“Sosul Security”

A phonics lesson for the president.

This is undeniably petty, but one of the things I most dread about tonight’s State of the Union address is listening to my president mispronounce, over and over, the name of the government program that Franklin Roosevelt established to provide a decent retirement income for the nation’s elderly. Dubya insists on calling it “Sosul Security.” I don’t think this is a Southern thing, like “nucular.” I think it’s a George W. Bush thing.

Possibly the president dozed off in phonics class when they explained the difference between “ci” as in “circle” and “ci” as in “special.” If so, I offer as a public service this aural tutorial from Donald L. Potter, who teaches grade-school English in the president’s home state of Texas. In the syllables “cial,” “cious,” and “cient,” Potter explains, “ci” is pronounced “sh.” Potter has posted additional phonics resources here.

If he’s going to privatize it, at the very least he should know how to pronounce it.