The various ways to pronounce Linux are shown below using English letters in a phonetic way, and using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). You will need a font containing IPA characters for the display to be correct. Some versions of Internet Explorer have problems displaying IPA characters, even when an appropriate font is installed (other browsers, such as Mozilla, don’t have this problem). Many websites explain the sounds of the IPA, but the best explanations are found in the Handbook Of The International Phonetic Association:
- Handbook Of The International Phonetic Association at Amazon.com
- Handbook Of The International Phonetic Association at Amazon.co.uk (for British readers)
Here are the three most common answers given to the question ‘how do you pronounce Linux?’:
- /ˈlɪːnɤks/ (‘leenooks’)
- This is Linus Torvalds’ original pronunciation, based on the pronunciation of his name in Swedish. It's rarely used by those who speak English as a first language, as it doesn't seem very ‘natural’ to them. There are audio files (in various formats) of Linus Torvalds saying ‘Linux’ at Paul Sladen's website.
- /ˈlɪnʌks/ (‘linnuks’)
- This is now Linus Torvalds’ preferred pronunciation, as he considers /ɪ/ closer to the original /ɪː/ than /aɪ/. It also follows the pronunciation of the English word ‘linen’. There is an audio file (in wav format) of me pronouncing ‘Linux’ this way.
- /ˈlaɪnʌks/ (‘lynuks’)
- The other major alternative is based on the pronunciation of the English version of ‘Linus’. It also happens to be the version I use. There is an audio file (in wav format) of me saying ‘Linux’.