Patterico's Pontifications


The Case for “Nookyoolar”

Filed under: Grammar — Patterico @ 7:07 pm

I have long been irritated by what I considered to be Bush’s mispronunciation of the word “nuclear.” My motto has been: “If he can’t pronounce the word, perhaps he shouldn’t be allowed to launch the weapons.”

But here comes a post by Beldar with several cites (in the updates) to posts defending the pronunciation. [UPDATE: The posts collected by Beldar are from the Curmudgeonly Clerk and Prof. Volokh.]

I will still teach my children to pronounce it “noo-klee-ur,” but having read these posts, I will not be so quick to conclude that the other pronunciation is objectively “wrong.”

7 Responses to “The Case for “Nookyoolar””

  1. Credit, please, the Curmudgeonly Clerk and Prof. Volokh; I did no more than link their stuff. And although I found their defenses of the nonstandard pronunciation to be persuasive, like you I’ll still avoid it, and probably still wince when Dubya says it — but then I’ll smile a small smile and nod for no apparent reason.

    Beldar (42a7aa)

  2. The links are indeed to the Curmudgeonly Clerk and Prof. Volokh, as anyone who reads the posts will see — but Beldar collected the links in one convenient place, and deserves credit for that.

    Patterico (f7b3e5)

  3. Must be a GOP thing: Ike also said nookyoolar, oftentimes just before he climbed aboard his heliocopter.

    bear, the (one each) (adb0d9)

  4. According to the links cited in Beldar’s post, Carter and Clinton also pronounced it the funny-sounding way.

    Patterico (a41e69)

  5. Maybe it’s a subliminal message to our enemies, as in “[I’m going to] NUKE YOU-ler.”

    Steve M. (4f399a)

  6. IIRC, the other Prez Bush said “nucular,” too.

    Xrlq (6d213c)

  7. Jimmy Carter pronounced it that way, too. And he was a nucular engineer.

    James Joyner (5b20ec)

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