25 March 2009

Simple ideas and Ghoti

Many a time I am awed by some simple ideas which I hear/know/see here and there. Sometimes I am ashamed to hear simple ideas – “why did this never occur to me?”. And sometimes I am confused – whether to appreciate the idea OR the fact that such an idea exists (and was overlooked).

The first time I found this distinction between these two things ((1) The idea itself, (2) Its overlooked existence) was when I read familythe “Selfish Gene” by Dawkins.

The solution which is always given for population control is “stop at two”. He says about “start at 30” or even 35. Very true, right? (2 is the number of children where as 30 (35) is the age at which you start). So if you start late, you may avoid following the stop at two option without compromising the population control. The growth  rate will be as good as “stop at 2”.  

(You could choose either to simply believe me, or do some calculation in mind)

Well, I had never heard of that idea and it struck me “Wow, it is so simple an idea and it never occurred to me, nor have I ever heard that”. So the idea itself is wonderful and its simplicity made me wonder why I never heard/thought of it.

A similar one which I heard recently was “Ghoti the Fish”. A friend pointed me to it and also explained it to me ghoti(“me to it” and its reverse “it to me” in the same sentence :) ).

The question is, how do we pronounce “ghoti”?

Clue: Enough Women Nation

gh – to be pronounced as gh in enough (like F)
o   – to be pronounced as o in women  (like I)
ti  – to be pronounced as ti in nation  (like SH)

So, we must pronounce Ghoti like Fish. “Ghoti the Fish” should sound “Fish the Fish”. Isn’t that cool? I think yes. Isn’t that a very simple silly thing? Then why, it never occurred to any of us who have always discussed about the pronunciation rules (or the lack of them) in English? Actually, that amazes me more than “Ghoti” itself. Here is the wikipedia link, the Ghoti thing was first mentioned in 1874 – yeah pretty old idea!

And the reason for this post is Do You Speak English. Worth watching! :)

Signing off, Sands.


Lynchen said...

as usual a nice post and nice pics :)

and this ghoti the fish is really a fun idea. who could've possibly related this to you?

Paul (from Idea Sandbox) said...

Sands... thank you for finding Idea Sandbox and for posting the ghoti post/links.

I learned of this years ago... I'm glad you enjoyed it and hope your readers do as well!

- Paul

Sands | കരിങ്കല്ല് said...


Your first comment here! :)
Thanks. :)

A common friend of ours told me this Ghoti thingy. One or two times I had asked you to pass her some messages from me. You identified her now?

I didn't read your blog though. I just took the picture and linked to there! :)

Anonymous said...

The 'ghoti' thing is a super cool idea.. :)


Sands | കരിങ്കല്ല് said...

Vivek... :)

A Liberated Soul said...

Thats why I call you a brainy guy :)

The Lonely Backpacker said...

Too much Da...

The Lonely Backpacker said...

Too much Da...

The Lonely Backpacker said...

Btw that Second "Too much " was intentional ... :P

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