Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Dr. Word Asks: Ghoti Tacos, Anyone?

Posted By on Wed, Jan 21, 2015 at 1:30 PM

COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Courtesy of Shutterstock

An article in today's Star talks about a proposition to create an International English Spelling Congress to make the way we spell words more logical and consistent. The article mentions the letter string "ough," which can be pronounced at least seven ways—as in the words "though," "through," "cough," "rough," "plough," "ought" and "borough." As an old English teacher, I know more time is spent—"wasted" would be a better word—teaching and correcting spelling than would be necessary if words were spelled something like the way they sounded.

This isn't a new idea. In the 1870s, someone came up with the word "ghoti" as an example of our ridiculous spelling system. The "gh" is pronounced as in "tough," the "o" as in "women," and the "ti" as in "nation." Put it all together and it spells "fish." (I always thought "ghoti" was a George Bernard Shaw creation. Apparently not—according to Wikipedia, anyway.)

If they were talking about this 150 years ago, I doubt if anything is going to (gonna?) change any time soon.

Word Nerd Note: In James Joyce's Finnegans Wake, he made reference to "ghoti" in typical Joycean fashion:

"Gee each owe tea eye smells fish."
Now you know.

Tags: , , , ,

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

Previously in the Range

More by David Safier

Today | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun
Butterfly Magic

Butterfly Magic @ Tucson Botanical Gardens

Through May 31, 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

Staff Pick

Spring Collection

From Puccini to Prince, the grand finale for the UA Dance season, Spring Collection, offers an eclectic… More

@ UA Stevie Eller Dance Theatre Fri., April 21, 7:30-9:30 p.m., Sat., April 22, 7:30-9:30 p.m., Sun., April 23, 1:30-3:30 p.m., Wed., April 26, 7:30-9:30 p.m., Fri., April 28, 7:30-9:30 p.m., Sat., April 29, 7:30-9:30 p.m. and Sun., April 30, 1:30-3:30 p.m. 1737 E. University Blvd.

» More Picks

Submit an Event Listing

Popular Content

  1. Keep On Poppin' On: Pop-Up Shops Gain Popularity in Tucson as Entrepreneurs use the Concept to Reinvent Their Craft (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  2. Trouble in Republican City Over Voucher Expansion? (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  3. Statewide Voucher Initiatives Has Been Voted Down Everywhere, Every Time (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  4. In The Flesh: Let's Live A Little at Invisible Theatre is a Mouthful That Rewards, Challenges (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  5. Libraries Trump Hate (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)

© 2017 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation