Date: Sun, 10 Sep 1995 20:25:08 CDT


Subject: Re: Pronounciation of Oxymoron -Reply

Lotsa people say noo-cue-ler, but few say noo-key-er. Recently I noticed

'noo-cue-ler' in a 1950s film on the development of these "ultimate toys."

A clip from the 1950s film was used in a TV documentary. When I was in the

Army, in the Basic Officers Course in 1952-53 the major assigned to teach

us about atomic energy referred to what was dropped on the Japanese

cities as an "Adam bum." I think I've heard 'new-cue-ler' in British

speech too. I don't think there was an "originator" of this pronunciation,

as some postings have seemed to imply. There are some phonotactic rules

at work here, not disfluencies or bad imitations of standard speech or

unfortunate imitations of bad speech. The major taught us just the

fundamentals of nuclear fission and fusion and consequences thereof.

He had different medial consonants in these two words, as I do, and as

spelling suggests (analogous to poisson and poison in French).

It just occurred to me as I reread my text that Jimmy Carter probably

says nyu- rather than noo- in 'new-key-er' (Southern pronunciation of

'new'/'nu-'). DMLance