Ghoti

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Ghoti is an artificial word used to illustrate irregularities in English spelling. It is a respelling of the word fish: i.e., it is supposed to be pronounced /ˈfɪʃ/. It is made of these phonemes:

  • gh, pronounced /f/ as in tough /tʌf/;
  • o, pronounced /ɪ/ as in women /ˈwɪmɪn/; and
  • ti, pronounced /ʃ/ as in nation /ˈneɪʃən/.

Using the same method, ghoti can be a silent word, where:

  • gh as in though; here, and in the next examples, the bold letters are not pronounced.
  • o as in people;
  • t as in ballet;
  • i as in business

In fact, ghoti is likely to be spontaneously pronounced [goʊtaɪ] or [gəʊtaɪ] (like "go" + "tie") but certainly not like "fish" since : gh is never pronounced [f] (cf. "ghost") at the beginning of a word neither ti is pronounced [ʃ] at the end of a word.

Spelling in English is discussed in orthography.