This article explores the orthographic labyrinth surrounding the phoneme often spelt <sh>, and looks for a path or network of paths through it. The aim is to offer a microcosm of what is still lacking in the literature, namely a highly detailed and explanatory account of all spellings of all phonemes, in which the various factors that have affected spellings (and more interestingly their relationships with spoken forms) are granted their importance. The purpose of such a full account would be to facilitate better understanding of how the orthography functions, which should in turn be of interest to linguists and teachers.
In accounting for the orthographic complexities concerning /∫/, reference is made to phonological matters such as palatalization and underlying forms, and also to general ones such as position in word, following phonemes and language of origin of loanwords. Rules are given, using formulaic notation, and exceptional spellings are listed and commented on.