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English has a "intricate" relationship between graphemes and phonemes,i.e. there is no sure way of knowing how to pronounce something by just looking at its written form.

Generally any language has this property, but English is much more complicated in comparison to - say - Italian (which happens to be my native language).

This fact is known, and I remember stumbling upon a very nice sentence by an English Author, who leverage on this fact and wrote a sentence whose words did not make any sense together, but if you read them, then the "sounds" formed a perfectly meaningful phrase.

I seem to remember something concerning "god" and a "fish"?

Not sure though.

Anybody remember that?

marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, Edwin Ashworth, Robusto, Community Jul 24 '15 at 12:36

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  • Are you perhaps thinking of the story of Ladle Rat Rotten Hut? – Hellion Jul 24 '15 at 14:46
  • @Helion -- Well, I am not so sure, that was quite some time ago and the general topic was the intricate relationship between written and spoken form which is there in English or French, far less in German or Italian. I remember something between the two extremes of a single word and a full story :-) What you linked however made my point, and it is really interesting. Thanks for that! – Mike Anblips Jul 27 '15 at 8:51
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ghoti

Ghoti is a creative respelling of the word fish, used to illustrate irregularities in English spelling. ...

Explanation

The word is intended to be pronounced in the same way (/ˈfɪʃ/), using these sounds:

gh, pronounced [f] as in tough [tʌf];

o, pronounced [ɪ] as in women [ˈwɪmɪn];

and ti, pronounced [ʃ] as in nation [ˈneɪʃən].

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghoti

As far as I know, there was never a complete sentence base on 'ghoti'.

I'm not aware of a name for the phenomenon.

  • Also look at q-pheevr.livejournal.com/2897.html for the way to read Psschaughal. – DRF Jul 24 '15 at 11:32
  • I also have never seen a complete sentence based on it, however, I have seen a longer, more amusing example: "ghoughpteighbteau" (pronounced "potato"). Also fun fact I learned about 3 seconds ago: presumably in reference to this, the word for "fish" in Klingon is apparently "ghoti". – neminem Jul 24 '15 at 15:12
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    @neminem: Ah, you speak Welsh :-) – jamesqf Jul 24 '15 at 18:16

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