Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 10:13:50 EDT


Subject: Re: Pronounciation of Oxymoron -Reply

Donald Lance just wrote:

People who say 'nucular' also tend to say 'relator' for 'realtor' and

several others that I can't remember at the moment. They also tend to

misspell these words. The -er seems to be a factor in the phonotactics.

I'm sure I've also heard 'nuculus'. DMLance

Is the former claim one there's any empirical evidence for? I tend to think

each of these tendencies (along with others--I have always said 'jewlery' for

'jewelry' but don't do any of the aforementioned bits) goes its own way and

has its own constituency. My impression is that mine (jew-le-ry) is (of

course) more common than 'nucular', which in turn is more frequent than

'feb-u-ary', which in turn is heard more often than 'liberry'. I'm not sure

where 'relator' (for 'realtor') fits in, but I think there may be a number of

different factors responsible for the variation in these forms, including

phonological and phonetic tendencies (ease of articulation, least effort,

whatever), analogizing (see my line on 'nucular'), and variation in underlying

form (which would be supported by Don's point about the variant spellings).