Nukyuler (again)

Just a quick question.

I’ve read that people say “nukyuler” because “kle-ar” isn’t common in english. Now, “clear” is generally pronounced “kleer” and the “clear” in “nuclear” has a subtle “ar” in it: “nu-klee(a)r”; but isn’t “nu-kleer” closer to the word than “nukyuler”? If people have trouble saying “kleer”, why don’t they say something is “uncyuler” if it’s unclear?

(Please don’t bring Bush into it. I’m just asking why “unclear” is easy to say, but some people can’t say “nuclear”.)

Or for that matter, if it’s hard to say, why do people not speak the sentence “can you clear the table” as “can nukyler the table?”

Same string of sounds.

It’s a regional thing. Same reason some people in the South “warsh” their clothes, and some people from Boston play the “tuber” in the low-brass section of the orchestra. In East Texas, the “tem-per-toor” drops in the winter, and beer cans in the UK are often made of “al-loo-min-ee-yum”.

Well, we do spell it aluminium, so it’s correct from our point of view.

Johnny: I think what was meant was that ~k][li~ (the ~ indicate preceding/following sound, the brackets are phoneme boundaries) isn’t common in English. At the moment, I can’t think of another word that has that combination.

Really offtopic, but try Google search on “unclear weapons”. Some interesting results follow, especially some from those Chinese sites.

It’s also because the “kular” combination IS very common. Muscular, vascular, etc. Note that these words even have a technical bent to them, so many of the nukular spouting folks might think they are right on in terms of pronouncing this “technical” term. Anyway, we all say Wendsday instead of Wednesday, and Larnyx instead of Larynx, so I’ve developed a certain tolerance towards my nukular pronoucning fellow man (even if my skin still crawls a bit on hearing it).

I’ve heard it said that even our pres, a nukular pronouncing guy if ever there was one, still gets it right when using the term “nuclear family”. I guess it’s thought of as a different word in that context.

I’d guess that well over 50% of my (mostly college educated) friends are nukular speakers. And they come from all different parts of the country.

Actually, it’s more like “al-yoo-MIN-yuhm” (with a schwa in the last syllable). British English, especially Received Pronunciation, tends to insert a “y” sound between a consonant and a “u”.

Hence “Nyoo-klee-uh” rather than the American “Noo-klee-uh”.

Some people take this to extremes, eg my mum refers to a suit as a “syoot”, which to me sounds terribly affected.

Come again? You’re joking, right? That’s certainly a new one on me.

It’s spelled larynx, but many people pronounce it larnyx. You’ve never heard it pronounced that way? It’s a common analogy whenever language mavens bring up the nuclear/nucular issue.