Living in the land of Apple and eBay and Google this past decade, I've long been intrigued by the diversity of pronunciations for Silicon Valley.
By my reckoning, there are a few obvious choices: SiliCON (as in, "that dude on eBay CONned me), SiliCUN (rhymes with, "I finally got my computer to RUN") and SILikin - with emphasis on the first syllable and an ending the sounds like "Me 'n Pa are kin."
We won't speak of SiliCONE, which is simply wrong.
So I conducted an unscientific poll among my Facebook pals.
SiliCON got 6 votes.
SILikin got 3 votes.
SiliCUN got 2 votes.
Oh, and "Silly Con" got one vote, but that really just an example of Alabama humor.
I understand that both CON and KIN are acceptable pronunciations (not so much for CUN, I'm afraid) but I go with KIN for three reasons:
1. There are parallel examples. To illustrate, here's an example provided by Facebook pal Lindy Lacson: even though dragon ends with ON, it's typically pronounced DRAG-in. IN not ON. Same thing with the pronunciation of Lindy's last name, by the way.
2. When I checked Merriam-Webster's online pronunciation, I got IN not ON. Listen for yourself.
3. Mike Cassidy, author of the well-regarded Silicon Valley Dispatches column (San Jose Mercury News) pronounces it IN, not ON. I checked this with him during a recent chat, and he confirmed it.
So I'm calling it. Silicon may be spelled with ON. But it's IN for the WIN.