It comprises these phonemes:
gh, pronounced /f/ as in tough;
o, pronounced /ɪ/ as in women; and
ti, pronounced /ʃ/ as in nation.
An early known published reference is in 1874, citing an 1855 letter that credits ghoti to one William Ollier Jr (born 1824). Ghoti is often cited to support the English spelling reform, and is often attributed to George Bernard Shaw, a supporter of this cause. However, the word does not appear in Shaw’s writings, and a biography of Shaw attributes it instead to an anonymous spelling reformer. Similar constructed words exist that demonstrate English idiosyncrasies, but ghoti is the most widely recognized. Linguists have pointed out that the location of the letters in the constructed word is inconsistent with how those letters would be pronounced in those placements, and that the expected pronunciation in English would be “goaty”. For instance, the letters “gh” cannot be pronounced /f/ at the beginning of a syllable, and the letters “ti” cannot be pronounced /ʃ/ at the end of a syllable.