I am not an English speaker that is why I asked this question. In addition, I think english.stackexchange.com is not the proper place to ask this because (I am so sorry) I don't think most of them know mathematics deeply.

How do you pronounce the following derivatives in English?

  1. $\frac{\textrm{d}y}{\textrm{d}x}$
  2. $\frac{\textrm{d}^2y}{\textrm{d}x^2}$
  3. $\frac{\partial y}{\partial x}$
  4. $\frac{\partial^2 y}{\partial x^2}$
  5. $\frac{\partial^3 y}{\partial x^2\partial z}$

Feel free to edit the tag if it has been chosen incorrectly.

For example, is it correct if I pronounce $\frac{\textrm{d}y}{\textrm{d}x}$ as "dee wai over dee eks"?


This is how I personally pronounce them:

  1. I pronounce it either "dee wai over dee eks" or simply "dee wai dee eks".
  2. I occasionally pronounce it as "dee squared wai over dee eks squared", but more often I just refer to it as "the second derivative of y with respect to x".
  3. "Partial of y with respect to x." Very occasionally as "del wai del eks".
  4. As with 2, I usually just call this "the second partial of y with respect to x".
  5. "del cubed y over del $x^2$ del z", but if we have $y=f(x,z)$, I'd much prefer referring to it as $f_{zxx}$.
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ del means something different $\endgroup$ – Elements in Space Jan 5 '13 at 14:05
  • $\begingroup$ 3. I would say "partial wai partial eks" $\endgroup$ – user7530 Jan 6 '15 at 20:18

3. $$ \frac{\partial y}{\partial x}\rightarrow\text{day wai, day eks}$$

5. $$ \frac{\partial^3 y}{\partial x^2\partial z}\rightarrow\text{day cubed wai, day eks squared, day zee}$$

6. $$\nabla F\rightarrow\text{del eff}$$


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