Parrots ate em all and SQL


We all know that languages evolve and are used differently around the world. Even within countries the same word is pronounced differently.

If you have a headache do you take a ‘parrots ate em all’ or a ‘parrots eat em all’ ?


The same variations of pronunciations happen with programming languages. Programmers tend to adopt short names, often acronyms for languages and it can be confusing to know how to pronounce them.

  • SQL – is this Es Que El  or SeQueL  ?
  • MySQL – is this Es Que El  or SeQueL  ?

It appears the recommended solution is the inconsistent use of SeQueL for SQL and MyEsQueEl for MySQL.

Why is this?

Well SQL developed from work at IBM on SEQUEL (Structured English Query Language) which was very definitely pronounced ‘sequel’ . The name was later shortened (programmers prefer shorter names) to SQL, but the original programmers still pronounced this SeQuel. Today, Oracle’s official documentation maintains that ‘SeQuel’ is correct.

MySql was developed later, and the official documentation here suggests that ’My EssQueEl’ is the correct pronunciation.

In fact within the database world you can often tell someone’s upbringing by the way they pronounce these database languages. Those from an oracle or large database systems background tend to use SeQuel whereas those from an open source web programming background tend to use EsQueEl.

Many programmers used to both environments will happily switch from one to the other depending on who they are talking to or the type of application being developed. Larger database development projects tend to use SeQuel and distributed database development programmers use  EssQueEl.

Other programming or technology pronunciations remain as inconsistent; most programmers will discuss a ‘gooeey’ (GUI) and a ‘whiz-dull’ (WSDL) yet talk about an API (not appee) and UML (not Ummel). Confused? Have a headache? But do you need a paraCEATemal or a paraCETemal?

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