Why is night spelt with a gh?

After reading the post on raghu asking about the funny english spelling (a few posts down)…. Sandra Dodd wrote:

“The reason “night” is spelled that way is that letters used to be pronounced–with a sound we don’t have anymore, so I don’t know how to describe that at all, but those words with the gh in the middle like night, fight, fright, plight must have sounded similar 800 years ago, and that sound stayed.
“Knight” was pronounced “keNicht” kind of, and castle was castell. Sword had a w sound in it. So when they started spelling those, they were spelling them the way they sounded. ”

Now makes sense to me 🙂 And to raghu too. he has been identifying words that are spelt “wrong” and then he proceeds to pronounce them the way he thinks they must have centuries ago. Its fun.

Sandra also shared this page
http://sandradodd.com/etymology that talks about this more. For those of us who love “Chupke chupke” and the famous “pa-nee-monia aur pa-thai-sis” dialogue… this is a fun road to travel.

2 thoughts on “Why is night spelt with a gh?

  1. Travel Monger June 8, 2009 / 2:23 pm

    was happy to stumble upon your website, searched for alternative schools and found the link to RU and your webpage.. nice of you to be brave and write about your personal conflicts with rules.. parenting is tough.. i wonder if we could connect via email.. we live in the same city

  2. Hema A Bharadwaj June 11, 2009 / 6:07 am

    hope you get this as i could not find an email id for you. you are welcome to contact me via email. how old are you children? and where in Pune do you live? Best, hema

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