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On the anniversary of our nation's independence I call upon my U.S. citizens to throw off the shackles of our British oppressors and pronounce the word "agile" like true Americans:

  • The pretentious un-American "goofus" pronunciation: aj-ahyl
  • The right-thinking American "gallant" pronunciation: aj-uhl

Listening to the .NET Rocks Team System panel discussion from Tech Ed last week, I was dismayed to hear that only one of the six panelists pronounced "agile" like an American. I'm not sure which one it was, but it may have been the Canadian guy! (Yes, I realize that Canadians and everyone else from North, Central and South American are also American and it's arrogant to use that term only for people from the U.S., but I don't think that "United Statesian" will ever catch on. But enough aboot that, as they say in Canada.)

All of the dictionaries I've checked, including, ahem, the American Heritage dictionary, show "aj-uhl" as the preferred pronunciation.

According to the history of the agile manifesto at agilemanifesto.org, the only objection among the agile founding fathers to the term "agile" came from Martin Fowler, who said that most Americans don't know how to pronounce the word properly. I think that's why a lot of developers say "aj-ahyl" - they want to be like Martin. Being Fowleresque is a very admirable thing if you're designing software, but you don't have to talk like the guy if you're not British.

Am I making too big a deal of this? Perhaps, but it's a slippery slope, my friends. Start saying "aj-ahyl", and before you know it you'll be adding an extra syllable to "aluminum", driving on the wrong side of the road, and clamoring for the addition of a System.Drawing.Colour namespace. Think it can't happen here? Think again - One of the guys on the .NET Rocks show pronounced "process" with a long O, like Jean-Luc-Freaking Picard!

P.S.

Please don't respond with nasty comments - My sense of self-esteem is very fraj-ahyl.

Posted on Wednesday, July 4, 2007 10:41 AM | Back to top


Comments on this post: How Right-Thinking Americans Should Pronounce "Agile"

# re: How Right-Thinking Americans Should Pronounce "Agile"
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Unless you are from the south, or near the south, and you pronounce agile with a long i.
Left by Scott Miller on Jul 04, 2007 10:55 AM

# re: How Right-Thinking Americans Should Pronounce "Agile"
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As a good software developer, who cares how the word is pronounced? As long as you both understand what the word means....its not going to affect the coding.

That is, unless you start naming your variables after how you speak...

And what is wrong with a Colour namespace? .Net is so big on localization - so why can't it support Namespaces in the locale-specifics...?

=P
Left by David on Jul 05, 2007 12:16 AM

# re: How Right-Thinking Americans Should Pronounce "Agile"
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No wonder the rest of the world hates americans.
Left by Glad I'm not there on Jun 24, 2008 12:20 AM

# re: How Right-Thinking Americans Should Pronounce "Agile"
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Jeez... I thought it was pretty obviously not to be taken seriously. Next time I post something humorous, I'll enclose the whole thing in <joke>...</joke> tags.
Left by Brian Schroer on Jun 24, 2008 6:29 AM

# re: How Right-Thinking Americans Should Pronounce "Agile"
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fdggdfgdg dg dg g d g
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g
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df g
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Left by dgdf on Nov 25, 2010 10:40 PM

# re: How Right-Thinking Americans Should Pronounce "Agile"
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Liked it! Nice writeup. Also very much like your humo(u)r
Left by Aui on May 14, 2014 1:55 PM

# re: How Right-Thinking Americans Should Pronounce "Agile"
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Yes, it is quite obvious that it was meant to be humorous. Still, it's no wonder that the rest of the world hates Americans if they think that this is actually in any way funny.
Left by Bauer on Feb 02, 2015 5:44 PM

# re: How Right-Thinking Americans Should Pronounce "Agile"
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We didn’t beat the Red Coats a couple of hundred years ago so that we would end up talking like them! Next thing you’ll know, they we want us Americans (the USA kind) to use the metric system! (Except for the 2 liter bottles of soda, that’s okay because that was Coke’s idea). If you want to speak with an English accent, go to a place that stills has the Queen as head of state; like Canada (wait they speak French, never mind). We have to be vigilant or the next thing you’ll know our kids will be playing soccer. As that great American (the USA kind) Winston Churchill said “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else.” Anyway, I live my life by one simple rule. “What would John Wayne do?” He would never pronounce agile as “aj-ahyl”. He was so tough; he wouldn’t even use the word at all!
Left by Kevin on May 28, 2015 2:49 PM

# re: How Right-Thinking Americans Should Pronounce "Agile"
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My husband and I are American from two different states and we pronounce it with the long i.
Left by Erin on Jan 25, 2017 9:05 PM

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