In these days of having to do everything over the phone rather than by letter, the military phonetic alphabet is ever more useful. I'm practiced at it now so that when I have to spell out the difficult part of my surname I'm quite fluent at reeling off hotel – oscar – whiskey – alpha – romeo - tango - hotel.
There are people, though, who have come up with suggestions for an unhelpful alphabet – no doubt to confuse folks who already find English spelling and pronunciation impossible. Or even to discombobulate those annoying telesales people.
It might go something like this.
A as in aitch or are
B as in lamb (a bit of a cheat, I agree) but who has heard of bdellium?
C as in cue
D as in Djibouti or double-you
E as in elbow or ex or euphemism
F is for for
G as in gnome or gene
H as in hour
I as in eye
J as in José or – better - jalapeño
K as in know
L as in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch
M as in Mnemonic
N as in Nkumba University
O as in one or oesophagus
P as in psychology
Q as in Quran or cucumber
R as in wrong
S as in Sinn Fein
T as in tsar or I’d prefer tsingy
U as in U-bend but not Uyghur
V as in five
W as in why or even wrong
X as in xylophone
Y as in you
Z as in zwitterions
So I might spell out my name as
– wrong, no not wrong, WRONG; well W as in why, then; no not Y, why
– aitch, no not H: aitch, A as in aitch
– wrong, no not W as in wrong but R making the sound as in wrong
– tsingy, what you’ve never heard of tsingy? Haven’t you read Lemurs of the Lost World?.
Confused? So am I.