What is “ghoti?”
While you may not recognize the spelling, you’d know it if you heard it pronounced. So, how do you say this unusual word?
Let’s sound it out, using some common sense about English.
First, the “gh.” Well, “tough” is pronounced “tuff,” and “rough” is “ruff,” so clearly “gh”makes an F sound.
Next, the “o.” We know “women” is pronounced “WIHM-in,” so obviously this makes an IH (short i) sound.
Finally, the ending “ti.” This one’s easy. “Station” is “STAY-shun,” and “national” is “NASH-un-ul.” Without doubt, “ti” makes an SH sound.
Put it all together, and what do you get?
Yep – “ghoti” is just an alternate spelling of “fish,” pronounced exactly the same way.
Okay, so this is fairly ridiculous, but the point is real. Someone in the 1800s – we don’t know exactly who – invented this word to make a point. We’re speaking a seriously messed-up language.
But oh, English. I can’t stay mad at you.
Who? What? When? Why? Where can I read more about this? I’ll try just googling the word… Very cool fact 🙂 Thank you! Alexandra
Wikipedia has a good article on it. 🙂
Thank you Brian I’ll read it ASAP! Have a lovely day
This was a terribly amusing post. Is this a real word?
Somebody really invented it in the 1800s. But if you’re asking whether it’s in the dictionary, I’m guessing probably not.
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George Bernard Shaw I believe is the author of this pointed example of the mystery and wonders (?!) of the English language. Clever fellow, he eschewed the eating of meat and had preference for writing in a small, garden hut. Sigh. A retreat. Thanks for your bloggings.
According to Wikipedia:
“Ghoti…is often attributed to George Bernard Shaw…. However, the word does not appear in Shaw’s writings, and a biography of Shaw attributes it instead to an anonymous spelling reformer.”
That’s about the extent of my knowledge. Thank you!
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