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A Phonetic Alphabet for the Information Age

What Is PiRho?

PiRho is an intuitive quasi-phonetic alphabet that was developed as an alternative to the convoluted rules of English spelling. PiRho has many attractive features that can be applied in a variety of situations. Unlike some phonetic alphabets, PiRho uses the existing letters of the English alphabet. This means that PiRho is easy to learn, and it is compatible with existing hardware and software.

Since PiRho is phonetic, it permits the expression of specific pronunciations. PiRho makes reading and writing more intuitive, thereby increasing literacy among people who might otherwise be discouraged by the cryptic rules of English spelling. PiRho text can be translated directly into synthesized speech without complex pronunciation algorithms or dictionaries. PiRho simplifies the spelling of many words, so PiRho documents require fewer resources for storage and transmission.

Pronunciation Guide

PiRho uses both upper and lower case letters to represent sounds in the English language. The upper and lower case forms of a particular letter generally represent alternate sounds that are already associated with that letter. For vowels, upper case letters represent long vowel sounds, while lower case letters represent short vowel sounds. For consonants, upper case letters represent hard consonant sounds, while lower case letters represent soft consonant sounds. You may find this information helpful as you learn the PiRho alphabet.

The following table lists the letters of the PiRho alphabet along with some sample words. A portion of each word is highlighted in bold to indicate the sound of the corresponding PiRho letter. The sample words have been selected to illustrate the inconsistencies in English spelling that PiRho will eliminate. Some lower case letters are currently undefined.

A date mail gauge lay steak reign prey a tan plaid half laugh
B bank rabbit b undefined
C chat match righteous picture c undefined
D dog puddle hauled d undefined
E gene tree meal seize people key ravine thief e pen said many head heifer leopard friend
F food ruffle phantom cough f undefined
G gum beggar ghost guest finger g thing stinger
H hand who h undefined
I mine dye fry lie night trial aisle guile buy i win been pretty sieve women busy guilty
J jump wedge module page exaggerate j undefined
K kind cat accuse chord pack acquire k undefined
L lump pillar l undefined
M milk thumb column phlegm commit m undefined
N nest knee tunnel mnemonic pneumonia n sing think
O pole soap bowl dough sew glow chateau soul o lot fall lawn broad caught
P pan apple p undefined
Q owl count doubt q boy foil
R ring wrap merry rhyme r undefined
S seed scent mice pass city psyche s ship mission sure chiffon ocean station
T table battle slipped t undefined
U food move group flute due fruit brew u run flood some does
V vase of river v undefined
W water queen w book put wolf could
X think path x there bathe
Y yellow onion y undefined
Z zip fuzzy was scissors xenon z measure seizure rouge vision


The following table lists some examples of PiRho spelling. Each row of the table features a conventional English sentence and its PiRho equivalent. For more PiRho examples, see the PiRho Stories page.

That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. xaTS WuN SMoL STeP FOR MaN, WuN JIuNT LEP FOR MaNKIND.
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. xE ONLE Xing WE HaV TU FER iZ FER iTSeLF.
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. xu KWiK BRQN FoKS JuMPS OVuR xu LAZE DoG.

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