I'll admit, my primary motivation for posting this was a hope that jtauber would have something to say about it.
I had a similar thought for a start, but not for English. Ideally you'd find a word list with the most phonemic spelling you could find. That's one of the reasons that I thought of Yiddish, whose Romanization (YIVO) is very regular and reflective of its phonology. You'd have to come up with some mildly sophisticated rules for a lexer that crawls the words and builds syllables—mostly for building diphthongs and consonant clusters—but nothing too hairy.