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I would like to find out the most common way to pronounce the acronym FOUC, which is short for Flash Of Unstyled Content. (I'm fairly certain the most common way to say it differs from the proper way to pronounce it according to English rules.) This is a term that probably only programmers and web designers have ever heard of, but I don't think the question is appropriate for stackoverflow.com, particularly because there may not be a correct answer. It seems like it might belong in an English forum, however I worry that would be the wrong audience for the term. Is there a proper place to ask this sort of question?

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    [not sure if serious]
    – user102937
    Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 17:25
  • A bit of searching gets FOOOOOOK. Described as gratifying. I'd not worry, for years in the UK CICS is called kicks and in the US C-I-C-S. Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 17:47

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Pronunciation of English words is on-topic at English.Stackexchange.com. It's specifically listed as on-topic here.

Whether they will actually accept a question this domain-specific or not is another matter.

Please don't ask these kinds of questions on the programming sites. We have an (unofficial) close reason on Programmers that reads like this:

This question appears to be off-topic because it is a "name that thing" question. "Name that thing" are bad questions for the same reasons that "identify this obscure TV show, film or book by its characters or story" are bad questions: you can't Google them, they aren't practical in any way, they don't help anyone else, and allowing them opens the door for the asking of other types of marginal questions. See https://blog.stackoverflow.com/2012/02/lets-play-the-guessing-game

So you can imagine how a word pronunciation question would be received there.

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  • I think this would be fairly easy to search for, though, if someone had the same question. (As opposed to a question like, "what's the acronym that's pronounced as …?") Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 17:47
  • I'll grant you that.
    – user102937
    Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 17:48
  • I did just find this, which is a similar question: english.stackexchange.com/questions/60154/…
    – TTT
    Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 18:05
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I'm fairly certain that FOUC is not an English word. Therefore, it would not be appropriate on a site dedicated to the English language.

I rather suspect it isn't even an acronym; not every sequence of four letters is meant to be pronounceable. But I may be wrong.

Does this actually matter? Are you referring to this concept verbally so often that it has created a problem when communicating with others? If so, it might be appropriate on Programmers. But this is a long shot; I've never heard anyone try to pronounce this, and I sincerely doubt doing so is common.

At best, this might make a reasonable topic for idle conversation in chat.

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    Right. I would pronounce it as "F.O.U.C." Just like with CIA you'd pronounce it as "C.I.A." and with FBI you'd pronounce it as "F.B.I." Those aren't words and don't have a pronunciation, per say.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 17:35
  • I am fairly sure that we'd downvote and close a "how do you pronounce" question over at P.SE. There's enough turmoil over "how do you name" questions... pronunciation of four letter words is best left to chat... and that one is likely close to the pronunciation of another four letter word that would make it... not appropriate for polite company.
    – user213963
    Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 17:45
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    @animuson: Would you also say "N.A.S.A."?
    – sth
    Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 17:45
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    @animuson That's not an entirely general answer though; we talk about feefo (FIFO) data structures, after all. Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 17:45
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    You do, @Joshua. I talk about fyfo (FIFO) queues.
    – Shog9
    Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 17:46
  • @sth: Will that matter to the OP?
    – user102937
    Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 17:46
  • @Shog9 I had some friends at university who talked about EYE-terators. I always wondered if that was more widespread than just the two of them. Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 17:48
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    @JoshuaTaylor heretic! Its F-eye-F-oh
    – user213963
    Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 17:52
  • @RobertHarvey: It matters to the argument presented in animuson's comment. It seems to make the point that acronyms generally are pronounced as single letters. They not always are.
    – sth
    Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 18:02
  • @Shog9: No, it doesn't actually matter, but I was curious of the common way, because the way I've heard it said over the last two years (by 3 different people) was always "foo-ock" (ock as in lock), and a co-worker of mine just correctly pointed out that based on its spelling, it should be "foe-uck" instead. But shouting out foe-uck in an office environment is flirting with danger, whereas foo-ock tends to turn less heads. But the 3 people I've heard it from all know each other, so that's not a good sample set.
    – TTT
    Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 18:04
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    Perhaps "How to say an acronym" would be OK for English Language & Usage? It'll get horribly regional I'd guess. Maybe have to wait until someone famous says it in public. Then pronounce it how you like anyway. I'm suspicious of which came first, FOUC (it is too close) or the phrase itself. What the FOUC is that, when for a split second something looks all odd. Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 18:28
  • @BillWoodger Good point. Etymology appears to go in the English forum as well.
    – TTT
    Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 19:05

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