Saturday, 18 March 2017

An Alternative Phonetic Alphabet

As a Geordie, when I speak to people on the phone they often confuse my 'A's with my 'E's, so when spelling words verbally I often have to use the phonetic alphabet.  The offical phonetic alphabet is very formal and efficient, but it's also quite boring, so just to confuse people, it's fun to use alternative words that sound like letters themselves, and say things like...

E for Eye  (E for I)
Y for You  (Y for U)
S for See  (S for C)
A for Aye  (A for I)
E for Ewe  (E for U)

It's also fun to confuse people altogether with silent letters and unusual pronunciations such as...

P for Pterodactyl
K for Knowledge
W for Wrinkle
P for Phonetic
G for Gnome

Here's an alternative phonetic alphabet (featuring misleadingly pronounced words) that me and a few work colleagues came up with during one of our breaks (and definitely not when we were supposed to be working).

I'm sure some of the following words, such as bdelloidea, uivigar, and Vsevolod, for example, will be familiar to most people.  However, some of the more obscure words may be a little more unfamiliar, so I've also included descriptions and pronounciations of each word...

A for Aural - Pronounced 'oral'.
I explained what aural meant to my mate, but it just went in one ear and out the other.

Mmm... Fudge muffin!
B for Bdelloidea - Pronounced with a silent B, i.e. 'delloidea'.
Microscopic bugs that live in freshwater.

C for Czar - Pronounced with a silent C, i.e. 'zar'.
The emperor of Russia in the olden days.

D for Djibouti - Pronounced with a silent D, i.e. 'jibouti'.
An African country, and also the name of Djibouti's unimaginatively named capital city.

E for Euphoria - Pronounced with a silent E, i.e. 'U-phoria'.
If you're cool like me you might know this is a compilation dance album, but for everyone else it's a feeling of intense happiness.

F for Fudgemuffin! - Pronounced 'Fudge-Muffin'.
I couldn't think of a word for 'F' with a misleading pronunciation, so I went for my surname!  If you forget the name, just think of a muffin made of fudge! 

G for Gnome - Pronounced with a silent G, i.e. 'nome'.
Small cheerful creatures who live in the garden and wear silly hats.

H for Honest - Pronounced with a silent H, i.e. 'onest'.
A common attribute of most politicians.

I for Ian - Pronounced with an E sound, i.e. 'E-an'.
First name of Ian McKellen.  Also the first name of Ian Botham.  However, not the first name of Bruce Willis.  His first name is Walter.

"Knock! Knock!"
J for Juan - Pronounced 'hwan'.
The Spanish version of John.

K for Knock - Pronounced with a silent K, i.e. 'nock'.
Half the opening line of a popular joke.  Also the second half of the opening line of a popular joke.

L for Llandudno - I'm a daft unilingual English person, so I'm not going to even attempt to explain how this is pronounced, other than to say that the correct pronunciation doesn't start with an L.
A Welsh town which uneducated English people like myself pronounce incorrectly.

M for Mnemonic - Pronounced with a silent M, i.e. 'nemonic'.
Now what does mnemonic mean again?  It's...  Oh, I can't remember.

N for Ngwee - Pronounced with a silent N, i.e. 'gwee'.
A unit of currency in Zambia.  Equal to one hundredth of a kwacha.

O for One - Pronounced with a W, i.e. 'w-on'.
A song by U2.  Also a number.

P for Pneumonia - Pronounced with a silent P, i.e. 'neumonia'.
Man flu.

Q for Qatar - Pronounced with a hard C, i.e. 'Ka-ta', or 'Ka-tar'.
A country with a great footballing heritage who definitely won the 2022 World Cup on merit. #irony

It's not just humans who see with their eyes.
Cats do as well!
R for Rzeszow - Pronounced as a cross between 'Shess-off' and 'Jess-off'.
A city in Poland.

S for See - Pronounced like the letter C.
What you do with your eyes.

T for Tchaikovsky - 'Pronounced with a silent T, i.e. 'Chaikovsky'.
Composer of many famous symphonies, including Symphony No.1, Symphony No.4, and of course, Symphony No.6.

U for Uivigar - This is an old Scottish word, and as already mentioned I'm a daft unilingual English person...
A Scottish word for sea urchin.  Also used to refer to untidiness, especially of the hair.

V for Vsevolod - Pronounced with a silent V, i.e. 'Sevolod'.
A Slavic male name.

W for Wrong - Pronounced with a silent W, i.e. 'rong'.
See my description for H.

Worth 24 points in Scrabble!
X for Xylophone - Pronounced with a Z, i.e. 'zylophone'.
A wooden musical instrument, and a high points score in Scrabble.

Y for Yvonne - Pronounced with an I, i.e. 'i-von'.
Woman's name especially popular in the 50s and 60s.

Z for Zhivago - Pronounced with a Sh, i.e. 'Shi-var-go'.
A doctor in a famous book.

Apologies for any pronunciations I got wrong*.  Feel free to leave a comment and correct me!

* Pronounced 'rong'.

Footnote: Come back again next week to find out what mnemonic actually means!  Or alternatively, just Google it.

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About The Author

The 'How To Save The World' books
by Charles Fudgemuffin
Charles Fudgemuffin is the author of the alien comedy 'How To Save The World' books which are available for Kindle from Amazon.  The first book in the series is available from the following link:
How To Save The World: An Alien Comedy

As with all Kindle books, you can also download a free sample of the first few chapters.

Please note, the 'How To Save The World' books contain material suitable for ages 18+ and are not recommended for prudes or squares.