When people see the word “Ubuntu“, they either try and figure out how it is pronounced in African, or try to impose their own pronunciation on it. I’ve seen in blogs people say everyone they knows calls it “You-bun-too” – to which I would ask should “umbrella” be pronounced “yoom-brel-la“? While English can be weird in the least when it comes to vowels repeated in words sounding different, most nationalities – be they European or African – have a single sound per vowel. In this case, the “oo” sound would be the same as in the word “room” (or “roo“, the Aussie colloquial for kangaroo).
The u in “Ubuntu” is the same no matter what part of the word it is in, so the word is pronounced “oo-boon-too“. Similarly, “Kubuntu” is “koo-boon-too“, and “Xubuntu” is “zoo-boon-too” (and not “ex-oo-boon-too” as I have heard it referred to).
Note: There is a slightly alternative way to pronounce this, and one would have to assume it’s accepted, since Ubuntu‘s creator Mark Shuttleworth himself pronounces it this way, as you’ll find if you ever watch a YouTube video of him talking about the OS. His way is to pronounce the centre syllable (“boon”) in a heavier (Germanic?) tone – so more like the vowel sound in “book” than “room”.
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