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After reading this question just yet, it reminded me of something my English teacher once told me.

What is the proper pronunciation of the following word, and why?

ghoti

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closed as too broad by Deusovi, Peter Taylor, Khale_Kitha, Esoteric Screen Name, ABcDexter May 2 '16 at 14:35

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ I'm a bit disappointed that this question was closed as too broad. I thought the answer was rather clever. $\endgroup$ – Ian MacDonald May 2 '16 at 19:01
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The answer is

Fish, because the sound these letters make in other words: 'gh' in "enough", 'o' in "women", 'ti' in "nation"

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    $\begingroup$ @KevinCruijssen yup ;) A long time ago, but it stuck in my memory $\endgroup$ – KoA May 2 '16 at 9:20
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    $\begingroup$ Also, if one were to google 'ghoti', the answer is pretty apparent ... $\endgroup$ – Tim Couwelier May 2 '16 at 9:34
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    $\begingroup$ @TimCouwelier Hmm, you're indeed right. Should have known my English teacher looked it up on the internet himself.. He never was really original or funny (he always laughed at his own jokes while the class didn't understand it halve the time XD). Ghoti simply got stuck in my head and I was reminded by it. And since it wasn't present as a question yet, I decided to post it. $\endgroup$ – Kevin Cruijssen May 2 '16 at 9:41
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    $\begingroup$ "Ghoti" is famous enough to have its own Wikipedia page. The page notes that the earliest sighting of this spelling of "fish" is from 1874. :) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghoti $\endgroup$ – MichaelK May 2 '16 at 10:42
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    $\begingroup$ And then there's the respelling of "potato" as "ghoughphtheightteeau"... $\endgroup$ – f'' May 2 '16 at 18:13
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The answer is

"goaty", because: "gh" can only make the sound /f/ after the vowel letter "u", "o" can only make the sound /ɪ/ in a stressed syllable in the word "women," and "ti" can only make the sound /ʃ/ in the middle of a word before a vowel letter. See "Hou tu pranownse Inglish"

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    $\begingroup$ The question was for the "proper pronunciation" :) +1 $\endgroup$ – Jonathan Allan May 2 '16 at 14:10
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    $\begingroup$ @JonathanAllan: well, "proper pronunciation" was never defined. One person might take it to mean "the intended pronunciation," another person might take it to mean "the pronunciation suggested by the normal rules of English spelling." :) $\endgroup$ – sumelic May 2 '16 at 14:12
  • $\begingroup$ In English, there aren't really strict rules about how letters "can" be pronounced. There are general guidelines, but any of those can be overruled by any particular word, especially a fabricated word such as ghoti. $\endgroup$ – paste May 2 '16 at 17:19
  • $\begingroup$ @paste: true that there aren't strict rules, but there are tendencies, and they can't be "overuled" too much or else people will start using spelling pronunciations. When someone fabricates a word with an unintuitive or ambiguous spelling, there's no guarantee the original, intended pronunciation will end up being used. Take the case of "GIF." $\endgroup$ – sumelic May 2 '16 at 19:18
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    $\begingroup$ @sumelic Thankfully, the original intended pronunciation rarely matters. In fact, in the case you mention, the debate over the pronunciation of GIF has popularized both pronunciations, which means it's more likely that one will know what you mean even if you pronounce it "incorrectly". Your intention will come across, and that's what's more important. $\endgroup$ – paste May 3 '16 at 0:32
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To be honest, it is more of a brain teaser. The first answer which came to my after-exam-tired mind was:

Goatee

So, peace...

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