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Pronunciation of letters of the Alphabet and Mathematical Expressions

1. Pronunciation of letters of the Alphabet


English alphabet

a
b
c
d
e
f

/eI/
/bi:/
/si:/
/di:/
/i:/
/ef/

g
h
i
j
k
l

/d i:/
/eit
/ai
/d ei/
/kei/
/el/

m
n
o
p
q
r

/em/
/en/
u
/pi:/
/kju:/
/a: /

s
t
u
v
w
x
y
z

/es/
/ti:/
/ju:/
/vi:/
/d blju:/
/eks/
/wai/
/zed/
AmE zi:

Practice: Spell your name will your partner, spell some other words, and let your
partner write it down.

Greek alphabet
Letters
Capital

Name

Small

alpha
beta
gamma
delta
epsilon
zeta
eta
theta
iota
kappa
lambda
mu

Pronounciation

elfa
bi:ta
g m
delt
epsil n
zi:t
i:t
i:t
ai' t
k p
l md
mju:

Letters
Capital

Small

Name

Pronounciation

nu
xi
omicron
pi
rho
sigma
tau
upsilon
phi
chi
psi
omega

nju:
ksai
mikr n
pai
ru
sigm
ta
j psil n
fai
kai
psai
mig

2. Mathematical Expressions
Individual mathematicians often have their own way of pronouncing mathematical
expressions and in many cases there is no generally accepted 'correct
pronounciation'.
Distinctions made in writing are often not made explicit in speech; thus the sounds fx

/ef 'eks/ may be interpreted as any of : fx, f(x), fx, FX.


The difference is usually made clear by the context, it is only when confusion may
occur, or where he wishes to emphasise the point, that the mathematician will use the
longer forms: f multiplied by x, the function of x, f subscript x, line FX.

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Pronunciation of letters of the Alphabet and Mathematical Expressions

The most common pronunciations are given in the list below. In general, the shortest
versions are preferred (unless greater precision is necessary).
x+1
x-1
x1
xy
(x-y)(x+y)
x/y
x=5
xy
x>y
xy
x<y
0<x<1
0x1
x2
x3
x4
xn
x-n
x
3x
4x
nx
(x+y)2
(x/y)2
n!
x%

xy
a
a
f(x)
f'(x)
f''(x)
f'''(x)
f(4)(x)
v/
2v/2
w.r.t

x plus one
x minus one
x plus or minus one
xy/ x multiplied by y
x minus y, x plus y
x over y
x equals 5/ x is equal to 5
x is equivalent to y/ x is identical with y
x is greater than y
x is greater than or equal to y
x is less than y
zero is less than x is less than 1
zero is less than or equal to x is less than or equal to 1
x squared
x cubed
x to the fourth/ x to the power four
x to the n/ x to the nth/ x to the power n
x to the minus n/ x to the power minus n
root x/ square root x/ the square root of x
cube root x
fourth root x
nth root x/ en ru:t 'eks/
x plus y all squared
x over y all squared
n factorial/ factorial n
x per cent/ 'eks p 'sent/
infinity
x varies as y/ x is (directly) proportional to y
a dot /'ei d t/
a double dot / 'ei'd bl dot/
fx/f of x/ the function of x
f dash x/ the (first) derivative of f with respect to x
f double dash x/ the second derivative of f with respect to x
f triple dash x/ f treble dash x/ the third derivative of f with
respect to x
f four x/ the fourth derivative of v with respect to x
the partial derivative of v with respect to
d two v by d theta squared/ the second partial derivative of v
with respect to
with respect to
the integral from zero to infinity

0
n

the sum from i equals one to n

i =1

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Pronunciation of letters of the Alphabet and Mathematical Expressions

lim

the limit as delta x approaches zero

grad
div
loge y
OA

gradient
divergence
log y to the base e/ log to the base e of y/ natural log (of) y
OA/ vector OA
x belongs to A/ x is a member of A/ x is an element of A
x does not belong to A/ x is not a member of A/ x is not an
element of A
/k s eks/
/sain eks/
/t n eks/
/sek eks/
/'k sek eks/
/ ain eks/ or /sint eks/
/k eks/
/ n eks/ or /t nt eks/
(usually) x one plus x two plus x etc
plus or positive

x 0

xA
xA
cos x
sin x
tan x
sec x
cosec x
sinh x
cosh x
tanh x
x1 + x2

+
x
.
4
=

minus or negative
multiplied by
multiplied by
divided by
equal to
approximately equal to
equivalent to
congruent or approximately equal to
not equal to

<
>
[
/

less than
greater than
less than or equal to
greater than or equal to
perpendicular to
parallel to

ratio, divided by
plus or minus

degree

'
''
'
''

minute
second
foot
inch
therefore
pi
square root

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Pronunciation of letters of the Alphabet and Mathematical Expressions

Pre-Exercise
a. Make sure you know how to recognise and pronounce the following mathematical
expressions :
Add
Subtract
Multiply
Divide
b. Make sure you can identify and pronounce fractions in English :
e.g.
1/3 : one/third
5/7 : five/sevenths
c.

Remember how we pronounce decimal numbers in English


e.g.
0.789
1.009
In other words we pronounce decimal numbers not the same way we say
ordinary numbers.

d. The following symbol means the square root of a number


e.g.
16; 64
e. The following algebraic expressions is called an equation in English:
4x
= 16
2x + 4 = 12
To find the value of the unknown in English i.e. the value of x, one is said to solve
the equation
e.g. solve the equation: 2x + 4 = 12, x = 4
f.

Sequence is a set of numbers usually is same order or following a pattern e.g 2,


4, 6, 8,

g. Solve = work out; calculate


h. Mean = average. This is calculated by adding up the number of integers (whole
numbers) or fractions (or objects) and the dividing them by the number
(frequency). e.g. 2, 5, 7, 12 = 26 : 4 = 6.5

Exercise
1. Add 347 to 410.

10. Express 5/7 as a decimal.

2. Subtract 29 from 93.

11. Factorise : x2 + 36 -12x

3. Multiply 18 by 9.

12. What is 196?

4. Divide 14 into 182.

13. I have 25 kg of rice. I give 10 kg

5. What is

2/
3

of 486 ml of

HCl?
6. What is the area of a
circle whose radius is 2
cm?
7. Subtract 1/4 from 6/8?
8. Solve the equation : 2x - 9
= 36
9. Express 5/8 as
percentage

to my sister. I use 5 kg at home.


What percentage of the original
amount do I have left?
14. Write the following symbols:
a. not equal to
b. infinity
c. equivalent to
d. equal to or less than
e. approximately equal
to
15. What is the larger fraction: 2/3 or
7/ ?
9

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