In reports sent from Baghdad on 28 May 2007, in which Paul Wood commented on the talks between US and Iranian representatives, he clearly pronounced the word nuclear as [‘nju:[email protected]] ([email protected] representing the neutral vowel, schwa). This is very close to the pronunciation Pres. George W Bush uses, and for which he has been pilloried in the Press. It seems a strange mispronunciation to make, as the word clear is so common. What I think is happening is that the speaker – whether Paul Wood or ‘Dubya’ – is likening the word to those words which do end in -cular: e.g. jocular, vernacular, funicular, and also creating an assimilation of the vowel in the first syllable [ju:] to a second, non-orthographic, syllable, aided by the [l] which is darkened also by assimilation to the previous vowel.

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