Pronunciation of component

  • Thread starter vaino
  • Start date
  • #1
vaino

Main Question or Discussion Point

Pronunciation of "component"

Hello Physics Forums, I just have a quick question.

How do you pronounce "component", as in a vector component? Do you stress the first or second syllable? It seems that all of my physics teachers and professors stress the first syllable, while all of my math ones stress the second. Is there a reason for this or what? I've just always wondered.

Thanks.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
1,679
3


I prefer emphasis on the second syllable. Emphasis on the first syllable evokes "compost" and "combine". Nothing against farming; it just doesn't sound as good.
 
  • #3
33,818
9,532


I cannot remember hearing "component", but I heard "component" several times.
Might depend on the region, too - Europe here, mainly english-speaking Germans. In German, it is "Kom-po-nen-te" with a bit more emphasis on the first and third syllables.
 
  • #4
6,265
1,275


I have never heard the first syllable stressed and just checked 5 online dictionaries which all put the stress on the second syllable.

It seems that all of my physics teachers and professors stress the first syllable, while all of my math ones stress the second.
Something very unusual going on with your physics professors. That is definitely a non-standard pronunciation.
 
  • #5
emu5088
Sorry to bump this thread, and this may not be the best first post, but I was perplexed about the very same thing. This forum seems to be one of only two on the internet to discus this phenomenon. Vaino, may I ask where you heard it pronounced with the first syllable emphasis?

I came from Eastern New York state, and when I went to undergrad in Buffalo and grad school in Rochester, I noticed the older professors- mostly mechanical engineering or optics based ones- to pronounce it this way. I was extremely confused when I first heard it. It appears to be more of a midwest trend. Apparently, words like this do tend to evolve into first syllable emphasis, so maybe these professors are not the weird ones, but the "evolved" ones! Still, I always get distracted when I hear my professors emphasize the first syllable.

Here's another thread about it. http://www.phys-l.org/archives/2004/02_2004/msg00293.html
 
  • #6
SammyS
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Gold Member
11,227
953
Sorry to bump this thread, and this may not be the best first post, but I was perplexed about the very same thing. This forum seems to be one of only two on the internet to discus this phenomenon. Vaino, may I ask where you heard it pronounced with the first syllable emphasis?

I came from Eastern New York state, and when I went to undergrad in Buffalo and grad school in Rochester, I noticed the older professors- mostly mechanical engineering or optics based ones- to pronounce it this way.
Which way ?
I was extremely confused when I first heard it. It appears to be more of a midwest trend. Apparently, words like this do tend to evolve into first syllable emphasis, so maybe these professors are not the weird ones, but the "evolved" ones! Still, I always get distracted when I hear my professors emphasize the first syllable.

Here's another thread about it. http://www.phys-l.org/archives/2004/02_2004/msg00293.html
Hello emu5088. Welcome to PF !

You may notice that this is the only post of vaino here in Physics Forums. Also, notice that this thread was started by vaino on Sept 6, 2012. I doubt that he will respond to you here.

As to which syllable gets emphasized: I cannot recall any U.S. born, English speaking person emphasizing any but the second syllable .
 
  • #7
jtbell
Mentor
15,485
3,253
It [first syllable emphasis] appears to be more of a midwest trend.
For what it's worth, here's my data point. I went to high school and college in Ohio, and graduate school in Michigan. Now I'm in the southeast. I only remember the emphasis being on the second syllable.
 
  • #8
575
47
Never in my life have I heard anything but the second syllable stressed. Saying it out loud to myself right now, I don't think I would even understand the word if I heard someone say it like that. I would think they're trying to say "competent" or something like that.
 
  • #9
2,123
79
The general rule in English is for the main stress to fall on the next to last syllable, but there are many exceptions. For "component", I've heard it pronounced both ways. The people who say COMponent are usually the same ones who say DEtroit rather than DeTROIT.
 
  • #10
emu5088
Which way ?
Sorry If I wasn't clear. What I meant was, a few ME and optics professors in western NY pronounce it as COMponent. Although, still, they were in the minority. I have only heard 3-4 people in my life pronounce it with the first syllable emphasis that way.

Hello emu5088. Welcome to PF !

You may notice that this is the only post of vaino here in Physics Forums. Also, notice that this thread was started by vaino on Sept 6, 2012. I doubt that he will respond to you here.
Hi SammyS, thanks for the welcome! Yes I realize he probably wont respond, but it will be nice to hear if anyone else has heard the first syllable being stressed.


I agree with most of you, It is extremely uncommon, and sounds very strange, hence why I wanted to mention it. COMPonent sounds dirty... like compost, haha. Maybe I should try to get a recording of it.. I assure you it does occur. Thanks for your replies!
 
  • #11
George Jones
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,259
790
The people who say COMponent are usually the same ones who say DEtroit rather than DeTROIT.
I am not so sure about this. I lived about a kilometre south of Detroit (in Canada) for many years, and I also lived in a suburb of Detroit when my wife was an intern at the GM research centre. It was not that uncommon to hear DETroit. I have heard COMponent for component, but with a smaller proportion than DETroit for Detroit.
 
  • #12
Evo
Mentor
23,104
2,450
I think it's important to point out the fact that just because some people mispronounce it doesn't matter, there is only one accepted pronunciation and that's com PO nent.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/component

You can click on the little speaker icon to hear how it is correctly pronounced.
 
Last edited:
  • #13
2,123
79
I am not so sure about this. I lived about a kilometre south of Detroit (in Canada) for many years, and I also lived in a suburb of Detroit when my wife was an intern at the GM research centre. It was not that uncommon to hear DETroit. I have heard COMponent for component, but with a smaller proportion than DETroit for Detroit.
It was intended to be somewhat tongue in cheek. Not everyone who says DEtroit says COMponents. I lived in the area for a while as well. Many of the locals migrated to the area from southern states.
 
  • #14
collinsmark
Homework Helper
Gold Member
2,880
1,179
'Reminds me of a song by George and Ira Gershwin, circa 1937: "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off."

Language is weird.
 
  • #15
lisab
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
1,887
616
I think I have heard COMponent. I don't remember where I heard it that way, possibly from my classical mechanics professor who pronounce kinetic, KYnetic. Long I. Yeah, weird. Well he was from Texas.

Never heard compoNENT. Sounds like and angry vector.
 
  • #16
42
1
I pronounce it comPOnent when I read only that single word outloud but in a conversation, especially when I speak fast I pronounce it COMponent. I was never taught how to pronounce it, that is just the way I read the word
 
  • #17
Evo
Mentor
23,104
2,450
The OP has been answered repeatedly. Time to close.

I think it's important to point out the fact that just because some people mispronounce it doesn't matter, there is only one accepted pronunciation and that's com PO nent.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/component

You can click on the little speaker icon to hear how it is correctly pronounced.
 
Last edited:

Related Threads for: Pronunciation of component

  • Last Post
3
Replies
50
Views
24K
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
864
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
916
  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
2K
Replies
15
Views
2K
Replies
24
Views
2K
Replies
17
Views
1K
Top