Homophones of letters of the Alphabet
February 16, 2019
My children and I were talking today about letters of the alphabet and how some of them are pronounced the same as words in the English language. We tried to list all the homophones we could think of for each letter of the alphabet, and it was interesting just how many there are.
Looking into this further, there's a way of using google to find all homophones. each letter of the alphabet in a given dictionary should have an IPA pronunciation guide:
For example, the IPA pronunciation of "pronunciation" is "prəˌnʌnsiˈeɪʃn". It's pretty hard to read these IPA guides, even after reading the rules (opens new window).
However, once we've found the IPA pronunciation of each letter of the alphabet, we can search for this string. And with google site search, we can restrict the search to our chosen dictionary.
One of the problems with this approach is that for some words, the accepted IPA pronunciation is different for words that appear to sound the same. For example, the letter T has the homophones tea and tee. However, here are the IPA pronunciations for each of these words:
As you can see, these are subtly different pronunciations.
We can now search for these pronunciations on Wiktionary, but it turns out that there's an easier way of doing this. Each Wiktionary page lists homophones under the English Pronunciation section for each word. Unfortunately, though, this list of homophones is not exhaustive. The ones in italics below are not on Wiktonary, so it looks like I have some editing to do!
Here, some of it figured out by three young girls in a car, some cribbed from Wiktionary and some from google searches, is a list of homophones for each letter of the alphabet: