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How do you pronounce Young tableaux? Does it sound just like its singular form?

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yes, just like its singular form – stefan Feb 4 '12 at 21:05
@stefan: Not in English. – Brian M. Scott Feb 4 '12 at 21:12
I am happy enough if it is not pronounced Tab-lox. About the plural indication, I might not be upset by an $s$ sound. – André Nicolas Feb 4 '12 at 21:21
@AndréNicolas : OK, I'll say "tab-lee-uks" and you'll be "happy enough". – Michael Hardy Feb 4 '12 at 21:27
Just make sure you never write "tableaux" when you mean only one of them. For some mysterious reason (probably distraction by questions of (non-)pronunciation) about half the English-speaking authors make this error at some point. – Marc van Leeuwen Jul 29 '12 at 9:07

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

It depends on whether you’re pronouncing it in French or in English. In French tableau and tableaux are pronounced the same; in English tableaux is pronounced as if it were spelled tableaus, with a /z/ at the end. In fact, the plural can be spelled either tableaux or tableaus in English.

Added: The only pronunciation of the plural given by Merriam-Webster Online is what could informally be written \TAB-loze. The American Heritage Dictionary, 4th ed. offers tăb"lōz', tæ-blōz" (where I’ve used " and ', respectively, for their bold and light symbols for primary and secondary stress). The Random House Dictionary (via offers /tæˈbloʊz, ˈtæbloʊz/, the same two pronunciations in the opposite order, and has a sound file for the first one. The OED and the Collins English Dictionary $-$ Complete and Unabridged, which are the two British dictionaries readily available to me, offer both the /-z/ pronunciation and the pronunciation identical to the singular.

It appears, therefore, that in British usage the plural may (but need not) be pronounced identically to the singular; I have never heard this pronunciation in the U.S., however.

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I have never heard the English pronunciation you describe. Where have you encountered it? – Chris Eagle Feb 4 '12 at 21:19
@Chris: I have no idea why you’ve not encountered it, since it’s the bog standard English pronunciation of the plural. Click on the sound file by tableaux here, for instance. In pseudo-phonetic spelling, the English plural is \ta-BLOZE\ or \TAB-loze\, both being acceptable. – Brian M. Scott Feb 4 '12 at 21:51
+1 to Chris's comment. I have always heard the plural being pronounced exactly the same as the singular (though it may be different in the US). – ShreevatsaR Jul 29 '12 at 4:43
Me too: I have never heard the x pronounced (but it may be because most people I have heard probably also speak French) – Mariano Suárez-Alvarez Jul 29 '12 at 9:48

According to Wikipedia, tableaux is the British version of the plural, and gives tableaus as the US English version. Therefore, I would go with 'ta-blows'.

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"Therefore, I would go with 'ta-blows'." -- assuming you are in the US... – Chris Taylor Feb 7 '12 at 13:29
In a mathematical context, using an -s would be weird. – Mariano Suárez-Alvarez Jul 29 '12 at 9:49

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