Friday, September 16, 2011


If I’d named this post ghoti, you’d know what I was talking about.
Or would you?

I’m talking about phonetics. It was a discussion on the news this morning.
I did a little reading on the web, and came across a wiki article about phonics that made me realise that when I was at school, we certainly did synthetic phonics as a way of learning to read. I remember the flash cards with OO, EE and TH on them.

I also remember, and believe that most people my age will remember, the videos we used to watch about spelling – specifically magic e and Francis Drake (the duck) and the O-O sound (I wish I could find a clip for that!)

So, I bet you’re still wondering about the title of this post? Perhaps you’ve figured it out?

P as in hiccough (pronounced hic-cup)
O as in though (tho-)
T as in ptomaine (toe-main)
A as in neigh (nay)
T as in debt (det)
O as in bureau (byu-row)

Potato (Gh)(ough)(pt)(eigh)(bt)(eau)

Isn’t English amazing?

Speaking of which, I hear there’s an alternative to the Police Phonetic alphabet too (foxtrot, Charlie) where the idea is that the word does begin with that letter, but doesn’t sound like it does (k for knife) and one where the word sounds like it begins with a letter that it doesn’t (q for cucumber)

Since my online name (Tsuki) is often misread and mispronounced (Tusky being a favourite) here’s a phonetic breakdown of my name:

TS (as in Tsunami)
U (as in rude)
K (as in pick)
I (as in la-di-da) (sorry, I can’t think of a word where “i” makes the ee sound!)

So, there you have it.

My thought for the day
wouldn’t English be a lot harder to learn if we spelled potato as ghoughpteighbteau?

and a lot less interesting if we didn't know that we could spell it that way!

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