Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Uncular

I remember that either one or both of Bush and McCain used to say 'nucular weapons'. But having little respect for either I thought it was an individual idio(cy)syncrasy. However, today I witnessed an interview of former Joint Chief of Staffs Richard Myers on the Charlie Rose show and even he said 'nucular' weapons! I was a little taken aback by this and after some thought I finally managed to convince myself that given the informal nature of American communications even at official levels, they must be very used to saying 'nuke's. So out of that habit they just say 'nukular' like tubular or granular and mean by 'nukular weapons' 'nuke-like weapons' or WMDs. Finally, things are cular!

11 comments:

RukmaniRam said...

yes, how difficult is it to say newclear? instead they all have to say newcooler...

Karthik Sivaramakrishnan said...

Not only that RR, the way they say 'new' itself is like 'noo'. So at church congregations I expect they say, "All of you please sit on your poo"

thomman said...

I've heard Bush say 'missils' instead of 'missahyls'. But I guess all of this is accepted. Like 'fortitood' for 'fortiyood'.

If you check with the dictionary, you'll find 'noo', 'fortitood', 'missils', all these are accepted.

http://dictionary.reference.com/dic?q=new&search=search

http://dictionary.reference.com/dic?q=missiles&search=search

http://dictionary.reference.com/dic?q=missiles&search=search

thomman said...

Oh ya, but nuclear is always newclear. (nooclear is also accepted but not nucular anyways)

thomman said...

Oh wait, I just checked nuclear and guess what I found --

nu⋅cle⋅ar [noo-klee-er, nyoo- or, by metathesis, -kyuh-ler]

By metathesis -- nookyuhler is valid.

Now let me search what's metathesis.

thomman said...

Quoting from dictionary.com --

Pronunciation note:
In pronouncing nuclear, the second and third syllables are most commonly said as [-klee-er] Show IPA , a sequence of sounds that directly reflects the spelled sequence ‑cle⋅ar. In recent years, a somewhat controversial pronunciation has come to public attention, with these two final syllables said as [-kyuh-ler]. Since [-klee-er], the common pronunciation of ‑cle⋅ar, might also be represented, broadly, as [-kluh-yer], the [-kyuh-ler] pronunciation can be seen as coming from a process of metathesis, in which the [l] and the [y] change places. The resulting pronunciation is reinforced by analogy with such words as molecular, particular, and muscular, and although it occurs with some frequency among highly educated speakers, including scientists, professors, and government officials, it is disapproved of by many.

Karthik Sivaramakrishnan said...

@Thomas: I like you. Please always ensure you increase the comment count this :p

p.s: If the president of their nation keeps saying noocular then dictionary.com has to use fancy terms like metathesis to convince us that noocular is a forgivable, if not positively laudable, pronunciation lest we think them a nation of fools. No? We understand.

p.p.s: Did you ever consider research as a profession?

thomman said...

Hehe, no mention please, it's my pleasure. :D

I guess the Americans are very much liberal when it comes to usage of language unlike the Brits. While these forms might be accepted in US, I doubt its acceptance in UK. Americans cut short everything, like they say 'duhrection' while Brits say 'dyerection'; likewise for dimension, financial etc. A common mistake Indians make is saying 'dyevorce'; Brit or US, it's always duhvorce. So liberties can't be taken in all cases.

Hehe, I'm interested in inane stuff like this. :) Research is a good option. Actually it's the most peaceful and safest job comparatively. And I gather that you're heading towards that direction. :)

RukmaniRam said...

point to note: if you ask the brits, they will tell you the ams butchered the language ,always and are just continuing..

Anjana R said...

this is a nice blog, Karthik even though you keep it quiet. :)

wouldnt it be fun if the Iranians made a similar pronunciation mistake in farsi. :)

i still remember that this pronun. correction was the first slide that the prof put up in an envt science class i took. and at the end of the term over half the americans in the class were still saying it wrong. at any rate the problem can be simply solved i think if they just put that horizontal s thing that the spanish use over the n. as in "i will correct my pronunciation manana" (pronounced manyana as you would prob. know)

mathew said...

american english over the years evolve might evolve into an entirely new language itself...americanish.maybe..;-D