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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