Bill Bryson – on “English Language”

Bill Bryson - The English Language


English Rules Broken – Phonetics

Broken Phonetics - GHOTI=FISH

No, A GHOTI is Not A Type of Beard!

So, have you figured out what a ghoti is after reading the image above? And that last sentence is a huge clue.

If you need another clue, just remember, I love my ghoti deep fried in beer batter, slapped on a plate with a nice side order of chips (or steak cut fries), and smothered in salt and dripping with malt vinegar. Anyone suggesting I might want to dip my ghoti in tartar sauce with probably get a funny look, as I sprinkle on more vinegar.


By now, it should be obvious that I’m talking about fish in the paragraph above. But why do I keep calling it ghoti?

Simply put, phonetics are the building blocks of the spoken word. There are approximately 44 phonemes in the English language, based on the 26 individual letters, and some letter combinations. Unfortunately, there are way more ways to represent those sounds when written down (called graphemes).

This PDF file from Dyslexia Reading Well shows just how complicated spelling can be when we account for possible grapheme variations of the same phoneme.

Breaking It Down

Gh as in couGH (F)

O as in wOmen (i)

ti as in naTIon (sh)


Book Spotlight – “Zombies From Space…and Vampires” by Angela B. Chrysler

Book Blurb

Alien invasion? Zombies? Vampires!? I don’t think so!

Aria was an average 19-year-old with average problems. Average was quite realistic until zombies landed their UFO in her backyard. If Aria wants to survive, she’ll need some help, and who better than a pirate captain, a steampunk inventor, a bazooka wielding slayer, and a deranged Englishman who insists he is Doctor Who?

Stuck in a war between vampires and zombie-walking Weeches, Aria and her eccentric crew take a stand for mankind as they fight for their right to survive. Hey, if you have to slaughter zombies and vampires, why not enjoy it?

Buy Your Copy Now! E-Book, Paperback

From the Author

Angela B. Chrysler is a writer, logician, philosopher, and die-hard nerd who studies theology, historical linguistics, music composition, and medieval European history in New York with a dry sense of humor and an unusual sense of sarcasm. She lives in a garden with her family and cats.

Where To Find Angela B. Chrysler

E-mail, Website, Newsletter

Weird Conversations At 1:20am

This is one of those blog posts that is going to enter very weird territory before it’s finished… But then that’s what happens when people have conversations when neither one of them is entirely awake.

On the subject of bomb warnings…

If you grew up in England during a particular time, you might have lived with the potential threat of bombs going off in some of the big cities. If that’s the case, then you may have seen posters similar to this one in any number of places.

I remember seeing any number of posters reminding people to keep their eyes open for packages, suitcases, bags, or other unattended. They were a constant reminder that there was always the potential for one of those items to be a bomb. Some went so far as to remind you not to approach the item, but contact the police instead.

Warnings turn to humor…

After a while, I started seeing graffiti that took the warning, and added humor. But not before I’d already had the conversation with some friends in the early hours of the morning…

Now this was before the internet had become an invasive part of our lives. It was also way before people turned such things into viral memes, that would spread like wildfire.

And then turn into the unexpectedly bizarre…

Now my wife is very much aware of these conversations, and just how strange my mind is at times. But last night, we were talking about something (I can’t for the life of me remember what), but I turned to her and said “Be alert”, and she came back with a reply that left me speechless and laughing, because it was so unexpected.

I jumped out of bed, wrote it down in my journal, with the lights off, in the dark, and could still somehow read it this morning. So I couldn’t help but turn it into a poster. And for what it’s worth “I’m sorry” and “You’re Welcome”

Do you have any bizzare late night (or any other time) conversations you want to share?

Feel free to drop them in the comments below and I’ll share the best responses in a future post!