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John Cleese in hot water over Irish language jokes

Actor John Cleese has joked about Irish language spelling. Picture by Isabel Infantes, Press Association

COMEDIAN John Cleese has raised eyebrows after joking about Irish language spelling.

The Monty Python and Fawlty Towers actor tweeted: "I love your use of words ! But, seriously, if an Irish 'bh' is a 'v' sound, why don't you write it with a 'v' ? Of course, Bernard Shaw pointed out that in English, the word 'Fish' could be spelled G-H-O-T-I."

He later joked that Irish names look like "deliberate attempts to mislead innocent people."

Hundreds of twitter users replied to the actor, telling him that Irish uses a different alphabet which does not include several letters, including 'v', and blends two letters to get a similar sound.

Irish hip-hop duo the Rubber Bandits defended Irish spelling.

The band tweeted: "Because the British tried to eradicate our language through colonization, so we prefer not to further anglicise it by our own volition."

Other users also pointed out many instances of English words which are not spelt phonetically.

Game of Thrones star Liam Cunningham replied to Cleese: "Why isn't phonetic spelt phonetically?"

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