How do you spell fish?
I’ll give you a few seconds to think about it.
*looks out window*
Ready? Ok, did you say f…i…s…h?
Well, that’s ok I suppose. I mean, it is correct after all.
But wouldn’t you like to try spelling it differently, at least just once? For example, how about…
What? That can’t be fish! you say? It looks nothing like how it sounds. I can see how you think that, but does it make more sense now?…
Make sense now? If not, I can break it down for you:
Cough, rough, tough, enough—so, it seems gh can sound like f!
Women—why, that o sounds exactly like an i!
Nation, superstition, revolution—and ti can sound like sh!
So… GH (f) + O (i) + TI (sh) = GHOTI!
Ok, I get that you’re probably not going to change your way to spell fish. But it’s a cute way to make you think about just how unusual English pronunciation can be, even in words we use everyday.
5 thoughts on “GHOTI”
I know I’ve seen this spelling somewhere before. How did it come about?
Apparently it originated in a letter by the English writer Charles Ollier in the 1850s, though it’s often attributed to George Bernard Shaw. I’ve also just discovered that it’s the Klingon word for “fish!”
LikeLiked by 1 person
[…] pronounce it. I certainly wouldn’t be obvious that it’s pronounced /læf/ or /lɑ:f/. While -gh can often sound like f, it’s not always obvious. Thankfully, if we don’t want to use the word laugh, we can […]
[…] the most important question of all is: is a jellyfish, true or otherwise, a fish? Well that’s such a complex question, it’ll have to wait till […]
[…] I can easily tell how a word’s pronounced, even taking English’s inconsistency with regard to spelling into account. But with furlough, it was harder to know. Could the second […]