Don't telemarketers get on your nerves? Personally, I feel
that since this is an unsolicited phone call, I have the right to toy
with the person on the other end, just as I can casually mangle some
piece of unsolicited junk mail.
There are several ways of dealing with telemarketers. The one
below is for those cases when they ask you to spell your name, your
address, or whatever. It's the unhelpful, un-phonetic, nasty spelling
I've tried to compile a list of words whose initial sound does
not correspond to their initial letter (O as in Oedipus, P as in
Phaedra), but I was not always able to do so. In such cases, I have
chosen words according to other strategies:
Obfuscation: pick a word that the 70-IQ, minimum-wage-earning,
QVC-watching troglodyte isn't likely to know (R as in
rallentando). While they're trying to figure out what you said, you've
already moved on to the next letter.
Fakeout: these are short words, usually of the form <generic
consonant><random vowel><mumbled phoneme>. If properly
mumbled, or if the phone connection is sufficiently bad, these can
sound like any number of words (?ee as in ?an (Dan? ban? pan?)).
I hope this works for you. If you have any additions to suggest,
or if any words seem too unambiguous or clear, please
let me know.
A as in...
aye, aisle, aegis, Aesop, aubergine, aesthete
B as in...
bee, burr, bow, bah, bin, bay, bdelloid (or bdellium)
C as in...
ctenoid, czar, chute, cubic
D as in...
dhoti, dough, dirt
E as in...
eye, ewe, ere
F as in...
fro, firth, faun, few
G as in...
gnat, gnu, gnash, genre
H as in...
heir, hauteur, hors d'oeuvres
I as in...
irk, impasse, ingénue
J as in...
K as in...
knight, knot, knap
L as in...
lychee, lugubrious, lei, laity, lav, law
M as in...
N as in...
'neath, noctambulist, nun, nay
O as in...
Oedipus, oesophagus, ouija, one
P as in...
phthisis, phylum, Phaedra, ptomaine, pneumatic, pseud (fans of P.
G. Wodehouse may also wish to add Psmith and