How to pronounce paralyze and parallelize

How to pronounce paralyze and parallelize

At a recent conference, I witnessed a speaker talking about paralyzing various computer codes for better performance. If this sounds confusing, you are absolutely right. The speaker was merely pronouncing the word parallelize incorrectly.

The OED includes the following meaning for the verb paralyze:

to prevent something from functioning normally

and its pronunciation as (listen here)

[ˈ pærəlaɪz]

In contrast, to parallelize something means

to make something work or function in parallel

For example, computer code can be rewritten to make use of several CPUs or GPUs at once, thereby reducing the overall run time of a computation. The meaning of parallelize is therefore almost exactly the opposite of that of paralyze.

The correct pronunciation of parallelize (apparently not readily found in dictionaries due to its rather technical nature) is derived from that of parallel (listen here) and the suffix -ize as

[ˈ pærəlelaɪz]

Essentially, it has a single but very important extra syllable, phonetically transcribed as [el].

Comments are closed.
Wordpress Social Share Plugin powered by Ultimatelysocial