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Maybe this is better in English.SE, but I think I'm more likely to get better responses here in the "industry" site. This post got me thinking; how do you pronounce "alkyne" (a hydrocarbon with a carbon-carbon triple bond) differently enough from "alkene" (a hydrocarbon with a carbon-carbon double bond) to differentiate the two in spoken conversation? They're obviously spelled differently and so can be separated in the literature, but I can't find a satisfactory pronunciation for either that isn't "al-keen".

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English isn't my first language, and in truth I'm always doubtful about the pronunciation of words in chemistry. Sometimes it's possible to find videos where the words are mentioned, for example here or here or here or here (several examples of alkenes and alkynes being pronounced in this last one). That's what I use, al-keen and al-kyne (ky as in kite or sky).

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I've always heard it pronounced with a long I sound: "al-kine."

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  • $\begingroup$ Unfortunately due to the font, your uppercase $I$ in "long I sound" looks confusingly like a lowercase $l$! Just making it clear for anyone else. Maybe I'm the only one who was a bit lost for a couple of minutes. $\endgroup$ – Nicolau Saker Neto Apr 30 '13 at 2:27
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Perhaps a different way of thinking about the molecule: Very rarely have I heard people using these nouns. Certainly in an organic chemistry world, it is much more likely to talk about the functional group, so you would actually talk about the c-c double bond, or the c-c triple bond, or the carboxyl group... You get the picture.

I know this doesn't really address the pronounciation issue, but think of it this way: An alkene IS an alkene at the point where there is a c=c bond, the rest of the molecule is kinda unimportant, and it is really this functional group that makes it chemically interesting.

So talk explicitly about the bond of interest, not the whole molecule (at least when you are talking about certain properties you want to exploit that relate directly to this functional group).

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