Letters Spelled Without Themselves

Let­ter Spelling
A eh
B
C see
D
E yi1
F eph
G jee
H
I eye (also “uy” or “aye”)
J zhay
K cay
L
M
N
O eau2
P
Q cue
R
S ehce
T
U yew
V
W dubya3
X ecks
Y wei or wie4
Z xee (See appen­dix.)

Let me know if I missed any­thing.

Appendix: A guide to pronouncing English words starting with X

As we all know, there are no words in the Eng­lish lan­guage start­ing with X. So when encoun­ter­ing such a dan­ger­ous beast (known to the select cadre of sport­ing pro­fes­sion­als who seek them for thrills as “X-words”), it is vital to toss the pro­nun­ci­a­tion rules out the win­dow. It becomes time to free flow it.

Here is a non-exhaus­tive guide to some of the bet­ter researched words start­ing with X, for those acolytes of Eng­lish who need a few steady footholds on their jour­ney towards becom­ing the mas­ters of X.

Xenon: JOY-nahn
Xena: THEE-nah
XOR: ECKS-clue-sieve ORE
Ximenez: <GARGLING SOUND>EH-men-neth
Xeno­phobe: “so but like real­ly, where lit­er­al­ly are you actu­al­ly from, orig­i­nal­ly?”
Xo: any of, or vari­ants on

  • ho
  • joe
  • so
  • show
  • shall
  • zao
  • extra old
  • jao
  • drao
  • zhao5
  • “how do you say your name?”
  • eck­so
  • ecks-oh
  • КСO6—sounds like “k-so”
  • hug and kiss7

Remem­ber, the­se are sim­ply guide­li­nes, not hard-and-fast rules; flu­ent speak­ers know to inter­pret them as they please based on gut feel­ings, pulling addi­tion­al phonemes from their bot­toms as need­ed to bat­tle some of the more mon­strous among this list. This is a cru­cial skill drilled over and over again with words from lists like this one until the Eng­lish prac­ti­tion­er is com­fort­able con­quer­ing even X-words nev­er yet seen in the Anglos­phere.

  1. Arguable since nor­mal­ly you’d say “e” from a closed glot­tis but “yi” from an open glot­tis. []
  2. The whole point of this exer­cise is to abuse the lan­guage, so give me a break. []
  3. Fine; “dubyu.” []
  4. On the hope that you pro­nounce “ei” or “ie” as aɪ (aye); if your “ei” is eɪ and your “ie” is iː then you’ll end up say­ing “way” and “whee.” Y is sim­ply a much more reli­able vow­el for this sound than any of AEIOU, and so it accepts no sub­sti­tutes. Also if you’ve seen piny­in or speak Ger­man then “wei” or “wie” just look wrong here. []
  5. Real­ly stress that ʒ; I don’t even know where we got that “zh” sounds like it’s in “beige seizure equa­tion”; I don’t know any Roman­iza­tion that uses that. []
  6. Yes, that’s Cyril­lic. []
  7. Because XOXO would be plu­ral. []