my experience, having taken many math courses in university.

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Thank you for your answer. –  LLS Jul 19 '11 at 10:02
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Aught is another word for "zero". So when you have y0, you would say "y aught".

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A wee archaic, no? The accepted answer suggests naught / nought. –  coleopterist Nov 28 '12 at 6:54
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