Wednesday, 1 May 2013


The word Ghoti can be pronounced two ways. If you don't already know how to pronounce this unusual word; I'll give you a clue: It's not go-tee. It's not even close.

The word Ghoti has been around for at least a hundred and fifty years, and it's a brilliant way to describe the inconsistencies in the English language, specifically in spelling and pronounciation.

Ever had a teacher tell you to sound out a word to work out how to spell it? I think we all know that rarely works, and this word is an exaggeration of the problems associated with English spelling and pronunciation. 

But I won't leave you hanging any longer, I'll tell you how this infamous word is pronounced.

Fish. That's it. Fish. I'll explain:

The word enough has a gh making an "f" sound.
The word women (plural) has an o making an "i" sound.
And the word nation has a ti making a "sh" sound.

By this logic, we can conclude that ghoti should be pronounced like "fish".

But wait. There's more. A slightly lesser known pronunciation exists, using the same concept to further illustrate the problems in English.

Though has a silent gh.
People has a silent o.
Ballet has a silent t.
And business has a silent i.

Therefore; ghoti should actually make no noise. It is a completely silent word.

Which brings me back to the title of this entry. Can anyone work out what that word is? Ghoughpteighbteau?


It's pronounced "Potato".
(If you still can't work it out, I'll give you a clue: The first gh comes from hiccough.)

See if you can do any clever shuffling of letters to make your own "ghoti words".

No comments:

Post a Comment