How would one read a tetration operation like $^4 3$ in spoken English?

Meaning, what's the equivalent to reading $3 \times 4$ as "three times four" or $3^4$ as "three to the power of four" for tetration with a "base" of three and an "exponent" of four?

  • 1
    I pronounce it so that it rhymes with concentration. No idea how to read it though. – Pedro Tamaroff Jun 25 at 20:47
  • 4
    I have never needed to pronounce a tetration, and probably you won't either. – Qiaochu Yuan Jun 25 at 20:52
  • 1
    See this video (I already skipped to the relevant time stamp). – Crosby Jun 25 at 20:56
  • @QiaochuYuan I've certainly never needed it myself, but I have kids who will surely ask if there's anything beyond exponentiation :-) – natevw Jun 26 at 17:44
  • 1
    One way to read $3^4$ is "the fourth power of three." This may be the inspiration for people saying "the fourth tetration of three." – David K Jun 26 at 20:46
up vote 7 down vote accepted

The Wikipedia article on tetration says (without reference) that ${}^n a$ should be read as "the $n$th tetration of $a$." This is also the way it is read in the YouTube video linked to in the comments; this is not merely a case of citogenesis, as the video was made in 2014 and the Wikipedia article did not contain that line until early 2016.

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