What’s the Answer? (pronunciation)

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Heh. This is an old question that just floated up to the top with a new answer. But it made me laugh then as a “bioinformatics” question. So for a light summer post (while lots of folks are on vacation anyway) I’ll just give you this one to enjoy.

Question: How to pronounce “de Bruijn”?

De Bruijn graphs have become a popular of late for solving genome assembly problems. However, I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard “de Bruijn” pronounced correctly–or even pronounced at all (I’m usually reading about it). As opposed to made-up programs or format names, de Bruijn is someone’s actual name from an actual culture (Dutch perhaps?), so there should be a “correct” pronunciation, am I correct?

Here are the possibilities I’ve considered.

  • de BRAIN
  • de BRINE
  • de BROIN
  • de BROON

Is any of these correct, or is my Dutch that bad? :)

Daniel Standage

There were several really helpful answers and even a video guide!

And reminded me of another discussion we once had over there about how to say FASTA. And whether the -A- sounds were represented differently in British English, Australian English, or US English.

Turns out, though, that most people are just very comfortable in bioinformatics with a range of pronunciations for things and people are really tolerant of non-native English speakers who impress us very much with how well they can work in English–whether you say FAHSTAH or FASTAY doesn’t matter one bit.