How do you pronounce i e

When I was in college, one of my philosophy professors instructed us to use translated English for abbreviated or initialized latinisms when reading a text aloud. I would agree that in most cases you should speak the translated English rather than speaking the letters of the initialization.

  • i.e. is used for clarification and should be spoken "that is". While most English speakers will recognize the meaning of "eye ee" when spoken, saying "that is" is clearer.
  • e.g. is used for providing one or many examples and should be spoken "for example".

While i.e. and e.g. are relatively common, other abbreviated or initialized latinisms, such as viz., are less frequent and their English translation should certainly be provided when reading from a text that includes a latinism.

For example, take the following quote from Plato:

Perfect wisdom has four parts, viz., wisdom, the principle of doing things aright; justice, the principle of doing things equally in public and private; fortitude, the principle of not flying danger, but meeting it; and temperance, the principle of subduing desires and living moderately.

When reading that quote aloud, the translation for viz. should be provided.

  • Incorrect:
    • "Perfect wisdom has four parts, viz, wisdom, the principle..."
    • "Perfect wisdom has four parts, videlicet, wisdom, the principle..."
  • Correct:
    • "Perfect wisdom has four parts, namely, wisdom, the principle..."
    • "Perfect wisdom has four parts, that is to say, wisdom, the principle..."

Speaking the translation for initialized and abbreviated latinisms provides greater clarity for the audience than simply speaking the initials or the latin.

answered Nov 30 '10 at 16:06