Sunday, February 10, 2008

Nucular proliferation

I will not understand why some people insist on saying nucular instead of nuclear. What is so difficult about the word nuclear? Is nucular easier to say? No. If anything, I find it more awkward to get my tongue around. Even Microsoft Word is smart enough to recognise that nucular is not a word. Is it too simplistic to blame George Bush for the proliferation of this aberration? I know, it is not the only word to be abused in this way. It just so happens that this one annoys me the most. Shame on you George!


Blogger pohanginapete said...

I know languages are dynamic, but I'd rather not see 'nucular' become an accepted part of the lexicon. Did the voice-activation software recognise it, or did you have to train it?

9:05 AM  
Blogger Jacqueline said...

I'm sure the voice activation software would probably need no training and would probably alert your spell check if you used 'nuclear'. My mac talks about 'colorization' in the system preferences and i recently saw a movie where scarlett johanson was 'burglarized'.
And i too thought i was all into language as a dynamic evolving phenomenon....

1:08 PM  
Blogger jacqueline b said...


9:06 AM  
Anonymous MichaelHa said...

Changing "nu-clee-ar" into "nu-cu-lar" is an example of what linguists call metathesis, which is the switching of two adjacent sounds. (Think of it this way: "nook le yer" becomes "nook ye ler.") This switching is common in English pronunciation; you might pronounce "iron" as "eye yern" rather than "eye ron." Why do people (like George) do it? One reason, offered in a usage note in the American Heritage Dictionary, is that the "ular" ending is extremely common in English, and much more common than "lear." Consider particular, circular, spectacular, and many science-related words like molecular, ocular, muscular.

2:43 PM  

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