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It is a crazy world when it comes to English!

We know who thunders on about “nucular” - I still wonder how someone sitting over the world’s biggest pile of nuclear arsenal can complain about others having it.

Slate opines about the validity of this particular pronounciation.

I used to use Oxford English Dictionary. In my opinion, it is still the best. After coming to USA, my wife bought a Merriam-Webster dictionary. The first thing I read was that they update the dictionary frequently to add common usage patterns - even if grammatically incorrect. This threw me off balance for a while because I thought a dictionary helps you to correct your mistakes.

Anyway, I still miss Oxford Dictionary. And even after four years, I’m at the receiving end of the jokes since I still write (when I write fast) colour, favour etc; and still say schedule rather than skedule.

Related Joke: An American tourist stormed into a hotel in London. The desk clerk didn’t really care much for the "high horse" of the tourist. After they settled the room reservation formalities:
Clerk: “Sir, the lift is to your right.”
American: “Ya mean elevator?”
Clerk (irritated): “No. I mean, the lift.”
American: “For God’s sake! The elevator was invented in the US.”
Clerk: “Perhaps. But the language was invented here.”

  1. As a British-English speaker, all this 'color' business (while coding CSS, Java etc.) is a total nightmare. I almost *never* get it right the first time!

    I'm an OED user too - but then, as a British-English speaker, there really is no other choice.

    That said, I think that I'd be behind Merriam-Webster's decision to update their dictionary with actual usage. Common usage is *not* 'grammatically incorrect', even if it doesn't match what I believe is called 'received' grammar. Unlike with the French language, no one is in charge. English is as people speak it.

    Posted by: Simon Brunning on September 19, 2002 11:10 AM
  2. I believe THE OED, in particular the Unabridged OED (c.f. "Shorter") takes great pains to reflect as accurately as possible the usage of all words. They add comments advising how "proper" and "common" (inc. "mistaken common" such as "nucular") words' usage has changed through the years to assist us obtaining accurate meanings with respect to era's usage, i.e. "gay".

    Some time ago I read a novel, "The Prisoner of (damned if I can recall)" about the forming of the principles and first compilation of the magnificent Unabridged OED. Sounds like building the "Titanic" was easier and very much less usefull! ;^)

    The Australian "MacQuarie" (sp?) has included Homer's "Doh!" in context, why not "nucular"? If it's in usage, OED et al should reflect accurately how. No?
    cheerio chaps (as the old gaucho, marx, said)
    from &e

    PS How we bruise our language in the name of humus point-making.

    PPS "I'm a Marxist-Leninist, err, Groucho and John that is!" Doesn't work so well in print...

    Posted by: Andy Leach on March 4, 2003 01:07 AM
  3. I am an elementary school teacher, so I am used to corecting spelling and grammar on a regular basis. So, it is extremely disheartening to sit and listen to President George W. Bush go on an on about "nucular" concerns. I find myself yelling at the television and, as hard as I try to stay focused on his valid points, am often distracted by my frustration over this pet peeve of mine. I am sorry to ramble here.
    I guess I just needed a place to rant. I am thankful, though, to see that I am not alone in my confusion over the continued use of a word that is obviously incorrect!

    Posted by: Marnie Bernstein on March 8, 2003 11:20 AM
  4. I just caught my own spelling error on the above posting. I ment to write "correcting" spelling. No one is perfect.

    Posted by: Ms. Bernstein on March 8, 2003 11:23 AM
  5. its prononced Nuculer, Nuculer...... Neeeuuuuccccuuullleeerrrr

    Posted by: Homer Simpson on June 3, 2004 11:09 PM
  6. Has anyone heard that the folks from the South and SouthWest, at least, purposely say nuculer to show their continued independence from the 'Union'? I've heard several other intelligent politicians, including at least one democrat and all from a sun-belt state, pronounce it the same way.

    While touring Ireland last year, I noticed our tour guide would never pronounce the 'th' in any word. For example, he would say 'tis' for this, etc. He did this without fail wherever th showed up in a word. I noticed other Irishmen doing it too. After a few days I asked the tour guide about it and he became quite upset and said that none of the Irish pronounce the th because they wanted to be different from the English and it continues to be one of the Irish folks' forms of protest.

    Posted by: Lou Campolo on September 13, 2004 12:05 AM