Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Thu Mar 12 15:19:13 UTC 2009

Only by those who can't pronounce a velar fricative:


The ‘X’ is “really” the Greek letter Chi, and is pronounced by
English-speakers either a bit like the ‘ch’ in the Scots word ‘loch’
([x] in the IPA) or (at a pinch, if you can’t do the Greek sound) like
‘k’. It definitely is not pronounced ‘ks’ (the Greek letter with that
sound doesn’t look remotely like the Latin alphabet ‘X’).

This curious usage derives from Knuth’s explanation in the TeXbook
that the name comes from the Greek word for ‘art’ or ‘craft’
(‘techni’), which is the root of the English word ‘technology’.
Knuth’s logo for TeX is merely the uppercase version of the first
three (Greek) letters of the word, jiggled about a bit; we don’t use
that logo (and logos like it) in this FAQ (see Typesetting TeX-related

Mark Mandel

On Wed, Mar 11, 2009 at 8:10 PM, Jim Parish <jparish at siue.edu> wrote:
> Joel S. Berson wrote:
> > 'texed" would mean "put something into the Tex language (of Donald
> > Knuth).
> Except that the "X" in TeX is a Greek chi, not an English eks; it's
> pronounced as a /k/.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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