Friday, October 03, 2008

Nuclear, not nucular

One of my biggest pet peeves is to hear supposedly intelligent and educated people mispronounce simple words. After 8 years of listening to Dubya continually mispronounce this simple word, Palin's mispronunciation of "nuclear" is neither "cute" or "folksy". It shows a lack of knowledge of simple phonics. When in doubt, just sound it out. It's nu·cle·ar

\ˈnü-klē-ər, ˈnyü-, ÷-kyə-lər\

Another annoying mispronunciation is that of the name of the Iranian leader -- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. McCain screwed it up by adding a k sound in the beginning and a few extra syllables that weren't supposed to be there (Achmadinejadadadad), then Palin screwed it up again last night the same way withe the k sound at the beginning. Then instead of pronouncing it properly, what does Biden do? He follows suit of the same mispronunciation as Palin. Doesn't anyone do their homework anymore? Is just skating by how we all function now?

Based on the advice of the BBC Persian Monitoring team,

mah-MOOD ah-mad-in-uh-ZHAAD

(-h is pronounced in 'Mahmoud' and in 'Ahmadinejad') ."

There is no "K" or "CH" sound in Ahmadinejad. (Edit: there is a very, very soft k sound in native speakers, but not the hard German "ACH" sound like Palin, McCain and Biden were using. I had never heard anyone say it like that before. )

It really isn't that hard to pronounce once you learn it. There are helpful dictionaries and other resources all over the internet. LINK There is no excuse, especially for highly elected officials to lack proper pronunciation of even the most complex words. They are either very lazy, or they are trying to sound stupid to the voters, which is insulting to the average educated person.


Jewish Atheist said...

There is no "K" or "CH" sound in Ahmadinejad.

I'm pretty sure there is one, although it's soft. Listen to an Arabic speaker say it and the 'h' is slightly aspirated.

Stardust said...

Thanks for pointing that out JA,

I was listening to native speakers say it on a website of pronunciations of names, etc and it's more of a hard "H" sound than the harsh German-type "ACH!" sound that Palin, McCain and Biden were saying. I think if you cannot pronounce it in it's native accent properly, then just keep it American

Stardust said...

Pronunication site for Ahmadinejad
and others at Voice of America:

Jewish Atheist said...

Yes, there are two distinct consonents in Arabic -- the slightly aspirated H and the KH sound.

Tommy said...

I pronounce his last name as Ahmadahmadingdong!

Stardust said...

I pronounce his last name as Ahmadahmadingdong!

Tommy, LOL!

That's almost like McCain was pronouncing it.

Sounds like a character in the PeeWee Herman show.

Stardust said...

While excuses might be made for Ahmadinejad, there is absolutely no excuse for an educated, literate American to mispronounce nuclear, especially after the error has been extremely mocked and brought to everyone's attention. It's a word not even affected by dialects from different areas of the country.