As a counterpoint to the phonetic alphabet which exists to make communication clearer, I would like to develop the un-phonetic alphabet in order to increase confusion. I am looking for words beginning with silent letters, one for each letter of the alphabet (‘m’ as in mnemonic, ‘p’ as in psychology, ‘x’ as in xenophobic, etc) Do 26 such words exist?
A = aesthetic
C = czar (similarly, tsar for T)
G = gnome
K = know
S = any “sh” word – or is that too close to how S is pronounced?
H = honorary
I = I Ching
J = Jalapeno
T = This
O = Ouija
D as in djinni
H as in herb
That only works in some dialects of English: better is:
H as in hour
B as in dumb
N as in damn
For maximum confusion:
G as in Ghadafi
K as in Kaddafi
Q as in Quadaffi
W as in Whom
X as in Xylophone
Y as in Ypsilanti
The OP specified the word has to *start * with a silent letter.
B as in bdellium
Can’t think of an N yet.
M as in mnemonic
P as in psychology
The last name Nguyen for N, maybe?
yeah, but with your username, I would have let you be the one who’s allowed to cheat a little.
Several of those aren’t silent letters.
T as in tmesis (by one accepted pronunciation, anyhow)
E as in eiderdown
Also how is the x is “xylophone” or “xenophobic” silent? It is voiced, as a Z sound. A quick skim through the X section of my direction shows no “silent X” words.
Ah, so I missed the “silent” part.
People goof up letters all the time. I had a user call me a while back and she couldn’t sort out her own name:
I asked: M as in Mary?
M as in Kathleen?
No, my first name is Kathleen.
No, no… Is the last letter of your ID M?
Yes, my middle name is Mary.
I love to do this with my brother:
When I talk to him on the phone and want to spell out something I will use words with silent letters.
The model number you want to buy is “P” as in “Phoebe”, “C” as in “Cue”, “G” as in “gnome”
Hah! But he’s a good sport about it.
P as in Phoenix.
Not silent, but sure as hell does not sound like a P
P - pneumonia
So, for you, “cue” and “you” are homonyms?
B as in ‘banana’. Well, no, the B isn’t silent, but it is a confusing word (for second-graders to spell) - and better yet, it’s a silly word.
I doubt that there are any words that start with a silent B (doubtless we could come up with many that have silent Bs in them).
On review, bdellium - sure, okay.
Most of the letters in the surname Featherstonehaugh are silent or pronounced intuitively (if you hear the name spoken, it’s ‘Fanshaw’).
G (and H, I guess) as in Eight