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I don't feel like this belongs on SU, so I put it here.

I know that "OS X" is pronounced "oh-ess ten," but how should the common construction "OS X 10.9" be pronounced?

The primary possibility I can think of is:

  • The X becomes silent: "oh-ess ten-point-nine"

However, this feels awkward when reading from paper and there are suddenly silent words in the middle of sentences. Because of this, I also see as a possibility:

  • This construction is unpronounceable and should be read "oh-ess ten mountain lion"

Of course, my personal favorite (the least accurate) is:

  • The 10 becomes slient: "oh-ess eks-point-nine"
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closed as off topic by MετάEd, tchrist, Mr. Shiny and New 安宇, Cameron, Kris Nov 6 '12 at 12:42

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Pretty sure they are all pronounced Darwin. – tchrist Nov 6 '12 at 0:47
@tchrist +1 for obscure OS history references. – Tortoise Nov 6 '12 at 1:09
Not so obscure, really. On a Mac: perl -MEnglish -E 'say $OSNAME' cordially and reproducibly prints out darwin for your pleasure. – tchrist Nov 6 '12 at 1:11
@tchrist Obscure in the sense that the average Mac user (of whom I know) won't understand it at first glance. – Tortoise Nov 6 '12 at 1:13
@tchrist I read -MEnglish as specifying that the language should be Middle English. That would be obscure. – Gnawme Nov 6 '12 at 4:45
up vote 1 down vote accepted

There are several ways, in documentation and the press, that you'll find OS X versions written. I'll stick with 10.8, since it is, currently, the latest release. The most verbose way would be this:

OS X (10.8, Mountain Lion)

If you're speaking it, you'd say either "oh ess ten point eight," for a tech savvy crowd, or "Mountain Lion," otherwise. I often use both names in the first reference (e.g. "Oh ess ten point eight, which is also called Mountain Lion," and interchangeably from that point forward.

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While I know the X represents 10, meaning that saying X and 10 is really really redundant... I would be inclined to say "Oh-ess eks-ten-point-nine".

Mainly because in my daily life I usually pronounce it "Oh-ess eks" not "Oh-ess ten" but then I guess that fits with my personal preference/habit.

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As an exclusive Windows user, I'm also inclined to say "oh-ess-eks-ten-point-nine," though I know this doesn't make any linguistic sense. I like to torture Mac users by doing things like that (though my favorite is still the last example in my OP). – Tortoise Nov 6 '12 at 0:34
@Tortoise Watch your words: if you hadn’t just outed yourself as not just a Prisoner of $Bill but also the Torturers’ Apprentice (pace Severian), you might not have gotten so many down/close/delete/detonate votes. :) – tchrist Nov 6 '12 at 0:49
Um... no... I meant to say "As an exclusive Apple user, I'm inclined to say 'old-style-eye-phone,' though this might upset those people who put all that time into that crappy old non-Mac UNIX system in the '80s. I like to torture Windows users by calling their phones 'lumps of plasticy, pocket-sized bluscreens.' " – Tortoise Nov 6 '12 at 0:53
Actually, it would have been most correct to say "exclusive non-Apple user." I'll gladly use *nix; I just don't happen to at the moment. – Tortoise Nov 6 '12 at 1:10

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