Posted by: brian | February 23, 2009


I saw a show last night on the telly where a woman talked about “jewlery,” and I got to thinking how people ragged on W for saying “nucyuler.” I know it’s “wrong,” but a lot of people “mispronounce” a lot of words. “Reluhtor” (for “realtor”) is another one I’ve noticed. I ignore these, just as I do when people (including me, usually) skip over the first “r” when saying “February.” I wonder too if anyone who mocked Dan Quayle for misspelling “potato” spells “definitely” with an “a.”

I’m generally in favor of a fairly standard set of pronunciations and spellings, but hypocrisy annoys me. And I also think that the purpose of language is to communicate information. If I say “nuclear” or “nucyuler,” you still know what I mean.

Which is not to say I don’t have pet peeves (see the aforementioned misspelling of “definitely”). But I think that, on the whole, mispronouncing “nuclear” was the least of Bush’s shortcomings as president, and while it might be annoying, it’s not really something that merits much in the way of comment. I figure, file it under “non-standard usage” and be done with it.



  1. Some have pointed out that Jimmy Carter also said “nucyuler”….

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