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I seem to be hearing many different vocalizations of the name, and I'm not sure which one is correct. The last thing I want to do is "erroneously" drop the name in a meeting, and someone feel the need to correct me. So is it pronounced "Ess-Cue-El-ight", or "Ess-Cue-El-Eye", or something else entirely? Is there a citation from one of the project developers lurking around the internet that explicitly states the correct pronunciation? Would really appreciate some clarification!

Two video sources:

https://youtu.be/Jib2AmRb_rk

https://youtu.be/giAMt8Tj-84

Edit:

Kind of embarrasing, but I didnt even realize that the first video link was actually the creator of SQLite, Dr Richard Hipp, and he pronounces it as "Ess-Cue-El-Ight/Eye". So that pretty much confirms the correct pronunciation is somewhere in that modicum of a ballpark.

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  • Hello, Krythic. Pronunciation of new names being largely style choice, this question does not fit well with the ELU template. Feb 15, 2018 at 20:07
  • @EdwinAshworth Please define "new name", because SQLite is 18 years old.
    – Krythic
    Feb 15, 2018 at 20:23
  • @EdwinAshworth Also: english.stackexchange.com/questions/7231/… Which is a question for SQL pronounciation. This was considered on topic, and correctly asked on English SE.
    – Krythic
    Feb 15, 2018 at 20:25
  • Please try to use IPA instead of your phonetic transcriptions, they are very confusing en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Phonetic_Alphabet Feb 15, 2018 at 20:56
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    The second answer below has Hipps saying '... pronounce it however you want' and adds 'so there is no "official" pronounciation'. This question is therefore not about standard English usage. Feb 15, 2018 at 22:14

3 Answers 3

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There are in general two ways to pronounce 'SQL' by itself and that leads to two reasonable ways to pronounce 'SQLite'.

'SQL' is pronounced either as 'ess queue ell' or 'sequel' (in IPA /'es 'kju: 'el/ or /'si: kwəl/ respectively).

This leads to 'SQLite' as either 'ess queue ell light' or 'see quell light', which in normal pronunciation comes out as 'ess queue ehlight' or 'seek quellight' (or in IPA /'es 'kju: 'el 'lait/ or /'si: kwə 'lait/ respectively note the syllable accents)).

The two varieties for SQLite are probably in the same variation as SQL.

Note that the inventor pronounces it the first way but in his accent (Estuary English) makes a glottal stop out of the final 't' (or even drops it altogether). In GenAmE the final 't' is unreleased and so may also be hard to hear for non-native speakers.

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  • I changed my accepted answer to you, because it is better thought out, and fluently articulated. Thank you.
    – Krythic
    Feb 16, 2018 at 18:20
  • The main bolded part of this answer gets wrong the main subtlty: the creator makes it clear that the ending is "ite", as in rocks like "granite", not "Lite" like light. So it's ' ... ite' not ' ... light' (at least if you want to match the author's interpretation). Admittedly this distinction gets lost in the preceding ell sound if you say it quickly, but spelling out "light" in the written pronounciation is still misleading. Oct 2, 2020 at 9:11
  • @ArthurTacca That doesn't sound right. Listen to the author say it. It sounds like /es kju el 'ait/ (with a bit of southern monphthongization like /... 'at/). It does not sound at all like /'græ nɪt/ (especially with the stress). It also wouldn't make sense at all to not pronounce it rhyming with 'light'.
    – Mitch
    Oct 2, 2020 at 12:10
  • Sorry, reading back my comment I realise I worded it very badly. I mentioned "granite" as an example of a rock ending in "-ite" but I didn't mean it as an example of the sound. I agree SQLite has to rhyme with "light" – maybe graphite would be a better example. It's just the initial "l" of the "light" in your answer I was taking issue with. As I said, most of the time you wouldn't even be able to hear as a difference after the preceding ell, I just mentioned it because spelling out "ell light" (rather than "ell ight"?) implies a misleading etymology. Oct 2, 2020 at 15:10
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SQL by itself is (or can be) pronounced as "sequel".

Therefore it seems logical that SQLite is pronounces "sequelite".

Edit: According to your edit the creator of SQLite pronounces it as "Ess-Cue-El-Eye". I don't think that's how he actually pronounces it, he's just talking fast and sloppy. He pronounces it (in my ears at least) as "Ess-Cue-El-ite". And later in that presentation he explicitly says that he doesn't care how you pronounce it.

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    "Sequel-lite" is how I've always heard it pronounced.
    – Hot Licks
    Feb 15, 2018 at 20:39
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    @Krythic - If you're not so anal and just run the words together like a normal person then the double-l sorts itself out.
    – Hot Licks
    Feb 15, 2018 at 20:53
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    @Krythic I don't use SQL at all, but how come your preferred transcription is "S Q L I" without the /t/ sound? Feb 15, 2018 at 20:54
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    @Krythic You're trying to use your own hyperliteral logic on something that is made up. The natural reading of it is 'see kwuhl lite' and I haven't heard anyting different. Are two ell's pronounced? Sort of. It's not a big deal. Say what ever you think, and look at people when you say it. If they squinch their eyes or cock their head, pronounce it the other way.
    – Mitch
    Feb 15, 2018 at 20:56
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    I've always read SQLite as "sequel-lite". Pronouncing it as S-Q-L-I might make me think of SQLi (like the secure "improved" PHP handler for SQL) instead.
    – psosuna
    Feb 16, 2018 at 1:20
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I remember watching a presentation by the SQLite creator/maintainer Richard Hipps (you can watch yourself, its one of these videos)

In it he says "pronounce it however you want" - so there is no "official" pronunciation.

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  • Uh, did you just link the same video that I linked in the original post? Lol? Oh whoa! That's embarrasing. He is the creator! And he prounounces it as "Ess-Cue-El-Eye", so that confirms it! Update your video with the first video link I gave and say that the creator calls it "Ess-Cue-El-Eye", and then I will accept you as the answer.
    – Krythic
    Feb 15, 2018 at 20:48
  • @Krythic Why don’t you just post your own answer? It’s obvious you’re not actually asking, but just want someone to agree with your pre-determined answer; you might as well just post it yourself and accept it. Feb 15, 2018 at 21:09
  • @Krythic He does personally pronounce it as "ess-cue-el-light" but he also says "pronounce it however you want".
    – Kidburla
    May 17, 2021 at 10:04

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