Abstracting from the fact that it is usually pronounced as in English, how should the /etc directory be pronounced in Russian?

I was under the impression that since it transliterates to /етц, it should be pronounced "ye te tse". That's the way Дмитрий Молчанов pronounced it in "Администрирование Linux. Лекция 4" at around 18:16, and Anton Pavlenko in "Структура каталогов Linux и монтирование дисков. Как продлить жизнь SSD." at around 10:45.

However, according to my Russian colleagues — also IT specialists — it transliterates to /этц and should be pronounced as "e te tse".

  • You can use both versions I think
    – user12350
    Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 12:58
  • Please make your answer more informative by adding details.
    – Aer
    Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 15:28
  • 1
    I pronounce it the English way, и-ти-си.
    – Anixx
    Commented Aug 2, 2019 at 10:14
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    I've never heard the individual letters pronounced in English. Among moderately old timers (i.e., those who were teaching Unix classes at the university level in the US in the '90s), it's pronounced as a single word, etsy. Commented Aug 2, 2019 at 16:25
  • It seems like a matter of personal preference. I once had a colleague who would literally translate /etc as /итд and /home as /дом and say it like that.
    – Galaxy
    Commented Aug 6, 2019 at 19:49

6 Answers 6


People who tend to use the Latin pronunciation in abbreviations (and it's a very common practice) would say "ye te tse".

Just like they say "ye dva ye chetyre" (E2-E4) to describe one of the favorite opening moves in the chess. Not ""e dva e chetyre".

  • "Latin" pronunciation would be "et cetera" (эт цэтэра)[A better spelling would be "config" but even Apple calls it non-specific "System"]
    – jfs
    Commented Aug 2, 2019 at 18:51
  • Yes, I know. I put the Latin in quotes because it's not the real Latin. Not so many people study Latin nowadays and know the correct names of Latin characters but everyone who studied mathematics, physics, and chemistry in a Soviet or Russian school is used use the French names for the most of Latin characters like 'zhe' for 'g', 'ash' for 'h', '[d]zhi' for 'j', 'igrek' for 'y' and so long. Needless to say that those who didn't study French sincerely think that these names are original Latin ones :)
    – VaNdal
    Commented Aug 2, 2019 at 21:52

I've never heard a single IT person call it "e te tse". You can, of course, use either option. But all my IT colleagues call it "ye te tse", since the first letter in /etc is e, looks exactly like Russian e (pronounced "ye").

  • 4
    Latin letter e is also called "ye", not because of Russian but because it is called so in Latin language.
    – Anixx
    Commented Aug 2, 2019 at 10:11
  • @Anixx Oh, that's good to know
    – RadioLog
    Commented Aug 2, 2019 at 10:54
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    @Anixx One of the multiple examples where it is stated [e] : la.raycui.com/alphabet.html
    – RadioLog
    Commented Aug 2, 2019 at 11:42
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    Ok, got it. Because I got confused when you said that it is called like that in Latin alphabet
    – RadioLog
    Commented Aug 2, 2019 at 11:45
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    Well, e is just call [e] in German, not [ye] ... en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_orthography#Alphabet
    – René
    Commented Aug 2, 2019 at 11:49

It truly depends on the person. Some say "ye te tse", some say "e te tse".

That's because the Latin "e" usually transliterates to э, since in the Latin alphabet, Russian "ye" doesn't occur as the name of any letter. From a strictly linguistic point of view, it should be "e te tse".

However, it's like with the word router; some say "rooter" some say "rauter", even though the root word "route" is closer to "root" than to "raut".

  • 4
    Just a note: many (most?) American speakers use the pronunciation "raut" for "route"; and depending on the sources you learn from, American or British English (or another variety) might have a greater or lesser influence.
    – Buster
    Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 20:29
  • as an uninitiated person i would definitely spell it as э-тэ-цэ Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 21:27
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    Another reason why етэце is preferred over этэце is its recognisability within a phrase (as /etc is not normally said on its own): "Лёха, где в линухе модемные конфиги?" - "Глянь в етэце". "В этэцэ" would sound odd, pretty much like ВТЦ (WTC).
    – tum_
    Commented Aug 2, 2019 at 8:33

I consider /etc as coming from Latin etc, so it's pronounced like ет cетера see https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Et_cetera

  • This is also how I say it in English but I am apparently one of very few people to do so. Commented Aug 2, 2019 at 17:35
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    Many of my colleagues know the derivation of this abbreviation and though many of them would say "et [t]setera" while reading out loud some written text no one would pronounce the directory name in this way. Either "i-ti-si" in English manner or "ye-te-tse" in Latin manner (a poor school Latin-French manner I mean).
    – VaNdal
    Commented Aug 2, 2019 at 19:02
  • @VaNdal on the other hand I personally have always called it 'ет cетера' and I have never heard someone to call it something other. Was very surprised to learn that some people call it "ye-te-tse". Like "сесурити"
    – d.k
    Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 23:08
  • @user907860 Could well be. We live in a great big world :)
    – VaNdal
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 7:47

The name of the folder comes from Latin Et cetera (произн. [эт цэтэра]


So I pronounce it ЭТЦ or ИТиСи, not ЕТЦ


Unlike those who cite the names of the letters as they are, "ye te tse", I say it all like one word, эцъ "et's", kind of like "it's" but with an e.

This is similar to pronouncing NASA as "nassa" - you don't say "en ay es ay".

/etc is a `thing'. it's not made up of three discrete components; it's one whole thing in itself. It's a directory. Why in the world would you use three syllables when you only need one?!

It seems like a matter of personal preference. I once had a colleague who would literally translate /etc as /итд and /home as /дом and say it like that.

  • 4
    Because the only reason for me to say the name of this directory out loud is to answer on someone's question. Like 'Where are these files stored?' 'In /etc directory'. And if I answer with something different from 'ye te tse' or 'i ti si' (like 'et [t]setera' or 'et's') I have to answer again because most probably I would be misunderstood.
    – VaNdal
    Commented Aug 3, 2019 at 9:45

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