ASCII Pronunciation Rules for Programmers

Why is about 1% of my keyboard (and in a prime location) given to and , what the hell are those symbols, and who uses them?

“plus or minus” might be useful when comparing variables, ut I don’t know of a language which implements such a function, let alone uses that symbol.

It’s just that I hit them a lot accidentally…

LOL, the good ole ampersand. LOL


in Germany, I heard for the @-sign Klammeraffe (clinging monkey) and for # Zaun (fence) - although from someone not familiar with PCs and/or programming

I pronounce Ln (the natural log), ‘lawn’ usually, a high school calc teacher did it and it stuck

In French you call @: arobase…

As another poster already pointed out, I have always referred to ~ as “home” … since usually that’s the context that it comes up in.

As an interesting tidbit, my Russian friends call @ a “doggie” (loose translation).

@Sacha: What kind of keyboard do you have? Typical EN-US 101-key layouts do not have either of those keys.

Funny no one has mentioned ==
Oddly enough everybody I know simply says this as ‘Equals’ though I suppose I’m the odd ball since when reading this aloud I say, “equates to”.

wow, i guess my quick read though the comments missed a few who did mention ==

I used to work with someone who referred to left and right angle brackets as “wicka” / “wacka”.

Fascinating post. Made me have a “meta-language” momement.


“Really you should consult a dictionary and find out which is the ‘correct’ answer for each symbol. This may not reflect common usage in the computing industry, but that’s normal for all forms of language.”

Ah, the rancid smell of naive linguistic prescriptivism - one of the hallmarks of the true unreconstructed geek. And where on the autism spectrum are you, little boy?

coding horror just jumped the ^

In the Gries and Schneider book, “A Logical Approach to Discrete Math”, There is a lengthy footnote where one of the authors relates a funny story about how he was giving a lecture, and pronouncing both the assignment operator and the boolean equivalence operator as “equals”, when a voice piped up from the back saying “becomes!”. The entertaining story has caused me to pronounce them distinctly ever since.

To avoid the ambiguities of “equals”, I pronounce these two as:
= “becomes”
== “equivales”

When there is a misunderstanding, I often have to switch back to the lenghty C++ operator names:

= “member access operator” (informally “arrow”)
“insertion operator” (binary left shift)
“extraction operator” (binary right shift)

Which I must admit is a mouthful. Somehow it stuck.

Wow, my last post had it’s double angle brackets swallowed. too bad.

What no mention of my favourite. the Interrobang. !? (U+203D)

I found the story for you. Unfortunately I cant copy paste if for you thanks to Google books DRM crap. Footnote 5 at the bottom.

a href=",M1",M1/a

Apparently it was Edsgar Dykstra who corrected him!

Excellent post! Although all the common names look familiar to me, I must admit that I have only seen 10% of the rare names before. Nice collection.

That guy’s just making stuff up

What about we all agreeing on a standard?
Standard for weird characters - SWC

Or much better, we should select tje funniest names and start using them…
Or even better, use different varieties in the same context. Let us confuse 'em