Long time listener, first time caller.
I was chatting with some friends, and GIF and nuclear came up. GIF is pretty unique, we considered, as we allow both /dʒɪf/ and /gɪf/ for its pronunciation. Both are interchangeable, and I would say we hear both of them rather evenly distributed in my tech company.
Nuclear shares the same trait of multiple "allowable" pronunciations /ˈnukliəɹ/ and /ˈnukjulɚ/ . However, some speakers ascribe a certain undesirable quality to the latter pronunciation.
This made me wonder. How many other words are there for which we allow distinct pronunciation in English? Are we more likely to find that these examples are largely devoid of stigma, as with GIF, or the opposite, as with nuclear?
I realize this may be regional, but I'd like to eliminate questions of accent (cot-caught, sit-set etc), and limit it to places of articulation and orthographic interpretation leading to the pronunciation differences for a single word.
Thanks for the help!