Because of the inconsistencies in English language spelling and word pronunciation, when George Bernard Shaw died in 1950 he left money in his will to develop a new phonemic alphabet. The Shaw Alphabet contains 48 letters and each letter represents one individual sound.
Think about this - how would you pronounce the word ghoti?
This is the spelling that Bernard Shaw suggested be used for the word fish to demonstrate the inconsistencies in English spelling and pronunciation. He suggested this spelling based on the [gh] from "laugh", the [o] from "women" and the [ti] from "nation".
The preferred phonetic alphabet today is the International Phonetic Alphabet or IPA. The IPA consists of 43 symbols for the sounds of American English and additional symbols for the sounds of other languages.