Transcription Exercise 5

In the Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology we quote the remark by George Bernard Shaw that the word fish might equally be spelled as ghoti (i.a. gh as in laugh, o as in women and ti as in nation).
Appart from the well-known reading of ghoti, there is also another possibile ways of pronouncing that constructed word:

  • gh like in night or fight
  • o like in people
  • t like in ballet
  • i like in business

According to this reading, one actually cannot pronounce the word ghoti, because all of the bold graphemes in the words listed above are silent letter and thus do not represent a sound.

Goti Words

By this token, the words listed below might each have been spelled in a number of different ways (in some cases, a large number of ways). First transcribe the words into IPA and then see how many possible spellings each could have, according to the apparent idiosyncrasies of the English spelling system:

  • sheaf
  • qualm
  • fusion
  • daughter
  • note
  • chief
  • sign
  • keep
  • jape
  • mighty
  • choose
  • chest