Thursday, October 02, 2008


Apparently it's an epidemic among Republicans. They cannot pronounce the word "Nuclear". I'm sitting here watching the VP debates listening to Sarah Palin say "nucular" a la George W. Bush over and over again. What is it with these people? Not that I think Sarah Palin is the brightest bulb on the tree, but she is trained as a television journalist. Surely her training would have included how to pronounce a simple word like "nuclear". It's pronounced exactly like it's spelled: Nu-cle-ar. Why is this difficult?

If the Bush legacy leaving us at war with our national reputation dragged through the mud, an economy on the verge of collapse and a major American city still in ruins weren't enough of an embarrassment, he has left his "dumbing down" on the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Look it up! They have actually started including this "alternate" pronunciation of the word "nuclear": \ˈnü-klē-ər, ˈnyü-, ÷-kyə-lər\. Ugghhhhhhh!

For what it's worth, I used to use the Merriam-Webster online dictionary for spelling and occasional definitions. But I have recently learned from my speech and ear-training professor, a self described "word nerd," that in terms of pronunciation Webster's dictionary is "a DEscriptive guide NOT a PREscriptive one." Meaning, much to his chagrin, that it reflects the way people actually talk rather than the way they should talk. (Apparently it all goes back to The Great Grim-iss/Grim-ace Debacle of 1963 which made Webster's the laughing stock of lexicographers everywhere. For real.)

Suffice it to say that if John McCain is elected president, Webster's will surely start including the alternate pronunciation "Warsh-ing-ton" for Washington, if they haven't already!

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At 11:52 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

Amen brother - that damn Nucular drives me CRAZY - it is like finger nails on a chalk board for me. I think the reason it really makes me nuts is the fact that it is being accepted as a an alternate way to pronounce this word - sorry but in what language? Why do we aspire to stupidity in this country? Why is education and knowledge now looked down on? Enough with the folksy down home hoohaa BS look where that has gotten us over the last 8 years! Go home to texas or alaska and shoot moose from a helicopter or do what ever in texas and lets smarten up people!

At 11:54 PM, Blogger Scott said...

I'm so glad I wasn't the only one cringing from that word tonight!
Just another nail in the same-ness coffin. Hehe!

At 4:46 AM, Blogger Y | O | Y said...

You're preaching to the choir on this one!

At 2:35 PM, Blogger Diane said...

That's Nuculear accompanied by a child-star exaggerated wink. Good lord. I hear one of the pundits call her Gidget goes to Washington. If only it were Gidget!

At 12:47 PM, Blogger Curtis said...

But she's such a cute hockey mom!


At 12:34 PM, Blogger judy said...

I loved the SNL "Are we gonna skip the talent portion?" (flute at the ready)

Yikes! My recommendation for the McCain campaign remains that the theme song should be "Send in the Clowns"

At 2:04 PM, Blogger ZenDenizen said...

Pretty soon, they'll amend America to Amurka.

At 11:50 AM, Blogger Marc said...

Geoffrey Nunberg actually wrote a book of essays called "Going Nucular" The initial mispronunciation is forgiveable--notice how many people say "real-ator" instead of "re-altor?" But the refusal to make any effort to correct himself once it was pointed out is part and parcel of the inability of these people to admit they made mistakes. They are so afraid one admission will lead to others, and then their entire delusional house of cards will collapse in a pile of bitter regret and humiliation. Idiotic, messiah-wannabe boneheads.
And hey (tag-wise) isn't is spelled non-sequitur (with a "ur"), wordsmithman?

At 8:20 AM, Blogger Michael said...

Marc, I may not be able to spell "non-sequitur" but I can PRONOUNCE it! (And spell it in IPA) But thank you. Correction noted.


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