Confusing Alphabet

My new daughter is currently too young to learn her alphabet (10 months), but it won’t be long and I was thinking about putting one of those alphabets up in her room where there’s a little picture of something for each letter.

My brother-in-law (Iain Anderson) and has been collecting the basis for a nonsense alphabet – a set of words for a children’s alphabet board that would really mess up my daughter’s education if I pinned them up in her room! Below is my slightly improved set [EDIT March 2011: now including some commenters’ suggestions]

  • A for Aitch *
  • B for Bdellium †
  • C for Cue * / Czar †
  • D for Double-U *
  • E for Ewe *
  • F for Ghoti ◊ [thanks Greg!] / Fillip §  [thanks Nobf!] / Vescent ¤ [thanks David!]
  • G for Gnome †
  • H for Hour †
  • I for One ‡
  • J for Juan ◊
  • K for Knight †  (or even the double-meaning “K as in Knew” †*)
  • L for Llandudno ◊ / Fifty ‡
  • M for Mnemonic † / Thousand ‡
  • N for Entropy ¤
  • O for Ouija ◊
  • P for Psalm †
  • Q for Quay ◊
  • R for C Clark ¤ [thanks David!] / Arson ¤ [thanks Seven!]
  • S for Sea *
  • T for Tchaikovsky †
  • U for Youth ¤  [thanks Seven!]
  • V for Five ‡
  • W for Why *
  • X for Ten ‡ / Xylophone/Xanadu ◊
  • Y for You *
  • Z for Zori §  [thanks Nobf!]

I’ve indicated why it’s in with a category, as shown below in decreasing order of how much I prefer them…

* – sounds like or is another letter word
† – silent initial letter
‡ – roman number
◊ – unusual initial sound
§ – sounds like another (more common) word with similar pronunciation
¤ – word starts with the sound of the letter word

If you can think of any better ones (ideally using one of the same tricks this list uses) please post a comment with your suggestion!

13 thoughts on “Confusing Alphabet

    1. It took me 2 days to get this. “effervescent” – awesome. Arthur Negus is a bit obscure for me to understand without a visit to Wikipedia – how about “R for C. Clarke”?


  1. F is for any ‘ph’ word. ‘phone’, ‘philadelphia’, ‘pharmaceuticals’…
    N is for ‘anything’, ‘entropy’
    R is for ‘argument’, ‘arson’
    U is for ‘youth’,
    Z is for xenophobia, xylophone etc.


  2. A as in Are
    C as in Czar
    F as in Fillip
    G as in Gnu
    K as in Knew (sounds like “U” if said quickly – advanced toddlers may appreciate this)
    N as in Nickers
    R as in Rote
    U as in Uhu
    Z as in Zori (a Japanese sandal)
    Ware as in Hertfordshire.


  3. Cool! Not sure I’m following any of the rules, but off the top of my head:

    E is for 8
    W is for Who
    G is for Giant
    O is for 1 (a bit obscure!)
    E is for F

    I think it works well as a bit of fun, but there is also potentially a serious learning opportunity – a way of remembering all the things that might trip you up when reading or writing english. I wonder how it would compare to, or overlap with, to a list of ‘exceptions to the rule’?


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