Books: Oh Pshaw!

)}]([[h? [/I57nIR] LIL h Sa? (c7n. r?mr [LISInIR] e?)6? d)( S()T dSt InIL 75 (IC)? Wn ( OISIN.

This apparently unintelligible squiggle is an impeccable transliteration into New Shaw of some old George Bernard Shaw:

Androcles (whispering): Did you see? A lion.

Megaera (despairing): The gods have sent him to punish us because you're a Christian.

On his death twelve years ago, Playwright Shaw, an Irishman with a masterful but impatient command of English, left £8,300 ($23,240) in trust to help eliminate phonetic vagaries from the English alphabet. Characteristically, he suggested that the best way to do it would be to scrap the whole...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!