Better Than Ghoti?

by josh lubarr

A lot of people have heard about George Bernard Shaw’s phonetic spelling of ghoti for fish;

  • gh is pronounced as in rough.
  • o is pronounced as in women.
  • ti is pronounced as in nation.

Here’s a more outrageous one that I recently learned about: it’s by Godfrey Dewey in his English Spelling: Roadblock to Reading, and it’s phtheighchound for taken:

  • phth is pronounced as in phthisic (also, phthisis, which has its own definition).
  • eigh is pronounced as in weigh.
  • ch is pronounced as in school.
  • ou is pronounced as in glamour.
  • nd is pronounced as in handsome.

H/T: The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language, second edition, by David Crystal (who has been involved with a number of interesting books about Shakespeare and language).

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