“PH” says “F”

Is it a “telepone”? No, it’s a telephone.

So it’s not “dip-theria,” and it’s not “dip-thong” either. Diphtheria. Diphthong. Look at it.

The same goes for ophthalmology and ophthalmologist.? Oph-thal-mol-o-gy.? Oph-thal-mol-o-gist.? There is no such thing as an “optomologist.”

Thank you.


About revjatb

I am a father of six who is trying to do his best! My interests are varied. I have one blog, KnowTea, that is primarily focused on liturgy and worship and another one, Bengtsson's Baking, that is about, well, baking! I hope you enjoy both of them, and if you have any questions, please contact me!
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7 Responses to “PH” says “F”

  1. cancerman says:

    Ok, explain the change in your banner.

  2. RevJATB says:

    I’m waiting for someone to identify the quote.

  3. cancerman says:

    Sounds like something from Barney Miller to me.

  4. Matt says:

    I certainly agree with ophthalmology and diphtheria, even though the OED allows Americans (not Brits) to pronounce it with a p sound.

    But I take exception with diphthong. Its Greek and Latin ancestors contained the f/phi sound, but it’s earliest English usages didn’t: it was dyptongue. So, if we’re wrong to omit the f sound, at least we’re in good and old company.

  5. Mo says:

    Don’t get me started. I don’t have the time to spare.


  6. RevJATB says:

    I’m sure the word probably came into English via French and was pronounced much differently than it is now. Most high-falutin’ words like that came to us from those Normans. If it weren’t for them, we’d still be eating swineflesh instead of pork, as God intended for us to do, and we’d probably be wearing good, practical, Anglo-Saxon handshoes instead of gloves. Snobs.

    But, the word as we have it in English now is pretty much a transliteration of the Greek diphthongos (sorry, it won’t let me put Greek letters in the comments section without freaking out), and as you mentioned, Matt, the letter phi has the “f” sound, so unless we want to spell it differently, I say let’s recognize the “ph” diagraph (there it is again!) and pronounce it the way we do in telephone, graphic, photograph (twice), and every other Greek-derived English word that contains “ph.”

    Morris, I think it was Dawn who first pointed out to me “You know it’s ‘diph,’ not ‘dip’.” Before that, I don’t guess I’d ever looked at the word either.

  7. Pingback: You can say “TH” after “S.”

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