ghoti = fish

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Apr 23 01:19:46 UTC 2008

At 8:47 PM -0400 4/22/08, Mark Mandel wrote:
>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.
(3) needlessly complicated in light of the availability of <ti> as in
"nation", "rational",...
In fact, though, [ntS] is not *quite* what I have for "mention",
"attention" (as opposed to "(p)inching", where I do have it, although
maybe the nasal is slightly different there too) , but nor do I have
a simple [nS] (the way I do in "mansion"), more like something in
between the two, if that's possible.


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