Adventures in Machine Learning

The History and Importance of Proper SQL Pronunciation

The History of SQL

Databases are essential for storing and retrieving data. Relational databases, introduced in the 1970s, organized data in tables with columns and rows.

Scientists and mathematicians laid the foundations of relational databases, but a computer scientist named Edgar F. Codd introduced the theory behind them.

In 1970, he published “A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks” in the Association for Computing Machinery. In this groundbreaking work, Codd introduced the concepts of primary keys, foreign keys, and join structures.

The Development of SEQUEL and SQL

In the early 1970s, two computer scientists, Donald D. Chamberlin and Raymond F.

Boyce, developed an English-based computer language to retrieve data from relational databases. They named it SEQUEL, which stood for Structured English Query Language.

Four years later, in 1974, they published a paper called “SEQUEL: A Structured English Query Language”. IBM recognized the potential of SEQUEL and developed it further, renaming it SQL or Structured Query Language.

IBM recognized the potential of SQL and released SQL/DS, a database software that utilized SQL, in 1981. IBMs marketing endeavors helped to boost SQLs popularity, and other companies such as Oracle quickly followed suit in offering SQL-based software.

The Release of SQL Products by IBM and Oracle

IBMs first version of SQL was released in 1981 as SQL/DS. IBM’s DB2, the next version of SQL software, was released in 1983, taking advantage of microprocessors and disk storage.

Soon, IBM became a leader in the database industry thanks to DB2. In 1977, Larry Ellison, Bob Miner, and Ed Oates founded Oracle Corporation.

Oracle Corporation released Oracle V2 in 1979, and from then on, it provided database management solutions using SQL. At first, Oracle Corporation released their own version of SQL, called Oracle SQL, before incorporating SQL into their database software.

Pronunciation of SQL

Battles Over Pronunciation

SQL, with its abbreviations, is often pronounced differently based on personal preference. This issue has become a subject of debate amongst users and database professionals.

In some instances, users view its varying pronunciation as the distinction between experienced and inexperienced professionals. However, this viewpoint is inaccurate.

The Standard and Nonstandard Pronunciation

SQL is commonly pronounced as ess-que-el. This pronunciation follows the standard English rules for acronym pronunciation.

However, some individuals may alternatively pronounce SQL as sequel, which may denote how they were first introduced to the language. Despite this, the final pronunciation is ultimately up to the speaker.

Experts Pronunciation

Academics such as Professor Jennifer Widom and Christopher J. Date have weighed in on the debate of the correct way to pronounce SQL.

Both of them advocate for ess-que-el as its preferred pronunciation.

Product-Specific Pronunciation

While the pronunciation of SQL has a definitive answer, some individuals may pronounce it differently depending on the product they are using. For instance, users of MySQL are heard pronouncing it as “my-sequel.” The “my” prefix for MySQL stands for the co-founder’s daughter, My Bonnie, making “my-sequel” a creative play on words.

Other database providers, like Microsoft SQL Server or Sybase SQL Server, may have their interpretation of the pronunciation that differs according to their company’s traditions.

Final Thoughts

The uses of SQL are vast and range from personal projects to entire multinational corporations’ data management solutions. SQL has undergone changes since its inception, particularly concerning features, making it the standard for database management solutions.

Regardless of the pronunciation, users can appreciate what SQL can do and the problems it can solve.

Importance of Correct Pronunciation

Pronouncing SQL correctly may seem like a trivial issue, but it is essential in professional settings. Pronouncing SQL as “sequel” instead of “ess-que-el” can lead to confusion if multiple acronyms are being discussed, causing any conversation around databases and SQL to become unclear.

Additionally, standardization and consistency around how SQL is pronounced can contribute to clearer communication among peers and a more united community. Therefore, it is vital that professionals take the time to learn the correct pronunciation of SQL.

SQL Resources

With the increasing demand for professionals with SQL skills, resources are available for individuals looking to learn or improve their SQL abilities.

SQL Basics Courses & Interactive Tutorials

There are various online courses and tutorials that serve as an excellent introduction to SQL.

These courses range from beginner-level to advanced, catering to learners with different levels of experience. A great place to start learning the SQL basics is on Codeacademy’s free and interactive SQL course that offers comprehensive tutorials covering the use of SQL for data querying and analysis.

Additionally, W3Schools, a popular online learning platform, has a vast array of tutorials and exercises covering aspects of SQL like basic syntax, database normalization, and data manipulation using SQL commands.

SQL Practice

With any new skill, it is essential to practice to become proficient. The same goes for SQL.

Practice can help newcomers to SQL attain mastery of the language, improve their speed and accuracy, and foster their problem-solving skills. Websites like SQLZoo offer interactive tutorials and the opportunity to practice applying SQL statements to solve real-life data manipulation problems.

HackerRank is another great platform that provides free SQL practice practice with the opportunity to solve problems from various domains, including Data Structure, Database Management, and more. is an online learning platform dedicated to providing high-quality courses on SQL.

The website offers a blend of free and paid courses, catering to beginners and experts alike. The self-paced SQL Fundamentals course walks learners through the essential concepts and skills needed to query data.

The site also provides

SQL Practice that gives learners the opportunity to apply their SQL knowledge by working with real data sets. provides a unique advantage for learners that want personal attention as it provides access to private tutors to guide users through their learning journey.

Final Thoughts

Databases are inextricably intertwined with businesses of all sizes, from small mom-and-pop shops to Fortune 500 companies. Therefore, understanding SQL and having the skills to work with it is a valuable asset that can lead to lucrative job opportunities and successful business ventures.

With the help of proper resouces and practice efforts to improve your SQL skills, you can become a skilled database professional, and knowing the correct pronunciation of SQL is just one small step towards that goal. In conclusion, understanding the history of SQL and its proper pronunciation is essential in professional settings, especially in the database industry.

Educating oneself through online courses, interactive tutorials, and taking advantage of SQL practice opportunities help individuals attain mastery of the language and improve their problem-solving skills. provides a unique advantage by offering private tutors to guide individuals on their learning journey.

Learning SQL and its correct pronunciation is a valuable asset that can lead to lucrative job opportunities and successful business ventures. By taking advantage of resources available, you can become a skilled database professional who can communicate clearly and effectively amongst peers.

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