Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 11:58:42 -0400
From: "H. Stephen STRAIGHT (Binghamton University/SUNY)"
sstraigh[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]BINGSUNS.CC.BINGHAMTON.EDU
Subject: Re: Pronounciation of Oxymoron -Reply
On Mon, 11 Sep 1995, Larry Horn wrote:
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'.
Well, for what it's worth, the American Heritage Dictionary, known for its
heavily prescriptive cast, explicitly condones 'feb-u-ary' but not
'nu-cu-lar' or 'li-ber-ry', and it's silent on 'jew-ler-y'. Larry's
probably right to doubt that all these non-orthographic pronunciations
hang together, but he's probably wrong to assert that they're
implicationally scaled. Instead, these variants seem to exhibit a rather
complex geo- and socio-lectal distributional diversity.
H Stephen STRAIGHT, Anthro/Ling/Lgs Across the Curric, Binghamton U (SUNY)
Box 6000, Binghamton NY 13902-6000 Tel: 607-777-2824 Fax: 607-777-2889