Academia Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for academics and those enrolled in higher education. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

For giving a research presentation, I will need to refer to papers with multiple authors. When citing in the slides, I use the convention (as does everyone else) of 'et al.' How should I pronounce this when speaking during the presentation? I don't speak French fluently but I know that the French pronounciation is 'ai-taal'. I am not sure how this would be pronounced in the English speaking world. What is the conventional pronounciation of 'et al.' in presentations for English speakers/researchers?

share|improve this question
I've heard it pronounced to rhyme with "bet ball" or "bet pal". I believe it's from Latin anyway, not French, so the French pronunciation isn't relevant. You can also simply say "and others", "and coauthors", "and collaborators", etc. – Nate Eldredge Jan 19 at 19:34
In the U.S., the "bet pal" rhyming pattern sounds more correct to me. But for spoken language I'd probably go with "and coauthors". For a highly informal talk in front of a young, hip audience, you might consider other possibilities like "and the other dudes" (at least in case all coauthors are male). – Dan Romik Jan 19 at 19:42
If you're going to speak Latin, at least use the correct Latin words: et alii/aliorum/alios/aliis, depending on case; or et aliae/aliarum/alias/aliis, respectively, if all the others are female; or et alia/aliorum/aliis/alia/alii, respectively, if all the others are robots. If you don't know which of those Latin words is correct, stick with "and coauthors". – JeffE Jan 19 at 20:57
Also, it is not from French but from Latin: – user69715 Jan 20 at 0:36
up vote 20 down vote accepted

The standard English pronunciation can be found in a dictionary, see, e.g., et al. at MacMillan dictionary.

However, during a presentation, instead of reading that abbreviation, it is probably nicer to say something like: "Smith and his/her group/coauthors/colleagues published the paper [...]".

share|improve this answer
I tend to prefer "and coworkers", rolls off the tongue better. The usage "and his/her group" should be used with some care, as often the usage denotes that Smith is the PI, which may not be the case. (Indeed, in many fields the PI goes last, so a collaboration that publishes under Smith et al. is unlikely to be referred to as "the Smith group" in such fields.) I know you know - just some pitfalls for the OP & future visitors to be aware of. – E.P. Jan 20 at 2:01
+1 People read "i.e." as "that is" and "e.g." as "for example" (instead of reading out the letters or saying "id est" or "exempli gratia"), and I don't think "et al." should be treated any differently. – JiK Jan 20 at 13:33

I often just say "and others", "and friends", or just "Foo" for "Foo, et al.". People can see on the screen that there are others and refer to your references to see who those others are. No one is misled or confused if you drop the others in what you say aloud.

share|improve this answer
Not at all tongue-in-cheek, but this Foo chap gets a lot of papers out -- has anyone ever considered a special recognition award? ;) – Stuart Golodetz Jan 19 at 21:52
@StuartGolodetz The award usually goes to Ibid. – Milo Price Jan 19 at 22:08
There's always someone better :) – Stuart Golodetz Jan 19 at 23:57
@MiloPrice I dunno. That guy Al does write a lot of papers. Always as second author, too, which is kinda weird. – David Richerby Jan 20 at 0:57
@DavidRicherby: Indeed. Ibid has an infinite average citation count and perhaps a higher overall impact than al, having written no papers at all but is massively cited. But they're both right up there. – Steve Jessop Jan 20 at 10:31

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.