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In Terry Pratchett's The Truth, Mr Tulip says "I fort" 5 times.

  • "I fort that at the start"
  • "I fort so!" (twice)
  • "I fort you said this city was a -ing pushover?"
  • "I fort we wanted to find.."

Is this a kind of mispelling for "I thought" or something else?

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"too localised" – FumbleFingers Feb 18 '12 at 14:17
I thought the book was called "The Truth" ;-) – Jürgen A. Erhard Feb 18 '12 at 22:02
yep... typo removed – Hemme Feb 18 '12 at 22:49
up vote 13 down vote accepted

Since it is spoken, it is a mispronunciation of "I thought", often called th-fronting.

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Particularly in this case it represents a gruff London underworld accent - Mr Tulip is not a very nice man. – mgb Feb 18 '12 at 20:58
@mgb Mr Tulip is a nice man... compared to Mr Pin. – Jürgen A. Erhard Feb 18 '12 at 21:56
It's an intentional pun. – Mechanical snail Aug 23 '12 at 1:45

Readers of Terry Pratchett have to understand that he, and most of his characters, speak British English (of some variety or other), including idioms and creative spelling for dialect and other forms. It's part of the charm of his books, which I think are the best novels in English since Dickens, and the funniest since Mark Twain. Or vice versa.

Pratchett is probably my favorite author, because his treatment of language (and the people who speak it) demonstrates that he gets it. In fact, he got it a long time ago. Witness the Latin mottos of Unseen University, where wizards are trained:

Nunc Id Vides Nunc Ne Vides

or of the city -- and state -- of Ankh-Morpork, where Business is King:

Quanti Canicula Ille In Fenestra

Not to mention the Greengroce'rs Apos'trophe which appears misplaced in every piece of dialog uttered by his greengrocer characters. The joke is, of course, that apostrophes are inaudible in speech, so nobody listening can tell where they are -- but the writer, and then the reader, can.

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