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UER Forum > UE Encyclopedia > Phonetic Alphabet (Viewed 4616 times)
Entry: Phonetic Alphabet
originally posted by Dark Shadow

[last edit 4/30/2007 6:17 AM by Soldat - edited 3 times]

Phonetic Alphabet - Any of various systems of code words for identifying letters in voice communication.

Eg: Alfa, bravo, charlie, delta, echo, foxtrot,


MacGyver adds:

Isn't it a pain to have to repeat yourself and take great lengths to enunciate letters when spelling something over a radio or telephone? Use the phonetic alphabet and get it through on the first try.

The phonetic alphabet most used today was developed in the 1950s by NATO. It uses words that were carefully chosen to provide the least chance of mishearing a word for a similar-sounding one (eg. using tree for T and bee for B could cause confusion).

The most common version of the phonetic alphabet used before the NATO version was standardized by the US military. It is the classic "able baker charlie" version that everyone who fought in WWI/II still swears by.

NATO Phonetic Alphabet:
A - Alpha
B - Bravo
C - Charlie
D - Delta
E - Echo
F - Foxtrot
G - Golf
H - Hotel
I - India
J - Juliet
K - Kilo
L - Lima
M - Mike
N - November
O - Oscar
P - Papa
Q - Quebec
R - Romeo
S - Sierra
T - Tango
U - Uniform
V - Victor
W - Whiskey
X - X-ray
Y - Yankee
Z - Zulu

The NATO alphabet also specifies particular ways for speaking numbers. Most are simply a more enunciated or simplified representation of the english word, but the number nine is a special case. When spoken over a radio, "nine" begins to sound a lot like "five" (try it; mumble it a little and you'll see). Also, in German, the word "nein" means "no". For these reasons, nine is pronounced "niner" to make sure the intent is clear. Using this in everyday life can make you sound like a pilot or a poser.

1 - Wun
2 - Two
3 - Tree
4 - Fo-wer
5 - Five
6 - Six
7 - Seven
8 - Ait
9 - Niner (see note above)
0 - Zee-roh (pronounce first syllable like "bee")

Just for kicks, here is the old US military alphabet (pre-1954):
Able Baker Charlie Dog Easy Fox George How Item Jig King Love Mike Nan Oboe Peter Queen Roger Sugar Tare Uncle Victor William X-ray Yoke Zebra

For more kicks here is the British alphabet from 1942-43
Apple Beer Charlie Dog Edward Freddy George Harry In Jug/Johnny King Love Mother Nuts Orange Peter Queen Roger/Robert Sugar Tommy Uncle Vic William X-Ray Yoke/Yorker Zebra
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UER Forum > UE Encyclopedia > Phonetic Alphabet (Viewed 4616 times)


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