nucular and Latino

Michael Newman mnewman at QC.EDU
Wed Nov 14 13:19:35 UTC 2001

>Two unrelated questions:
>How come many Hispanic and non-Hispanic native speakers of English pronounce
>"Latino" and "Latina" as if they were Spanish words when they're speaking
>English? I just heard somebody on NPR hesitate for a split second to switch
>to Spanish for that word and then back to English. It doesn't sound natural
>to my ears. And I'm a native speaker of Spanish.
>I also have a question about pronouncing nuclear as if it were pronounced
>"nucular." George W. Bush says nucular. Eisenhower used to say nucular. How
>about other presidents? How common is this pronunciation?
>Paul Frank
>English translation from Chinese, German,
>French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese
>Tel. +33 450 709 990 - Thollon, France
>E-mail: paulfrank at

Another odd thing with Latino/Latina is that whereas we have
increasingly tended to avoid different sex reference forms such as
Scotsman/Scotswoman and special female forms such as hostess,
poetess, and especially Jewess and Negress, here we are  referring to

It seems to be a peculiar characteristic of English folk language
ideology to import foreign morphology as somehow more "authentic" and
"correct." Whereas in Spanish they say "dato" (sg) and datos (pl.),
we have this unintuitive prescriptive rule declaring "data" a plural.
Michael Newman
Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics
Dept. of Linguistics and Communication Disorders
Queens College/CUNY
Flushing, NY 11367

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