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I am not quite sure this is the place to ask this sort of question, but I am gonna give a talk on Banach algebra in which I will use theorems named after these two mathematicians whose names I can not pronounce.

Anyone who provides the answer would save my life!


(By the way, is there a reference where we can look up all the pronunciations of names of mathematicians?)

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I think it would be pretty hard to find this offensive. – Dylan Moreland Dec 31 '11 at 8:28
The "ch"-sound is not part of the English language. The end is pronounced like something between w and f. You can hear the pronunciation at – Michael Greinecker Dec 31 '11 at 8:39
A reasonable English approximation to Tikhonov is \TEE-khǝ-noff\, with secondary stress on the final syllable. For those to whom it’s meaningful: the t should be palatalized, and the vowel of the final syllable is more like that of Southern British off than that of most U.S. varieties of off. – Brian M. Scott Dec 31 '11 at 10:13
I voted to reopen. I think that although the previous attempt at a big-list was problematic, focused questions like this are fine. I agree with Aryabhata's comments at this link. – Jonas Meyer Dec 31 '11 at 19:45
For the record, I voted to close as a duplicate of the big list. I am now voting to reopen because it turns out that Forvo (as linked to on the other thread) does not have entries for either person named in the question, and because Wikipedia doesn't give a pronunciation key for either name (but it would be good if future askers indicate that they've exhausted the obvious resources!). – Zhen Lin Jan 1 '12 at 17:34
up vote 8 down vote accepted

As Gerry said, Alaoglu was Canadian of Greek descent, but his name has Turkish roots. To elaborate a bit, his name was probably originally typeset as Alaoğlu. The 'ğ' character is a yumuşak ge, literally "soft g", and is pronounced as if stopping just before pronouncing the hard 'g' in the word "cog." The resulting sound makes it sound almost like an English "w":

'Alaoğlu' would sound almost like 'Ala-ow-lu', or 'Ala-ough-lu', where 'ough' is pronounced as in the word 'though' or 'dough'.

The root '-oğlu' means 'son' in Turkish. So 'Alaoğlu' would mean "Son of Ala" -- possibly a shortening of another name beginning with 'Ala' (Alan? Aladdin? Ala is typically a feminine name in Turkish, though not exclusively), or possibly in reference to Allah; such direct references to Allah are not common in modern Turkish, however.

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If you click here and on the bottom right button "Listen" you will hear how to pronounce "Tikhonov".

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I think the g in Alaoglu is silent and the pronunciation is something like A-la-OL-you. He was of Greek descent, although the -oglu suffix seems to be Turkish.

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