The nineteenth-century Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw was kind of a wacko: he supported eugenics, opposed vaccination, and was fascinated with vivisections. Perhaps his strongest belief, however, was that the English spelling system was idiotic, and he let this show in his writings. He always dropped the apostrophe when he wrote contractions, he created his own phonetic alphabet, and he reverted to archaic orthographies when he could. One of his coolest experiments to show how arbitrary language can be was his infamous respelling of the word fish as ghoti - gh as in rough, o as in women, and ti as in motion. Although it's now disputed whether that was really Shaw, it's definitely a rather popular linguistic thought experiment, with references ranging from Finnegan's Wake to a cameo in Klingon (the word ghotl means "fish" in the conlang), and very interesting!
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Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.