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I know how to pronounce Dijkstra's name correctly (hear it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edsger_W._Dijkstra).

But I'd like to know how people usually say his name. I've heard it in many different ways throughout my career, and since I'm teaching a course on graphs and Dijkstra's algorithm, I don't want to teach the real pronunciation since nobody seems to use it. I want to teach the most common pronunciation (although I shall mention the real one).

I appreciate your reply. Thank you.

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I've also wondered about the (also Dutch) mathematicians Schouten and Nijenhuis. –  Kevin H. Lin Nov 6 '09 at 15:30
Since you know the right pronunciation, you might try to preach it in your courses. It would show respect to Belgian guestworkers like Bourgain or Deligne (although I am not sure Deligne remembers much of his high-school Dutch.But Bourgain is a real Fleming.) And as a bonus your disciples will sound very chic when they pronounce correctly Nijenhuis,Van Dyck,Van Eyck,Leiden,...(same sound,archaic spelling) –  Georges Elencwajg Nov 6 '09 at 21:08
ij -> "eye". ou, ouw, ui -> "ow" though there's definitely a difference between these that Americans such as myself aren't good at. w -> w not v, Dutch is not German. g -> h sometimes, some Dutch speakers, as far as I can tell. Nijenhuis -> NEYE en house. Duistermaat -> DOW ster maht not DOY ster maht, a sadly common American pronunciation. Looijenga -> LOY en ha. Groningen -> HRONE ing hen –  Allen Knutson Mar 29 '10 at 10:46
It depends on whether you're calling him by name, or calling him by value. –  I. J. Kennedy Oct 10 '10 at 19:41
You may enjoy the line "Dutch is a wonderful language" on the Rijndael homepage ktana.eu/html/theRijndaelPage.htm By the way, Rijndael = AES (a really good belgian story!) –  Alain Valette Jul 3 '11 at 21:54
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1 Answer

up vote 11 down vote accepted

I've always heard it basically the same way as Wikipedia, except with an American accent. Basically "dike' struh", with the accent on the first syllable as indicated, and struh is the same as in Strunk and strum.

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This is more or less how my computer science major friends pronounce it, and I have to assume it's because that's how their professors and TAs pronounce it. –  Qiaochu Yuan Nov 6 '09 at 14:47
Same here. I've always heard that pronunciation, which is about as good as Americans can do. –  Ben Webster Nov 6 '09 at 15:00
Fourthed, I guess? That's what I say. –  Harrison Brown Nov 6 '09 at 16:49
Fifthed. I haven't heard any other pronunciation in the US. –  Stephen Canon Nov 6 '09 at 18:16
Dear Ben,I must respectfully disagree with you.I have met many of your compatriots with amazing linguistic talent. Hartshorne's French, to quote just one example, is remarkable and he is far from being the only linguistically gifted American. Très amicalement, –  Georges Elencwajg Nov 6 '09 at 21:29
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