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#80513 - 09/17/02 04:00 PM The GNC
TEd Remington Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/17/00
Posts: 3467
Loc: Marion NC
This reminds me of an anecdote from the Carter Administration. Jimmy had just gotten back from a European grip and grin when he made an offhand reference to the GNC while talking to reporters.

They searched and they searched and could not find what GNC was an abbreviation for, so they asked his press secretary, who laughed heartily and said that Carter had been talking about a security problem involving the Aegean Sea.

Seriously, Faldage, a president who mispronounces a word as important as nuclear needs to be corrected. Those who hear it and abhor the mispronunciation tend to discount the other words in his message (if they even hear them at all.)

It's a disservice to the US of A and to the Presidency itself for his aides not to jump all over his skinny little butt to get him to say the word properly. I think they are allowing him to do it because they think it plays well with the good ol' boy image he stgrives so hard to maintain. Wither that or they are all pronouncing it nucular because the boss does. Which would mean Bill's right about not correcting the King.

And I don't think that happens. I just got finished reading Shadow, by Bob Woodward, and he reports dozens of instances where Presidents' aides take off the gloves and whale the hell out of each other (and the boss) but only in private. Now it may be that the climate of the current White House doesn't support that. After all, this is the first time in history where we've had an attorney general who wants to be referred to by the title "general".


#80514 - 09/17/02 04:05 PM Re: the debate
AnnaStrophic Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
In the interest of fairness and complete disclosure, I gotta stay out of this, being Faldage's better half. I can't help but hope, though, that y'all don't start calling him an ASp. Think of what that would do to my rep!

#80515 - 09/17/02 04:18 PM Re: the debate
Wordwind Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 6296
Loc: Piedmont Region of Virginia, U...
ASp and SlipperyAsp [SAsp]...sounds like a perfect match!

ASp and SAsp...Forever!

#80516 - 09/17/02 04:51 PM Re: knuckle-ear
WhitmanO'Neill Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/13/01
Posts: 4189
Loc: Rio Grande, Cape May County, N...
From henceforth, I declare, that anyone guilty of misclear unpronunciation will be the recipient of a knuckle-ear sandwich right quick!

#80517 - 09/17/02 05:04 PM Re: nuke'em
FishonaBike Offline

Registered: 10/11/00
Posts: 1346
Loc: Sussex, England
Five minutes. That's all I'm askin'. Five minutes.

Use the chair!

P.S. "Slippery Snake Faldage"

#80518 - 09/17/02 05:08 PM Re: nuke'em
WhitmanO'Neill Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/13/01
Posts: 4189
Loc: Rio Grande, Cape May County, N...
One can be a descriptivist without defending or condoning sloppy usage, as one can be a prescriptivist and practice sloppy usage. Pronunciation shift is a part of language; discounting the contributions of someone whose usages do not match one's own only limits the holder of these prejudices.

"I seen the enemy, and they is us."

And, yet, if we continiue to use the "Dubya" for "double-you", we're all descrptivists, changing the language to suit the need and facilitating a permanency of that change through repetition, aren't we?

What about LBJ's..."Mah fellah Americans"? I know that's is just a matter of accent, but did it render him less intelligent in my eyes...no. Or the Kennedys' thick Boston accent? But I think you also have to know, and in a postition of influence, demonstrate that you know the rules before you break them, linguistically speaking (Creative Writing 101). If you want to write experimental poetry, fine. But, first, you should know and be able to work in the sonnet form before you abandon it. I do think that many politicians streamline their verbalization to reach their greatest perceived number of constituents. And all, of course, are given to the colloquialisms of everyday speech like the rest of us. Witness Dale Bumpers eloquent Daniel Webster-like oration to the Senate during the Clinton impeachment proceedings. If he spoke that way everyday in local Arkansas TV interviews he'd probably never get re-elected. However, I have always reacted to nucular as a mispronunciation...there's nothing there that merits change except for a lack of intellectual guidance, at the least. Not good form for presidents or kings or college professors, etc.

Welcome, Madame Curie...and thanks for discovering radium!

#80519 - 09/17/02 05:15 PM Re: nuke'em
WhitmanO'Neill Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/13/01
Posts: 4189
Loc: Rio Grande, Cape May County, N...

Thanks, FF! All this time I've been trying to pronounce it right for Jackie and could only manage Lureville! Hey, Jackie!!! I'm hiring Fallible as my Loo-uh-vul dialect tutor!

#80520 - 09/17/02 05:25 PM Re: nuke'em
musick Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/24/00
Posts: 2661
Loc: Chicago
Which thumb do you use to hit the space bar? Can you change? Easily? SSF

The above statement is a non sequitur. WW

I know a non sequitur when I see one, and that ain't one... neither (pronounced ny-ther) was the next one...

#80521 - 09/18/02 06:17 AM Re: nucular/nuculus
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
First I apologize to Mme. Curie for missing her point about nuclear and nucleus. In my mad dash to jump on my horse and ride off in all directions I didn't notice that she was pointing out that you don't hear people saying nuculus for nucleus. There are at least two reasons for this. One of the reasons for the pronunciation nucular is that there is an extensive support system of other words ending in -cular, approximately four times as many as words ending in -culus given the relative numbers m-w.com gives when fed "*cular" versus "*culus". The other reason is that nuclear is considerably more common than nucleus with 7,410,000 google hits for nuclear versus 967,000 for nucleus. I suspect that if you listen you will hear nuculus, just not nearly as often as nucular.

The point of the thumb thing was that it is a set pattern in your muscles as is pronunciation.

As for intelligence having an effect on our ability to alter speech patterns learned early in life I have merely to point out that many otherwise intelligent people have great difficulty learning new languages after childhood and often those that do never speak it with a good accent. On the other hand, many people of average intelligence or below learn to speak foreign languages late in life and can speak like a native.

As for learning new pronunciations, the President of the United States has plenty more important things to worry about than how to pronounce nuclear. He could be coached for hours and practice saying "NOO-CLEE-ER" for hours and then have it all dissipate when he's up at the speaker's platform, as anyone who has experienced public speaking knows well.

#80522 - 09/18/02 07:55 AM Re: nucular/nuculus
Wordwind Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 6296
Loc: Piedmont Region of Virginia, U...
Five minutes, Faldage. That's all I want. While he's brushing his teeth, for instance. He won't have to practice long. Honestly. After he spits out his toothpaste.

The thumb on space bar is muscular, true, as is speech. However, when we speak, we are actively engaging our minds. When we hit the space bar, we are using an automated response. I don't have to think "hit space bar" when I'm typing. I think of the words, type them out quickly, listen inwardly to the sound of the sentence I type, but I don't think "space" in between the words as I read over them. When I speak, however, I do think more consciously than when I hit the space bar. Carbohydrate, for instance. I used to pronounce it "carbohydrit" instead of "carbohy-drate". Somebody corrected me. So now when I speak the word carbohydrate, the little speech coach in my brain reminds me to employ the ATE sound instead of the IT one. (Who knows--carbohy'drit' may be an acceptable pronunciation by now. Thus progresses the language in its many-garbed parade of possible sounds.)

I still believe:

1. President Bush could quickly modify his pronunciation of 'nuclear'; if he cannot with a modicum of effort, well, at least he gave it a good shot (five minutes--honestly--while he's walking downstairs, for instance); learning to pronounce "nuclear" for President Bush would not be as hard or time-consuming as Faldage would have us believe;

2. Nuclear is an important word with important ramifications; it should be pronounced correctly;

3. Public speaking on a national level requires some discipline from its speakers, and they should attempt to use standard pronunciations when speaking on topics of importance;

4. Mispronunciations are somewhat different from allowances made for accent;

5. The mind is more consciously engaged when speaking to an audience than it is when hitting the space bar.

6. Yes, Faldage, President Bush is engaged in "more important" things than learning to tweak a pronunciation of a word. But he's not engaged in those more important things all of the time. He relaxes. He satisfies his curiosity. He reads. He yawns. He rides a horse or two. During those more relaxed times when he is exercising his curiosity about the language, he might think to tweak his pronunication of nuclear. I would never suggest that he so tweak when he's actively engaged in a crisis, just as I wouldn't try to tweak a pronunication problem of my own when I'm teaching.

Best regards,

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