ghoti = fish

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Wed Apr 23 00:47:35 UTC 2008

On Tue, Apr 22, 2008 at 6:26 PM, David Borowitz <borowitz at> wrote:
> On Tue, Apr 22, 2008 at 3:11 PM, Matthew Gordon <gordonmj at>
>  wrote:
>  > ti is sh, as in mention, attention, &c.
>  A bit off-topic, but the 'ti' in both of those is pretty clearly [tS] for me
>  and not [S]. Wikipedia gives 'ti' as in 'nation', which is better for me. My
>  question is, do we think 'mention' with [S] might be a mistake on the part
>  of the author, or was that a valid BE pronunciation 100-150 years ago? (Or
>  is it a valid BE pronunciation today?)

[S] -> [tS] / n__   would be very much in line with familiar examples
like "prince" homophonous with "prints". The author's description may
have been

 (1) phonetically accurate, describing an older pronunciation than
yours (and mine), or it may have been

 (2) phonetically off but phonemically correct, and plausibly still
applicable to our pronunciation.

Mark Mandel

The American Dialect Society -

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