The Non-Phonetic Alphabet

I was wondering if I could create a useless alternative to the Nato Phonetic Alphabet, so I decided to give it a go (with a little help from the internet, friends and a pencil that claims to be 100% wool and has the instructions “DRY CLEAN ONLY” printed on it).

Anyway, here is the Non-Phonetic Alphabet:

A – Aether, Aisle, Auxiliary
B – Bdellium
C – Czar, Ctenophore
D – Djembe
E – Euro, Eye, Eight, Eiderdown, Euthanasia
F – ???
G – Gnat
H – Honour
I –   ???
J –  Jalapeño
K –  Knee, Knight
L –  Llanelli
M – Mnemonic
N – Nguyen
O – Oestrogen, One, Oujia
P – Pneumatic, Pterodactly, Phlegm, Phonetic
Q – Quiche
R – Rzeznik
S – Sgraffitto
T – Tsunami
U – Uighur, urushiol
V – ???
W – Write, Wrap, Wrestle
X – Xylophone
Y – Yvonne, Yreka, Yttrium
Z – Zaragoza

Use it to annoy people in call centres at your own risk.

My name is Hannah, spelt H for honour, A for aisle, N for Nguyen…
The name is also a palindrome so you should be able to spell the rest by yourself.

If you’ve got better ones, just comment and I’ll add them to the list.

I’ll be really impressed if you find any good ones for F, I, L, N, R, S, U, V, Y and Z!


54 thoughts on “The Non-Phonetic Alphabet

  1. In Welsh “F” is pronounced like “V” so you could use a Welsh place name that begins with F. Maybe. Can’t think of any right now though. Fishguard doesn’t work.

  2. Funny to see this creative piece, since I’ve never seen anyone else play with this–aside from myself. I haven’t “published” an example, but I’ve experimented with historical and geographical subjects. Nice job.

    1. Thank you! I’m always playing with words – alliteration, homophones, palindromes etc. – it seems to be an inherited thing. My grandpa was an English teacher and did the same and my great uncle once wrote his sister an entire letter where every single word began with S, while he was serving in the war (I’d love to post it, but need to ask permission from relatives). If you publish any word games, I’d love to see them! 🙂

  3. Welcome! Thank you for subscribing to follow my blog. I hope you are encouraged, inspired and enjoy the photos I take of life’s events as seen through the lens of my camera.

  4. Thanks for following my blog. I like the idea of a new phonetic alphabet, but doubt I could remember it at the right moment – I tend to make it up as I go along, and, as you say, annoying people taking messages!

    1. Thank you!
      Sometimes it’s just hard to resist winding call centre staff up just a little bit! I used to hand the phone to my baby sister and let her babble at them. 😛

    1. I like that! It sounds much more dramatic!

      Accents/dialects make it quite hard to write an accurate list, but it’s good fun learning about language and how people pronounce things in different parts of this country and abroad! 😀

  5. An old boss of mine at Exeter Post Office knew a lot of the alternatives, but as this was 30 years ago, I only remember these few;
    A for Horses
    B for Ham
    D for Dense
    F for Vessence
    I for Novello
    L for Leather
    Y for Christ’s sake

    1. Heard those from my grandparents. The ones I remember:
      A (‘ay) is for ‘orses
      B fer Mutton (Beef or Mutton)
      C fer yerself
      D fer Dumb (Deef or Dumb)
      E …
      F fer vescence
      … and that’ ’bout it

      L for Leather is good!

  6. Wow! That’s pretty cool! Thanks for checking out my blog. I’m in the process of moving so I’m waaaay behind on blogging. Lol

    Have a great weekend. :). Hugs Paula xxx

  7. A – Aliyah
    B – Bitch/ Buzz/Belly
    C – Cupid
    D – Dingo
    E – Envelope
    F- Felatino
    G – Ghost
    H – Hydro
    I – Idaho
    J – Jelly
    K – Kryptonite
    L – Lion
    M – Money
    N – Nitro
    O – Old
    P – Pyro
    Q – Quail
    R – Ruby
    S – Sky
    T – Tar
    U – Underwear
    V – Vagabond
    X – Xena
    Y – yes
    Z – Zebra

  8. I for Igor.
    I use S for Sforzando as a slightly more used word in English, particularly for musicians. Similarly, T for Tchaikovsky
    Q for Qi, but I like Q for Quiche too.
    A for Aubergene due to the ambiguity, although there is a wealth of good ‘A’s out there.

  9. or try creating a non-phonetic alphabet like
    a as in eight
    b as in …
    c as seal
    d as in …
    e as in iolani
    f as in effort
    g as in jeep
    h as in ac…
    i as in eiffel
    j as in …
    k as in cable
    l as in elephant
    m as in empty
    n as in anything
    o as in …
    p as in …
    q as in cue-ball
    r as in artwork
    s as in establish
    t as in …
    u as in youth
    v as in …
    w as in …
    x as in extra

  10. “Irk” is the best I could come up with in terms of counter-intuitive pronunciations for I. Alternatively, if you have both A and I in a word, you can use “aisle” and “isle” respectively.

    Also, although it’s not the beginning of the word “Z as in Menzies” is good if you pronounce it correctly (i.e. “mingis”).

    Lastly, I personally quite like “Ptolemy” for P.

  11. As children ( a million years ago) we made up a different alphabet, those which I can remember are below
    Instead of: A for Alpha, B for Beta etc
    You have to mangle the pronunciation of ‘for’
    A fa Gardner
    B for mutton
    C for th Highlanders
    D fenbaker
    F or vessence
    G for?
    H for?
    I for Novello
    J for
    K for
    L for leather
    M fesym a
    N for
    O for the garden wall
    P for a penny
    Q for hours
    R for Askey
    S for
    T for two
    U for
    V for
    W for
    X for
    Y for heavens sake?
    Z for

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