Friday, April 18, 2008

Phonetics and George Bernard Shaw

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.

1 comment:

Ross said...

I think this whole linguistics area so interesting.
What comes to mind is word order and how that is set up in the brain. As I get older and with medication, the word order of my sentences comes out weird sometime: never in a serious environment; more, when I am at home. I actually took a course in word order once, given by Persian professor. Anyway, I have more comments but think that this message somehow will get lost. I don't see "send" item to click.

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