View Full Version : Why do we have "ph" words?


general_kill
Jun 01, 2006, 06:50 AM
If "ph" is suppose to replace "f", why not just use "f"?

It's shorter, and it's one less rule to teach in grammer school.

The Last Conformist
Jun 01, 2006, 06:54 AM
Are you asking where it comes from, or why it hasn't been replaced?

In the former case, it's because the Greek phi originally denoted a sound (an aspirated labial stop, to be exact) sufficiently different from the Latin F that the Romans felt it needed be treated differently when spelling Greek words in Latin letters. Only later did the sound change to an 'f' sound.

In the later case, because the anglophone world is extremely stubborn and conservative in matters of orthography. In many modern European languages, eg. Spanish and Swedish, 'ph' has been largely or wholly respelt as 'f'.

classical_hero
Jun 01, 2006, 07:10 AM
Phuket is a wierd word if you do not know how to properly pronounce it. ;)

general_kill
Jun 01, 2006, 07:20 AM
Phuket is a wierd word if you do not know how to properly pronounce it. ;)

Be funny if it actually were a word :lol:

classical_hero
Jun 01, 2006, 07:43 AM
Be funny if it actually were a word :lol:
You do realise that it is a tourist resort town in Thailand?
Phuket (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phuket) It was destroyed in the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004.

warpus
Jun 01, 2006, 07:50 AM
because then we couldn't use the word phat

Grisu
Jun 01, 2006, 07:51 AM
and pronouncing it with an 'f' would somehow fit too :mischief:

edit: I'm speaking of phuket here, not phat :)

classical_hero
Jun 01, 2006, 07:55 AM
:lol: That is very good.

aaglo
Jun 01, 2006, 07:57 AM
Phantom/Fantom... one of them is a ghost-like thingy, the other is a cartoon character...

this is almost the same category as holder/shoulder (o/ou).

Rossiya
Jun 01, 2006, 08:18 AM
Phuket is a wierd word if you do not know how to properly pronounce it. ;)

phuket is pronounced pookett right?

Donovan Zoi
Jun 01, 2006, 08:20 AM
You do realise that it is a tourist resort town in Thailand?
Phuket (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phuket) It was destroyed in the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004.

They were actually going to try and rebuild it, but someone misunderstood the condolences of the mayor when he cried, "Aw, Phuket!"

classical_hero
Jun 01, 2006, 08:23 AM
phuket is pronounced pookett right?
The "h" is silent.

@DZ, good one. :lol:

Chukchi Husky
Jun 01, 2006, 08:35 AM
What's grammar school?

Cheezy the Wiz
Jun 01, 2006, 08:57 AM
I think the 'ph' is just left over from the incorporation of Latin/Romance language words into English, thats all. Personally, I prefer Ph over f, as I think it makes the word look 'angry' or something. vulgar, i guess. Ph gives it a touch of class

Perfection
Jun 01, 2006, 09:31 AM
Because it's phun! :crazyeye:

classical_hero
Jun 01, 2006, 09:42 AM
Ain't that right Perphection? ;)

joycem10
Jun 01, 2006, 10:30 AM
Phish?....

Souron
Jun 01, 2006, 02:39 PM
'Cause Phishing and Fishing are two different words.

blackheart
Jun 01, 2006, 02:47 PM
because then we couldn't use the word phat

All the more reason to get read of "ph"

Nanocyborgasm
Jun 01, 2006, 05:20 PM
If "ph" is suppose to replace "f", why not just use "f"?

It's shorter, and it's one less rule to teach in grammer school.

In Classical Greek, the "ph" (Phi) was pronounced exactly like that -- "p" with a breathing sound. The same was true for "th" (theta) and "ch" (chi). The current pronunciation evolved in the Middle Ages.

The Last Conformist
Jun 01, 2006, 11:23 PM
Later Antiquity, actually.

zanahoria
Jun 02, 2006, 01:12 AM
Don't get me started on fonics :mischief:

FreeTerminus
Jun 02, 2006, 01:18 AM
All the more reason to get read of "ph"

Heh, why is it that "read" and "read" are pronounced differently but read the exact same way? :mischief:

classical_hero
Jun 02, 2006, 02:42 AM
Heh, why is it that "read" and "read" are pronounced differently but read the exact same way? :mischief:
I think he wrote the wrong word. We must get rid of incorrect words. ;)

Narz
Jun 02, 2006, 03:20 AM
And what the phuck's up with beautiful? Can't we just spell it beuteeful?

classical_hero
Jun 02, 2006, 04:23 AM
I thought about doing something similar to you, but decided against it. ;)

Princeps
Jun 02, 2006, 04:45 AM
Tell me, is it Phrank or Frank?

Truronian
Jun 02, 2006, 04:50 AM
I'v always pronounced 'ph' more softly than 'f', but I agree they are kwite similar :yeah:

The Last Conformist
Jun 02, 2006, 05:47 AM
And what the phuck's up with beautiful? Can't we just spell it beuteeful?
The middle 'i' is there to maintain the connection to "beauty" (cf happy~happily, crazy~craziness, and a thousand other -y~-i- pairs). The spelling of the first syllable is just another instance of the English habit to keep original spellings, no matter how misleading, in loanwords.