How to Make a Phonic Code

Phonic is a word that refers to sound. This is appropriate, because this code is based on the way you speak! This makes it harder to decipher, because it isn't based on letters like in a simple substitution code. The coolest part is that they're very easy to customize to your own liking.


  1. Image titled Make a Phonic Code Step 1
    Start with a grid. At the top, make five symbols that are very simple, very easy to remember. These will signify the basic sounds for A, E, I, O, and U, which make up the English language.(for the purpose of making this easier, we will use English as our example, but it's not limited; just make sure you put the basic vowel sounds in your grid)
  2. Image titled Make a Phonic Code Step 2
    To the side of your grid, write down all the beginning and ending consonants you know.(hard c, b, h, whatever you can think of; don't forget ñ if you think you may need it)
  3. Image titled Make a Phonic Code Step 3
    Put together your vowel symbols and your consonant symbols together! How this translates is completely up to you. The consonant sound might be the beginning sound,("ta") or the ending sound.("eb") While you're at it, you'll need to make an ending or beginning sound symbol, for those words that end in consonant sounds. You can make a new symbol to add to your five vowel symbols, or you can make your consonant symbols so you can leave them on their own and tell them apart fine. It's up to you.
  4. Image titled Make a Phonic Code Step 4
    If you feel up to it, make a code for numbers too. You can use the standard 10-base everyone does... OR you can make your own set of numbers! Here's how: Choose a base. I'll use base-8 for this, which means I'll have the numbers 0,1,2,3,4,5,6, and 7. After 7 is 10, which actually equals eight. For 9 I have 11, and for 10 I have 12. And when I reach 17, my next number will be twenty, which will actually equal 16. Get it? Just make sure it's 10 or below, unless you want to figure out how to make a base-13 number code.(my first choice)
  5. Image titled Make a Phonic Code Step 5
    Keep your code a secret. Notice how I didn't tell you any specifics about my code? With the exception of the example in step four, this is as one-size-fits-all as I could do! I don't use base-8, either. The main idea is not to go bragging about your oh-so-great-code or showing your grid to anyone you don't want to learn your code. Otherwise, don't bother, 'cause it won't really be a secret, will it?
  6. Image titled Make a Phonic Code Step 6
    Practice your code! This is almost as important as keeping it a secret! You don't want to go back to your cheat-sheet every time you want to write an encrypted message. As with any code,(or a foreign language, hint hint) try to memorize it as best you can. Make sure you're friend knows it too, if this is your friendship code or something. Write a little every day. Think of it as an extracurricular activity if it helps.


  • This is very useful if you don't want someone to read your personal notes or files.
  • You don't necessarily need a special code. It's a gamble , but try learning an obscure language. Go for something people don't normally speak; for example, if you live in, say, San Antonio, don't use Spanish as your secret language, 'cause have the population speaks it as a first language. Try Japanese or Arabic or something. And don't use pig-latin. Everyone-way ows-knay ig-pay atin-lay, so ix-nay. The best part of using a language is that Rosetta stone or someone probably has lessons on it, so it's easier than teaching yourself a code.


  • Please please please don't get caught using a code to pass notes in class! It's one thing passing notes in English, it's another thing when it's in code. The teacher will have no idea what you're saying. I mean, to them a note about how cute Bobby Mylan two seats over is could be anything and everything. If they think you're doing something bad, don't keep the translation from them! Sure, it'll be embarrassing if Bobby is there, but at least you're not in as much trouble. Or you can mix in a fake message with your code, which may get you off the hook. Do something like write every other line with a fake message, and then write the fake message words backwards, and then, if caught, claim the fake message is the real message and vice versa. They may not believe you, but they'll have a hard time proving otherwise.
  • If you're going to share, share with someone trustworthy! Your "very very best friend forever and ever" isn't a good choice if she was someone else's "very very best friend forever and ever" last week before selling them out or something like that. A trustworthy sibling may end up a better choice. Better yet, make up a different code for each of your friends. That way they can't read messages from each other, so if one of them "turns traitor" ;-) it won't necessarily affect your messages to and from your other friends. For example, you can use the same vowel-consonant table scheme, but just mix up the letters differently for each friend's table. If you do that, be sure to keep copies for each code table in a safe place.
  • Try not to make your code too similar to letters or punctuation. Just to avoid confusion.
  • Don't use your code to say nasty things behind people's backs. Someone may catch on, and it's bad if you're caught and the code is translated.

Things You'll Need

  • paper, especially graph paper if you have it
  • a PENCIL and eraser is preferable, unless you don't have a pencil then use whatever you have, e.g. a pen, paint, chalk, etc.
  • a good grasp of the language you're going to use or a small dictionary for those slightly harder words
  • a calculator for translating those base-13 numbers back into base-10

Article Info

Categories: Codes and Hidden Messaging