nuclear [noo-klee-er, nyoo-kyuh-ler]
In pronouncing nuclear, the second and third syllables are most commonly said as [-klee-er], a sequence of sounds that directly reflects the spelled sequence -clear. In recent years, a somewhat controversial pronunciation has come to public attention, with these two final syllables said as [-kyuh-ler]. Since [-klee-er], the common pronunciation of -clear, might also be represented, broadly, as [-kluh-yer], the [-kyuh-ler] pronunciation can be seen as coming from a process of metathesis, in which the [l] and the [y] change places. The resulting pronunciation is reinforced by analogy with such words as molecular, particular, and muscular, and although it occurs with some frequency among highly educated speakers, including scientists, professors, and government officials, it is disapproved of by many.