Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 12:42:49 EDT


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',...