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LostInParadise's avatar

How do you pronounce "equation"?

Asked by LostInParadise (31954points) May 7th, 2023

Last week’s Will Shortz puzzle asked for the only word in English where the t in is is pronounced as zh. The answer is equation I found this a bit surprising, since I have always pronounced the word with the t making a sh sound.

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11 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

ee QWAY zhun is how I pronounce it.

ee QWAY shun is very odd.

Kropotkin's avatar

In that case you’ve been pronouncing it incorrectly your whole life.

JLeslie's avatar

I never thought about it before, but yes equation the t is like a zh more than other words with tion. I pronounce it ee-kway-zhun.

It’s very close to shun though. Solution, promotion, election, it’s so close to equation, but equation the tion is a little more like zh than sh.

LostInParadise's avatar

All I can say in my favor is that the number of correct answers that were submitted was relatively small. Shortz said that this was a difficult problem, though I suppose a lot of people could not think of the word “equation” even though they pronounce it correctly.

SnipSnip's avatar

Many words like equation have either or both shen or zhen as correct.

jca2's avatar

I pronounce it the way George Will does. I would never say “e-quay-shon.”

jca2's avatar

To me, the last paragraph’s verb sound is like the last paragraph’s verb sound in the word “mirage.”

ragingloli's avatar

I pronounce it “Gleichung”.

ragingloli's avatar

I have the same conundrum with the word “Caitian”, the feline alien race from Star Trek.
They are from the planet “Cait”, so obviously the ‘t’ should be pronounced, but Madran pronounces it with a ‘zh’ sound.
Fret not about “mispronouncing” things. There are no real rules in language, only consensus and convention, creating fuzzy patterns masquerading as rules.
Rules in language are like seeing pictures in cloud formations.

JLeslie's avatar

@ragingloli So, do you think the writers should have spelled it Caitan instead of Caitian? I automatically say Cay-zhee-un or Cay-tee-un or Cay-zhun if I had to make up a word for the citizens of Cait, but it could be Cay-tun also.

LifeQuestioner's avatar

I would say it more with a zhun sound. By the way, don’t get me started on how people pronounce the word fissure.

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