Language “syntax” pronunciation

Some time last week, I heard two programmers talking about data types in SQL, specifically VARCHAR.  Now while that might not be an odd occurrance their pronunciation of that word “varchar” intrigued me.

I prounce it “v-are-ch-are”, while they pronounced it “v-are-k-are”.

How do you standardise on such vital components of life as this? How do you enforce everyone to use the standard?

I mean, I might want to pronounce it like I pronounce its full name (“Variable Character”), so I’d pronounce it “v-air-k-ah-r” (the “ah-r” sound being the same as the start of the word “arrow”).

To me, the “ch-are” pronunciation seems to come from how I learned to say the “char” data type in pascal.  I just read it as it is written. (i.e. the “ch” became a “ch” sound, as opposed to a “k” sound) 

Now that I think about it, I’ve heard the word “variable” pronounced “v-are-i-ha-bill”, and “very-able”.

Personally I think I hear more people saying “v-air-ih-ah-bill”, “ch-are”, and “v-are-ch-are”.  What do you hear?

[Note: Your understanding of this may vary based on how you pronounce “are”, “air”, “arrow”, “able”, “very”, “ch” and “k”.  If all else fails, imagine how a brittish person would say it… well ok, not any brittish person, perhaps someone like prince charles – definately not a dock worker or cockney. (although I’ve never quizzed prince charles on the vagaries of programming vocabulary pronunciation, nor have I ever quizzed dock workers or cockney’s, nor am I trying to say that dock workers are cockneys (or vice versa), and … (I’m slowly realising that this whole post is a minefield of misinterpretation just waiting for some unwary traveler to step on it only to find their various body parts whizzing past their ears as their brain tries to piece together not only what happened and how they’ll rectify the situation, but also literally how it will manage to find all the bits and put them back together. (kinda like humpty dumpty, which is another rather culture dependant analogy for which I can provide no simple alternative)) … Basically what I’m trying to say is that YMMV, and I don’t guarantee anything regarding the coherence of this post.)]

4 thoughts on “Language “syntax” pronunciation

  1. dude i would think that you are talking about myself and Charles last tuesday.

    very interesting post i like the thought flow and possibilities for blowing such debate way out of preportion.

  2. It wasn’t me… just so you know this is how I pronounce them:

    varchar: VAR (soundsl like far) – CHAR (sounds like charm, but without the m)

    variable: VERY (sounds like very) – A BILL


  3. A couple of my coworkers pronounce it as VAR-KAR and it drives me up the wall. They all pronounce char the way it should be. Chris my coworker says it’s like his ch in his name, but I pointed out that in all most all cases ch is pronounced differently, as in church, chicken, chubby, chalk, etc.

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