Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 12:42:49 EDT
From: Larry Horn LHORN[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]YALEVM.CIS.YALE.EDU
Subject: Re: Pronounciation of Oxymoron -Reply
Stephen Straight writes:
...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.
I agree entirely, and apologize for the false impression that I was making any
such claim (of implicational scaling). I was just trying to indicate my
(admittedly impressionistic) sense of relative frequency of these innovative
phonologies (if innovative they are). As for Tom Creswell's suggestion, OK.
Mea culpa. I'll try to track down a copy of Merriam-Webster Dict. of English
usage to get the real dope on how 'nucular' got to be pronounced that way and
how that relates or fails to relate to 'jewlery', 'Febuary', 'liberry',...