In almost every source I know, Euler has been pronounced as /ˈȯi-lər/ . Nevertheless, in a number of books translated to other languages, it is mentioned as: /ˈjuːlər/ . I doubt in it incorrectness, but have not found any source to prove it. Is this pronunciation correct or not?

Furthermore, pronouncing the word Leonhard, are we supposed to say the h letter, too?


5 Answers 5


The article in the English Wikipedia gives two similar pronunciations /ˈɔɪlər/ (Swiss) and /ˈɔʏlɐ/ (German). I agree with them. The article even has a footnote that explains with references that English-style /ˈjuːlər/ is considered wrong, but it certainly isn’t uncommon.

Unlike the variant Lennart or English Leonard, his given name Leonhard is pronounced is usually said with three syllables – there’s a hiatus between e and o – and h starts the last one as onset. I’m pretty sure, though, his family in 18th-century Switzerland pronounced it differently than a German would today.

  • My answer started as a comment to explain my ‘general references’ down-vote. I have retracted it because the question is about contradicting sources.
    – Crissov
    Commented Mar 26, 2016 at 20:41
  • 4
    Being Swiss, probably his contemporaries just called him Leo, and never Leonhard; pronounces like "Leonnard" (one long N), and /ˈȯi-lər/ is correct German/Swiss pronounciation, while /ˈjuːlər/ .is how an American/Brit would pronounce the name when given the name in writing, and reading it like English characters.
    – Quandary
    Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 13:11

Leonhard Euler was a Swiss mathematician. He was born 1707 in Basel, in the German speaking part of Switzerland. At the age of 20 (in 1727) he went to St. Petersburg in the Tsardom of Russia.

In 1741 (he already was blind on his right eye) he went to Berlin in the Kingdom of Prussia, part of the Holy Roman Empire.

In 1766 he went back to St. Petersburg. Five years later (from 1771 on) he was completely blind. He died 1783, at the age of 76 years in St. Petersburg.

Euler never lived in an English-speaking country, and all of his writings (books and letters) were written either in Latin or in German language.

This means that there is absolutely no reason why his name should be pronounced as if it was an English word. The correct pronunciation is German style.

The German word


means "owl", which is a bird. And a person who breeds owls is an


And so the complete pronunciation of the mathematicians name is:

Leonhard Euler
/ˈleːonhaʁt ˈɔɪ̯lɐ/

  • 11
    The statement that “he never lived in an English spoken country” is a totally bogus argument. Caesar never lived in an English-speaking country, but in England he is called [si:zɚ], in Germany [tsɛ:zɐ], and not [kaisar] as he called himself in his own language. Jesus is called [dʒi:zəs] in England, [je:zus] in Germany, but [jeho:ʃu:aʕ] in his own language. A lot of famous historical figures have well-established anglicised or germanised pronunciations of their names. By the way, we say "English-speaking" (not "English spoken") country.
    – fdb
    Commented Mar 26, 2016 at 22:44
  • 6
    @fdb: This here german.stackexchange. Nobody asked about the pronunciation of Eulers name in other languages than German. Commented Mar 27, 2016 at 10:24

Euler was born in the German Speaking city of Basel, which traditionally has always had a distinct speech from the rest of the neighboring Swiss regions. Indeed, Basel German (Baseldütsch) is a Low Alemannic dialect (Niederalemannisch), different from the predominant dialects of Swiss German, which belong to the High Alemannic dialect group.

Traditionally the diphthong <eu> was unrounded in Basel German (in modern Basel German it is typically pronounced as "öi" [œɪ]) and was pronounced as [aɪ] or [eɪ]. In addition, final <-r> was realized as voiced [ʁ] or voiceless [χ].

All these modern and traditional pronunciations suggest that the family name, probably was pronounced as [*aɪləʁ]~[*ˈeɪləʁ] in 18th century, very different of the way is pronounced in Modern Standard German [ˈɔʏlɐ].


ˈȯi-lər is the german pronunciation and juːlər the english one.

  • 1
    The second is the pronunciaton by people who don't know the correct one. Names are not pronunciated differently because you speak a different language, only because you speak a different language and don't know the correct pronunciation.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 13:12

Expanding on Reese's previous answer ("ˈȯi-lər is the German pronunciation and juːlər the english one.") I like to add that you'd say the "h" in Leonhard, too. Listen here

  • 1
    Why were the two answers downvoted? They answered the question correctly.
    – Thomas
    Commented Mar 27, 2016 at 16:21
  • 1
    Obvious reasons would include: too short, only answers part of the question (nothing about Euler), no reasonsing/references etc. People might also disagree with the factual content, because not everyone would pronounce the h.
    – chirlu
    Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 10:31
  • 2
    Well Chirlu, I tend to disagree. Downvoting indicates "the answer is not useful". The question was a) "is /ˈjuːlər/ correct or not" and b) "are we supposed to say the h". I have answered the second part, Reese the first. I don't see why providing a short answer would indicate the un-usefulness. Even Chrissov's answer did effectively not give any further details beyond "that's the way it is" - he just used more words. I wouldn't argue if one had just left the rating of the two answers at 0, but downvoting for arbitrary reasons seems unfair. Or did I (quite possibly as a newby) miss some rules?
    – Thomas
    Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 17:43
  • 1
    Oh, sorry - I misunderstood you slighty. I had actually expected a reply from the person who downvoted and therefore assumed that you were the one. Sorry for that, absolutely no pun intended!!! I'm just somewhat disappointed by the arbitrary downvoting (of brief, but still correct answers). Probably something I need to get used to here, as everyone can anonymously up- or downvote... with all the side-effects associated with that...
    – Thomas
    Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 19:49
  • 2
    I see, my fault there. I had added another answer because the first (Reese's) did not address the "h" part of the question. My answer appeared right below his, so I started with "And yes..." to make it an addition. At that point I wasn't aware that answers will be reordered sooner or later, which will naturally break that connection and make my answer unclear. Point taken, lesson learned :-) Thanks for the feedback!
    – Thomas
    Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 10:25

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.