How should an American pronounce "Mandelbrot"?

I’ve often wondered this. My science professors have said “man-del-brawt” (as in bratwurst) but since Benoit Mandelbrot is a French person born in Poland(?) shouldn’t we pronounce his name more like “man-del-broe”(as in:how’s it goin’, bro’)?

The American Heritage Dictionary says brawt.

FactMonster says broe

I’m not sure how the Polish origins of the name tie in with him living in France and changing the spelling of his name (his uncles were named Mandelbrojt).

Audio of a speech by Mandelbrot. Benoit starts speaking 4:45 in and says Mandelbrot set at 6:40 or so. To my hearing, it is like the first pronounciation you give, although the T is not emphasized.

Unfortunately, that audio is in the .ram format. And I’m not willing to pay Realplayer a monthly fee for using their application

Thanks for the link though, SmackFu. Definitely a great idea. Straight from the horse’s mouth seems like the best way.
If a few other’s who have the player could listen and verify SmackFu’s assessment, I’d really appreciate it.

I agree with Smackfu’s assessment.

BTW, you don’t have to pay for a RealPlayer. You can download the free one from RealNetworks.

Thanks JeffB.You can get the freeplayer without the subscription they just don’t make it easy to find.

When the student introduced him, it sounded a little like brawt without the t. BUT Mandelbrot sounds clearly like he’s saying Broe to me (after listening 3 times)in contrast to what you folks say. My guess was the student had a softer o but a closer approximation to broe than the american brawt.


look up “” within the first few seconds the man says his own name. Ben-wah MANdelbrote


This is a classic conundrum in science. I heard one professor put it this way: “Should I introduce this foreign-named scientist with our standard American mispronunciation of his name, and thus insult him, or should I pronounce it properly, so no one will know who I’m talking about?”

Mandelbaum, Mandelbaum, Mandelbaum!

He should hang out with Derek Jeter.

Names are funny. There is a well-known Quebec family named Pouliot and the t is given full value and they (or at least one member of the family whom I met) will correct you if you pronounce it Poulio. And that’s a French name, Mandelbrot isn’t. I would pronounce the t until definitely told otherwise. Especially, speaking English, but maybe if were speaking French too.

It’s thought that he was a fan of the game Go, owing to a similar emergence of complex structures from the applications of simple rules, often exclaiming, “It’s Go time!”

Mandelbrot was born in Poland in 1924 and was of Lithuanian Jewish ancestry. He moved to France in 1936 and mostly lived there until 1958 (although there was some time spent in the U.S. and in Switzerland). From 1958 till his death in 2010 he lived in the U.S. with occasional visits elsewhere. So why would you consider him French? In footnote 2 in the Wikipedia entry, it says that the name is to be pronounced like /MAN-del-brot/ in English, and Mandelbrot himself pronounced it with something like a long /o/ and a /t/:

Incidentally, like most Eastern European Jewish names, it comes from Yiddish/German. It means “almond bread” in either of those languages. Given that Mandelbrot was an American citizen (well, actually a dual American/French citizen) and that most people in the U.S. named Mandelbrot pronounce their names as /MAN-del-brot/, wouldn’t it make more sense to pronounce it that way?

When I met him at Yale he pronounced the final T in his name.

The rest of us opted for a different name, but that’s a different story.

Pronouncing the -t in Pouliot is accepted pronunciation for that name, but that is definitely idiosyncratic as far as French pronunciation more generally goes, and should not serve as a model for pronouncing other words ending in -ot such as Mandelbrot.

Americans pronounce it Mandel-braught. See this instructional video.