I'm looking for terms that describe easily recognizable spoken words. I think this could be in phonology/phonetics but I'm unsure where in particular as I have no formal background.
I apologize if this isn't the right stack-exchange for the following question. Just let me know which might be better and I'll migrate it there.
If a field of study exists that looks into this, I would be grateful for its name and a short layman summary of it.
For example, I believe that the NATO phonetic alphabet was intended to be a list of easily auditorily recognizable spoken words when created. Even if it was not, I would be interested in what auditory/phonetic principles would guide the creation of a list similar to the NATO phonetic alphabet.
While researching this concept I found auditory phonetics in linguistics, but I'm fairly particular to the English language and I lack a linguistics background so I'm unsure if investing time there would be economical. Similarly, I've also browsed the English phonology wiki article but didn't see the area I was looking for. If this falls into auditory phonetics or another technical field, a quick survey level explanation for the layman would be much appreciated.
I would also be interested in the layman reasoning behind the particular words choices for the NATO alphabet or other similar alphabets. As an example, the wikipedia article cites football as a recognizable word in isolation but not as recognizable as foxtrot when in a group of words. An explanation of why this is or what study was conducted to conclude this would be great.
Are there other list of words that are easily recognized or understood auditorily? I'm specifically looking for lists that have an explanation as to why the composition of their words are recognizable or follow some well known principle/algorithm if it exists. If possible, a general list of such words or some algorithm to determine whether a word would belong to such a list (via phonetics/phonology or some other field) would be great.
The big idea is that I want to understand what makes a list like NATO phonetically good. The fact that both parties know the alphabet provides context, but I'm more interested in the phonetics/sounds that make the words less ambiguous when spoken. In weasel words: What words are "fairly" recognizable in "most" contexts. I'm hoping that the related field quantifies these weasel words in some way.
I would be particularly interested in a principle or a set of principles for forming lists of words that are more likely to be clearly distinguishable in noisy conditions.
EDIT: Perhaps a better phrasing of what I mean: In general, what makes an English word easier to recognize/hear/pick out of the background when spoken aloud when compared with other English words? I was hoping a "field" exists (or a set of vocabulary terms) that would list the components to this answer: say the hardness of the pronunciation, the tone of the word spoken, the consonants used, or some other characteristic that fits within the domain of written English and its associated phonetics. If I defined a set of such words, how would I choose what goes into this set? An example of a made up term and its made up definition:
widgety -- this expresses a word that has a hard consonant followed by nasal inflection that can be recognized over a large range of audible frequencies...
The question I'm asking is whether such a field exists, what are its terms/vocabulary or its jargon, and how do I apply it? Lacking a firm answer, what are examples of list of words that were seemingly chosen for their ability to be used in noisy environments? Of course if the field does exist an answer to this might be too long for a stack exchange post, so some reference material to the theory behind "easily recognizable spoken words" would be just fine.
Perhaps a final edit: I'm guessing that if the field I'm looking for exists then it's very niche from the English language perspective. My guess is that the concepts I'm describing are studied more closely in other fields like computational linguistics, voice recognition, audiology, acoustics, information theory and/or signal processing. If you happen to have a great reference into that field for the English language then please post, otherwise I'll accept the answer with the most up-votes.