SQL Terms of Art — Pronouncing them correctly

There is English.  There is also geek-speak.  Then there is DBA-Speak.  Then, for the truly advanced among us, there is SQL Server DBA-speak.

However, if we are to sound like professional DBAs and not newbies, we must pronounce our terms of art correctly.  Failure to do so can result in: (a) Losing the chance to speak at SQL Pass Summit; (b) Being uninvited from the cool vendor parties at the Summit; (c) Generally being ostracized by the SQL DBA community; and (d) Death.

So, here are some terms that are often mispronounced, along with the canonical ways to pronounce them:

SQL:  Spell the letters, lose your job.  It is pronounced SEQUEL.

SQL Versions:  Never insert the word “server!”  It’s “SEQUEL TWENTY FOURTEEN” and not “S Q L Server Two Thousand Fourteen.”

The Data Type CHAR:  Is it pronounced CHARR, like the delicious blackened coating on a delicious piece of steak served at a vendor party at SQL Pass Summit? Or is it pronounced CARE, like the first symbol of “character?”  The latter pronunciation is a capital offense.

The Data Type VARCHAR:  This is more complex, because we have multiple pronunciations:

  • V-ARE CHARR:  the Rhyme-like pronunciation that shows that you are a mighty DBA and not some poseur.
  • V-AIR CHARR: Welcome to poseur world.
  • V-ARE CARE: Capital Offense
  • V-AIR CARE: Double Capital offense.  They execute you, wake you up, and do it again.  Sort of like the end of Braveheart.

SARGABLE:  Short for “search argument able.”  This refers to the good situation where a WHERE, HAVING or ON clause doesn’t do silly things like wrap the searching column in a function to force a scan.  It lets SQL use indexes.  Is the word pronounced SARGE-able, sounding like a short name for a Marine Drill Instructor?  Or is it S-ARGH-able, with the hard G?  Finally, could it be S-AAAAARGH-able, as if the DBA is a pirate?

In this case, the first or the third are equally cool.  However, a DBA may only use the third version at SQL Pass Summit, and only when presenting, and only with a parrot perched on his or her shoulder. Use the second version only if your résumé (and you must type the word with the accented “e” in both places) is up to date.

Standardization is important.  This standard will be updated as new terms of art arise.  Feel free to contribute your own goodies.

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