The Phonemes of English

“Ghoti” = “Fish”

George Bernard Shaw (GBS) was a famous Irish writer. He wanted to reform English spelling so that it was more logical. He asked the following question as an example:

How do we pronounce the word “ghoti”?

His answer was “fish”.

How can “ghoti” and “fish” sound the same? GBS explained it like this:

  • the gh = f as in rouGH
  • the o = i as in wOmen
  • the ti = sh as in naTIon

Of course, this was a joke. The word “ghoti” is not even a real word. But it showed the inconsistency of English spelling.

http://www.englishclub.com/esl-articles/199909.htm

A picture of the vocal tract