Use the Phonetic Alphabet

Every once in a while I get frustrated trying to figure out whether someone said “t” or “d” or “p” while spelling out a word. So as a public service, I urge people to learn the phonetic alphabet. It makes life easier — and on top of that it is very very cool to spell words quickly. My name for instance is spelled as “alpha tango alpha november uniform.”

Letter Word Pronunciation
A ALPHA AL fah
B BRAVO BRAH voh
C CHARLIE CHAR lee
D DELTA DELL tah
E ECHO ECk oh
F FOXTROT FOKS trot
G GOLF GOLF
H HOTEL HOH tell
I INDIA IN dee AH
J JULIETT JEW lee ETT
K KILO KEY loh
L LIMA LEE mah
M MIKE MIKE
N NOVEMBER NO vem BER
O OSCAR OSS car
P PAPA PAH pah
Q QUEBEC KWEE beck
R ROMEO ROW me OH
S SIERRA SEE air RAH
T TANGO TANG go
U UNIFORM YOU nee FORM
V VICTOR VIK tah
W WHISKEY WISS kee
X X-RAY ECKS ray
Y YANKEY YANG kee
Z ZULU ZOO loo

Author: Atanu Dey

Economist.

4 thoughts on “Use the Phonetic Alphabet”

  1. Indians living outside India are adept at this because most people are not accustomed to desi names. Even the most common ones. Of course barring Sonia, Nikita, Jay etc! Necessity is the mother of…adoption!

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  2. I was looking for some Indian words to go with each alphabet because many Indians are not familiar with foreign words like Yankey and Quebec. I think a complete list of names of places in India corresponding to each alphabet would be helpful, like K for Kolkata and B for Bengaluru.

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    1. “The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) alphabet assigned codewords acrophonically to the letters of the English alphabet, so that critical combinations of letters and numbers are most likely to be pronounced and understood by those who exchange voice messages by radio or telephone, regardless of language differences or the quality of the communication channel.”

      The above is from the wiki article. It’s an international convention. For communications among people of various regions of the world. If every nation/linguistic group had its own way, then it does not solve the problem that it is meant to address. So instead of spelling “Atanu” as “alfa tango alfa november uniform” the Indians said “Agra Tatanagar Agra Nagpur Uttarkhand” it would confuse rather than clarify.

      Basically, it’s a stupid idea.

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      1. most countries in europe do have their own method though (for their own languages anyhow).
        In the Netherlands we use personal names, in spain they tend to use countries etc.
        Most people here do not know the full ICAO alphabet for english and just make up words. m for mother, b for ball etc.

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