Baxil (baxil) wrote,

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Silent English

You've all heard the joke about the man who signed in at a hotel "Mr. Ghoti" and pronounced his name "fish," right? "Gh" as in "enough," "o" as in "women," and "ti" as in "motion."

I've been wondering for a long, long time if it's possible to assemble a "Silent Alphabet" -- use the same selective pronunciation to find dark corners in the language where the absence of virtually any letter goes unnoticed.

A few quick examples:
   n as in damn ["dam" is pronounced the same]
   w as in sword ["sord" isn't a word, but if it were, you'd pronounce it the same way, per "sore" and "sort"]

Shrinking of double letters (such as in "fillet," the verb, and "filet," the noun) seems too cheap to me to count. Unambiguous silence would be preferable for vowels (is the "o" silent in "unambiguous"? I'd rather find a word where the word with its absence is also proper English). Beyond that ... have fun, and help me out.

Letters still needed: f, (i), j, q, v, y

a (cloak, bread),
e (axe, thistle, etc., etc.),
o (people, leopard),
u (fourth, colour).
"Straight" has been suggested for i; anything more elegant about?

Consonants found (feel free to suggest more elegant words!):
b (dumb, debt),
c (indict, scissors),
d (djinni),
g (gnome, impugn, balogna),
h (hour, ghost, charisma),
k (knight, knife),
l (should, walk?),
m (mnemonic),
n (damn),
p (psychic, pterodactyl),
r (February),
s (hors d'oeuvres),
t (often, fillet, thistle),
w (two, sword),
x (Bordeaux),
z (laissez-faire)

(Multiple-letter combinations also found: gh (straight), ps (corps), ch (yacht), rche (the town of Worchester), ueue (queue))

Tags: riddles, wordplay

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