You are invited to Log in or Register a free Frihost Account!

Flaws of the english language...

Try pronouncing the following word, I bet you can't do it.


Stumped? scroll down for the answer

Keep going

keep going

a little bit further

just a tiny bit more


The correct pronunciation of the word is "Fish"

Here's why:

1. Cough. the "gh" in cough makes a "f" sound
2. Women. The "o" in women is pronounced with an "i" sound
3. Pronunciation. The "ti" in this word makes a "sh" sound

Put it all together and you get "Ghoti" = "Fish"!
Yeah, that's true....English is whacked. The only way to find out if something is right or not is by seeing if it sounds right, but if you do that you're screwed grammatically, but if you don't, everyone will think you talk funny. It's really amazing to think of how some Native American or African tribes/nations have a language that consists of about 100 words. They seem to do just fine. Sure, they don't have mass production and industry but they also don't have massive pollution and ecosystem failure Wink
i still like english the best ! and who uses that work anyways Razz
There is a language (I believe it is an african language) that is all clicking and clucking and grunting. My sister knows more about it. Its one of the eight languages that she wants to learn.

As for the english language, I didn't realize its wierdness until I took latin my senior year of high school.

But my sister wants to name her first born Qemily, with a silent Q. Just for fun. Razz
You mean Bushman? The clicking grunting one?
chargoyle wrote:
You mean Bushman? The clicking grunting one?

Hmmmm.....that sounds like the one. But I'm not a linguist (In any sense of the word. So i'll take your word on it. Wink
I like this one! This is good! English is kinda confusing. You kept on saying these words but found out that you mispronounced it because of the English language's craziness or should I say conventions. Whatever, we should learn this language since this is the universal language.
I love English! Definitely!
English is easy to learn but hard to master.... Others are easy to master but hard to learn... take French for instance.....

Therefore, English rules... if you know the correction pronunciation of GHOTI, you become an expert... less you are one of those who wants to be the master but that will be added up to your wishlist only....

Besides, English has power...... you know about it.. Very Happy
Yes, knowing how to pronounce "GHOTI" makes you the master of the universe.

Rolling Eyes

It isn't even a word in the dictionary Rolling Eyes
This is a pretty flimsy example, but one which raises a decent debate, so it's serves it purpose well.

English is indeed a complicated language; certainly one can learn the basics relitively quickly, but mastering it is difficult. As suggested Ghoti isn't actually a real word is it (you made it up to prove your point I understand), but IF it were a real word, there would be a rule somewhere which meant it would be pronounced in a particular way.

There are thousands of words in the English language (and no doubt other languages too) which seem to be illogical in their pronounciation/spelling etc. I would suggest these are not flaws in the language, but cleverly designed traps designed by my forefathers to catch out unwhitting Johnny Foreigner types for the silly peoples they are, thus making us English look clever! Smile

BTW I learnt thousands of Spanish words simply by replacing a "tion" with "ción"and altering the pronounciation. I.E. Infomation becomes Información (pronouced in a kinda Manuel from Fawlty Towers way)...

Maybe English is like it is because it's basically mix of Latin, Anglo-Saxon, Old-English, German etc. Then there are colloquialisms and the slag....
"the slag" does play a large factor, yes. Laughing
bdoneck wrote:

1. Cough. the "gh" in cough makes a "f" sound
2. Women. The "o" in women is pronounced with an "i" sound
3. Pronunciation. The "ti" in this word makes a "sh" sound

Put it all together and you get "Ghoti" = "Fish"!

"Gh" at the beggining of a word never makes the "f" sound.
ex: Ghost
"ti" never makes the "sh" sound unless in the context you describe.
Ex: partition

Okay, the "o" is rather strange.
n0obie4life wrote:

It isn't even a word in the dictionary Rolling Eyes

i know it isnt, i forgot who but some playwrite or something like that wrote something about how english is flawed in that sense and this was one of his examples
if English is so bad how come so many people speak it and just as many understand it Rolling Eyes

if you think English is wrong why not spend a few hours devising your own language, if it's better than English maybe we'd all be willing to give it a go Cool
If it were to be any good, it would take far longer than a few hours to develop.
You can't even say all the words in any language in a couple hours.
well, I think English is weird. The grammar is weird, there will alway be a word to break a grammar or speaking rules
Yeah, if you think, the english language is "unorganized"... In spanish, french, german and every other language in the world has a formal way of saying "you" and verb infinitive endings, like -ir, -er or -ar. It's crazy... You can tell I'm in some other languages Very Happy

Plus, we slur words together like none other...
It's one great mangling of many other languages! Razz
True, our linguo is composed of other languages... Latin, Greek, French, and some German, too... I think...
Yeh very true jp. As English is a hybrid, consisting of borrowed words from numerous languages it's almost impossible to have consistency and a set of rules that the English language can be understood by. Rather we have lots of exceptions and it takes a lot of effort for foreign students to learn English grammar effectively.
I really don't think that is right. It usually depends on the letter around it. I'll ask my friend. She is the Grammar Queen. Literaly

The English language is part of the Indo-European group of languages (which includes Latin, Greek, Celtic languages etc. etc.). The language of the Celtic speaking natives was pushed out by the Germanic Anglo-Saxon language. Of course come 1066 the land was entirely taken over by France and thus became French-speaking until around 1362 when parliament was opened once again in English. The Renaissance brought about much Latin and Greek from learned scholars, and also the invention of the printing press, which brought about much of the standardisation of the language. Finally, many neologisms have occured over the last century through the advent of technology and so on, and so forth.


(and no, I didn't copy and paste that. At all.)
I do not think that is true.

TIe, it's not pronounced She.

TIme, it's not pronounced Shime.

TION is on unique pronunciation, because of the "on" at the end, makes it, "sh" sound and it's the end of the word.

Women, the "i" sound is because of the plural form. You don't say (for WOMAN) "Wi-man". So technically, "O" is not pronounced "I". You don't pronounce ROBOT as RIBIT, do you?

Cough. Same as tough. I think it's because of the ough at the end. You don't say though as thouf or through as thruf. So technically it's not the same.

See, the words are pronounced differently because of what letters are in it or before it or end of it, and it is because of the word itself. So it is not necessarily true of what you say, because then it has to be the same as others, you applied that it would be. Ghoti, you would pronounce it Go-tee. Not fish.
yes, exactly as people have said...
gh cannot have an "F" sound at the beginning of a word (give just one example)
ti cannot have an "SH" sound at the end of a word (give just one example)

It is true that GH can have an "ef" sound at the end of a word as in "rough" ,"cough" ,"laugh", etc. GH can also have an "ef" sound in the middle of a word as in "roughage" and "laughing". However, GH never has an "ef" sound at the beginning of a word. It cannot be used that way. It is always preceded by a vowel!

Though there are few examples, o can have an "i" sound as in "women".
TI, on the other hand, cannot be used at the end of a word. It must be followed by a vowel! In fact, it isn't actually "ti" that has the sh sound, it is the combination of i and another vowel, the "t" is actually almost silent as in the common construction "tion". So you see, ti alone doesn't have an "sh" sound it is the combination of t, i, and another vowel (usually o) that has an sh sound and it must be followed by at least one more letter.
People don't think of "fish" when they see "ghoti" because "gh" and "ti" are never used that way!

In short, even in the world of irregular English spelling, you cannot spell fish "ghoti" any more than you can spell it "OLJHGOIUZXX". The latter makes just as much sense as the former.

You could spell fish "phoche" (PHoto wOmen quiCHE), but why would you want to?
The 'ghoti' example is nothing new. George Bernard Shaw is often accredited with inventing it. At the very least, he wrote an essay about inconsistencies in the English language. It is simply an illustration, it is in fact not correct and is inconsistent. It plays off highly-specific contextual pronounciations to make the point that...reading and spelling in the English language is not straightforward.

Much of the reason for this is that spelling was largely unstandardized in the past. Writers spelling how they chose and often the most popular ones won out. In other cases, Webster made many spellings common with the release of the dictionary. And yes, English is a mutt language, but that isn't an excuse for it. Many languages share common ancestors (hence there being languages families and sub-families). The issue is standardization. Another issue is how widespread it is and became. The more distance separating speakers and the more isolated they are from each other, the faster and more radically the language can change. While English came about at a time when there was much more interaction between speakers than would have been true in older era, the spread of its speakers made it impossible to make things make sense. Many countries, France and Israel are examples, have national language institutes to create new words and stabilize and promote the use of accepted grammar and vocabulary. We don't have this.

Side note: all languages have exceptions. All. Spelling has little to do with the type of language and more to do with the choices made by people overtime. Any language can be written in any script. We could write in the greek, cryllic, and cunieform if we want to. For example, Spanish has a great phoenetic spelling, so words are usually spelled just like they're pronounced. However, Spanish the language has plenty of grammatical exceptions. Just so you know.

The African language with clicking that was mentioned is Xhosa. It is closely related to Zulu, which also has clicks, along with many other languages in the Bantu family. Its one of the national languages of South Africa. It is myth that it made up entirely of clicking. The click is one of the sounds in language, along with more common sounds. While it is a fairly common sound, and there are over a dozen different clicks in Xhosa, it is certainly not a language solely of 'clicks and grunts'. That's silly.
Boles Roor
arialskye wrote:
chargoyle wrote:
You mean Bushman? The clicking grunting one?

Hmmmm.....that sounds like the one. But I'm not a linguist (In any sense of the word. So i'll take your word on it. Wink

I've heared of a language called N/u in Africa. They use their tounge to make weird sounds.
it amazes me how many people moan about the English language, the same people have their own native language yet still learn to speak English badly and then moan about it, maybe if you learned the language properly then you would understand why we have abnormalities within our language, why we have combinations of letters that sometimes make a different sound to their normal sound and also why we are all on here commenting on whether or not it's a good language and even though many of us make spelling and grammar mistakes or don't really understand the language fully we will still all understand each other using this "terrible" language.

why knock something that is so useful? Rolling Eyes
ocalhoun wrote:
If it were to be any good, it would take far longer than a few hours to develop.
You can't even say all the words in any language in a couple hours.

this is exactly the point I was trying to make with my sarcastic post, something that has been produced over many years by ordinary common folk is gonna have a few oddities, but it has taken centuries to get this far, it works (we can all understand what others are saying) so why complain about it? there is enough crap in this world to moan about without picking on something as useful as the English language Mad
Yaknow, English is the most spoken language in the world, so why do people keep moaning about it? But anyway:

Okay, here is another thing: I before E except after C, but not all words follow this rule. Weird. Which doesn't follow the rule. Wink
Have you seen this:
It's a site explaining that Ghoti doesn't spell fish.

Also see which is a site with some background information on this.
When I tried entering that word into the Text-To-Speech program made by AT&T, it pronounced it as "Gh-ough-ty".

Try it.

- Mike.
Every langauge will have flaws, (mainly because humans are flawed) people are different and pronounce things differently thats why you get dilects and accents.
i dont agree with that.. ideally, each language is perfect for those people who use it as thier native laguange or first language after birth. its just a matter of respecting owns laguage.
Related topics
English language
Questions language own forum
The degradation of language in general.
Suggest featured discussions
Why the english language is so hard to learn
Name a (wacky?) English language cultural difference.
i am looking for an English Language Buddy
i am looking for an English Language Buddy
English Language Exchange
End of the English Language!
English language is hard to learn
You lovers of the English language :
rate my english language skills
Importance of language skills
spanish language forum into english language
Reply to topic    Frihost Forum Index -> General -> General Chat

© 2005-2011 Frihost, forums powered by phpBB.