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A co-worker and I are fairly strongly divided on how to pronounce Linux. For a northern Midwest American (Milwaukee area, Wisconsin, to be exact), should it be pronounced

lin-uh ks

or

li'nuks?

pronunciations from: Linux. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved August 15, 2011, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Linux

4
  • 3
    Ask Linus Torvalds how he pronounces his first name, then you will know. Aug 15, 2011 at 14:34
  • We both agree on the Li portion, its the "nux" that is the problem Aug 15, 2011 at 14:35
  • This is a problem of intent. Many believe the intent was for "LINUX" to be pronounced "Linus"; however, uninformed readers of the LINUX acronym fall back on the established pronounciation of "UNIX". If Mr. Torvalds truly wanted to ensure correct pronounciation, he would have named it, "Linus; you call it LINUX." Aug 15, 2011 at 15:38
  • The way I hear it, the u in Linux is like the French u or German ü. It simply doesn't exist in English.
    – Florian F
    Jan 12 at 21:53

3 Answers 3

27

From the Linux Wikipedia page, here's how Linus Torvalds pronounces it: /'lɪ.nəks/

7
  • Horay for winning arguments with co-workers! (I was on the /lɪ'nəks/ side of the argument.) I will accept in 10 min. Aug 15, 2011 at 14:37
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    Actually, it sounds to me like he says ['li.nəks] with an [i] in the first syllable, but I'd attribute that to his Finnish accent. I've never heard an English speaker use a vowel other than [ɪ] in this word. Aug 15, 2011 at 14:53
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    I know quite a few people who say ['laɪnəks] which is what normal English spelling rules would suggest. Only those with knowledge and interest in its origin, or those who have learnt it from these people, will know to say ['lɪnəks]. It thus joins other bits of "professional jargon" which mark the 'in' group from the rest, like patent lawyers saying ['pætənt] rather than ['pɛɪtənt] and professional musicians talking about fiddles.
    – Colin Fine
    Aug 15, 2011 at 16:10
  • "Linux" and "patent" are so easy to pronounce with a French accent :-)
    – rds
    Aug 16, 2011 at 12:39
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    That's a very old recording, and his accent has changed considerably over the years. Linus now pronounces Linux like this: youtube.com/watch?v=2CGbyz8UzCY#t=2m45s
    – user28567
    Apr 11, 2016 at 0:45
7

The link to Torvalds' pronunciation is broken, but I have it on my hard drive. It is a quote from Torvalds himself (I meant Himself, sorry). In it, He says, "My name is Linus Torvalds, and I pronounce 'linux' as 'linux'."

The first vowel sound is the same as that in "LINT", and the second is the same as that in "SUCKS". So it ends up as "linnucks". The emphasis is on the first syllable.

2
2

For those like me to whom /'lɪ.nəks/ is greek.

Its pronounced as - Lih Nux.
Li as in Lee and Nux as in sucks. Don't get me wrong. I am a big linux fan.

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    No. It's really not. See: youtube.com/watch?v=5IfHm6R5le0 From the horse's mouth. It's the same sound as the "in" in "Windows". Aug 5, 2015 at 12:07
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    But we all pronounce 'gif' with a hard 'g', right? Even though the inventor insists it's 'jif'? So we have a precedent that the inventor of a word has limited authority over how it's pronounced!
    – peterG
    Dec 14, 2017 at 0:29

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