Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Well, there have been several thoughts and questions related to the New Phonetic Alphabet (NPA). So I've decided to set aside the normal course of events, and take a side-trip through the NPA.

We'll consider two of those elements:
• J for oranges
• K for John

First, it will help you if you understand British accents, which are quite different from Canadian and American. (The NPA is a British construction.)

Second, if you really want to understand these bits, it's best to pronounce them aloud.


J for oranges. When pronounced, the first part sounds "Jayfer." Jayfer is close in pronunciation to "Jaffa"; thus J for oranges become Jaffa oranges.

K for John. Again, when pronounced, it sounds like Kayfir. The Kafir are a tribe of people who have historically inhabited the Hindu Kush mountains, in what is now north-eastern Afghanistan. So, one of those tribal people could be K for John, meaning Kafir John (if his name were John).

See how absolutely simple this is?

Hmmmm. I sense that you're still struggling.

Well. Here are a few more examples for YOU to try.
A for 'orses
B for mutton
C for the Highlanders
D for ential
E for brick
F for vescent

Please let me know how you get along with those. (I should have a prize for the best answers, but nothing comes to mind at this moment.)

Yes, yes; I know. Only Bear would do something like this.


Anonymous said...

My dear Mr.Bear,I'm lost!

Amanda Summer said...

I for an eye

Amanda Summer said...

U for got

The Bipolar Diva said...

I'm so lost, but I ♥ you.

The Blog Fodder said...

O for God's sake.

Rob-bear said...

AH, FRIENDS! This is just delightful. Such intrepid spirits you are. Well done!

Dedine and Diva: please don't give up! Go with the flow, and you may succeed!

Nobody has come to an understanding of the for the first six letters, but there have been some other excellent responses.

Amanda actually is closest — what she has for "U" is actually the proper wording (more or less) for the letter "I." Perhaps your Greek skills and sensitivities, Amanda, can lead the rest to the "Ithaka" of this challenge.

The Blog Fodder has caught on to the gist of the NPA. I would suggest you go back to the six I've laid out for you, and see what you can do with them, BF. You're doing very well.

Bash on irregardless, friends. You're superb souls for taking on the challenge!

Rob-bear said...

BTW; if you're still having problems, I'll give you more clues. (You're not a clueless bunch; I'm sure once you catch on, you'll have lots of fun.)

Lee said...

L for Romeo?

Rob-bear said...

® Lee: Actually, it's L for leather; that's coming up next. But it's more complicated that it seems.

Amanda Summer said...

K for Sutherland

Anonymous said...

Oh look! A chicken!!!

Rob-bear said...

® Amanda: I don't think Kiefer is a Kafir. He was born in Britain of well-known Canadian parents, folks with Scottish ancestry.

® dana: Is the chicken crossing the road? If so, why?

Maggie Christie said...

D for Dog (I once knew someone with a dog called Deefer).

How about I B for E (except after C)?

O for pity's sake (following on from blogfodder)