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The 'ghoti can be pronounced as fish' thing is a bit unfair to English orthography, where you must take the surroundings of the letter cluster into account.

The word itself is basically a joke, sure, but it serves as a nice accumulation of letters that have a somewhat unexpected pronunciation, certainly a feature of the English language. Pronunciation and emphasis are pretty hard for non-native speakers, and the written form doesn't help that much. On the other hand of the Latin alphabet spectrum, there are languages like Vietnamese, where you've got a boatload of accents and diacritical marks to help with it.

Although I'm not sure whether describing Perl as the Vietnamese of programming languages would be a good selling point, so I'll stick with French ;)


You also have to take the rest of the sentence into account too. English has a lot of words which mean different things depending on how they're pronounced (or, from the other side, that you can't know which way to pronounce until you already know the meaning), e.g. bass, close, desert, does, dove, familiar, have, intimate, invalid, lead, lives, number, object, present, produce, read, refuse, sewer, sow, subject, tear, wind, wound.


familiar? have? number? Don't think so...


Putting "would" in front of "have" turns it into "would've (wood of)" when spoken.

And the number 3 is different from your fingers being number now than they were before.

Not sure about 'familiar' though.


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