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So a long time ago, there was this Italian chemist (at least I think he was Italian, because he published in Italian journals of chemistry), whose last name was Job. He invented a really useful tool that chemists still use to this day called a Job plot (useful for predicting trends in reactivity of similar kinds of molecules). However, no one seems to know how to pronounce it: some say it so that it rhymes with "rob", and some say it so that it rhymes with "robe".

So, I did some digging, and found out he was probably Italian; I thought it might be best to ask some native Italian speakers how that name would be pronounced.

Thanks for the help!

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    A Google search didn't show any famous Italian chemist. Anyway I have a friend of my with that surname. His surname is pronounced like 'rob' but the initial 'j' is pronounced like 'e'. Hope it is clear. – user519 Mar 12 '15 at 6:31
  • If you're talking about how Italians pronounce it, it would sound like "djobbah". (Yeah I know, I'm racist) :) – laureapresa Mar 12 '15 at 9:34
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    @writingthesis that would be the pronounciation of the english word job, but i think the j in the surname it's like the j in jacopo, so it would be pronounded as "iob" (in italian) – laika Mar 12 '15 at 10:03
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I cannot find a source but I'd bet the pronunciation was /job/ (IPA: the first is a semivocalic sound, as in “yard”, not an English “j”), as in the ancient Italian form of the name of the prophet Job (in modern Italian, Giobbe).

There is at least another famous Italian named Job: Enrico Job, art director and writer (and the husband of movie director Lina Wertmüller). In this video Wertmüller pronounces his name as described above (at 1:19 approx.).

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  • That should be /jɔb/, right? At least, that's the way Lina Wertmüller pronounces Job at least 3 times in that video, and it's the Italian pronunciation for sure. But the name could be of German origin, given it's frequency in northern Italy. The German pronunciation would be /jo:p/. – Walter Tross Mar 12 '15 at 19:48
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The author of the paper was Paul Job. Though it was published in an Italian journal, Job was French - a student of Georges Urbain and cousin of André Job1, teaching at the Ecole nationale supérieure de chimie de Paris (ENSCP), and born in Nancy (Meurthe-et-Moselle).

Given all this, I think we can assume it was pronounced in an early 20th century French fashion, presumably /ʒɔb/.

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Are you talking about P. Job? who wrote the paper about the Job Plot in 1928 in the Annali di chimica applicata?

I think he was not originally from Italy, or at least his father was not, because native Italian words (and therefore last names) do not contain "j", "k", "w", "x", "y".

I would it pronounce just like I would pronounce "Job" in English.

p.s. I could not find any info about him, so if you at least know his first name please share!

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  • Why has this answer been downvoted? – edmz Mar 13 '15 at 16:15
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    Late to the party, but while uncommon native Italian words do contain "j" and "x" (unless you're going to tell me that naja and xilofono aren't native Italian words, see also the city of Jesolo) – Denis Nardin Feb 21 '16 at 13:42
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    Xilofono comes from German Xylophon, and has a nativised Italian doublet silofono. Proper names containing x are mainly from other Romance languages (e.g. Craxi, Sicilian). Those containing j (Jesolo, Juventus, Jacopo, Ojetti, Ajaccio) are remnants of an older spelling convention where semi-consonantal i (and plural suffix of -io) was spelled j, which fell out of use in almost all other words between the mid 19th and 20th centuries (eg jeri/ieri; jonico/ionico; jella/iella; jena/iena; juta/iuta; jod/iod, yod; fidejussione/fideiussione; alleluja/alleluia; varj/varî, vari). – ukemi Mar 15 '18 at 16:00
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    @tjfuke Granted, they are nowadays uncommon letters, but x and j have no reason not to be part of the Italian alphabet, (see for other examples, xenofobo, xilografia, jacuzzi). Most of them are reliquiae from older spelling conventions and borrowings but they do exist and are Italian words (and that spelling convention was still used by Pirandello, less than a century ago). See also this webpage by the Treccani – Denis Nardin Mar 16 '18 at 17:26

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