Today marks the end of the 2024 SSP Annual Meeting, and while the meeting (at least so far) has been a joy, it also comes with the burden of processing all of the information one receives throughout the days of sessions and networking. So we’ll take it easy on your brain today and just offer up some fun with spelling. While many in the general public may not think of spelling as “fun”, we at The Scholarly Kitchen know that the many editors in our audience can’t help but enjoy trying to figure out how “ghoti” actually spells “fish”.  Below, a look at why this is so, and how the English language got to be such a muddle of inconsistent spellings.

David Crotty

David Crotty

David Crotty is a Senior Consultant at Clarke & Esposito, a boutique management consulting firm focused on strategic issues related to professional and academic publishing and information services. Previously, David was the Editorial Director, Journals Policy for Oxford University Press. He oversaw journal policy across OUP’s journals program, drove technological innovation, and served as an information officer. David acquired and managed a suite of research society-owned journals with OUP, and before that was the Executive Editor for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, where he created and edited new science books and journals, along with serving as a journal Editor-in-Chief. He has served on the Board of Directors for the STM Association, the Society for Scholarly Publishing and CHOR, Inc., as well as The AAP-PSP Executive Council. David received his PhD in Genetics from Columbia University and did developmental neuroscience research at Caltech before moving from the bench to publishing.


4 Thoughts on "Why Are English Language Spellings So Weird?"

I tried to ask my neighbour about the “I before E” rule, but he feigned counterfeit absenteeism. Mind you, he and his eight rottweilers are feisty atheist foreigners. 

Leave a Comment