GHOTI

How do you spell fish?

I’ll give you a few seconds to think about it.

 

*whistles*

*looks out window*

*whistles again*

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…

GHOTI?

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?…

GH…O…TI

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.

 

3 thoughts on “GHOTI

    • 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!”

      Liked by 1 person

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