NATO phonetic alphabet
The International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet is the most widely used radiotelephone spelling alphabet. It is unrelated to phonetic transcription systems such as the International Phonetic Alphabet. The 26 code words in the spelling alphabet are assigned to the 26 letters of the English alphabet.
About NATO phonetic alphabet in brief
The International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet is the most widely used radiotelephone spelling alphabet. It is unrelated to phonetic transcription systems such as the International Phonetic Alphabet. The 26 code words in the spelling alphabet are assigned to the 26 letters of the English alphabet in alphabetical order as follows: Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliett, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whiskey, X-ray, Yankee, Zulu. NATO uses the regular English numeric words, whereas the ITU and the IMO define compound numeric words. In practice these are used very rarely, as they frequently result in confusion between speakers of different languages. Most major airlines use the alphabet to communicate passenger name records internally, and in some cases, with customers. During the Vietnam War, the U.S. government referred to the Viet Cong guerrillas and the group itself as Victor Charlie; the name became synonymous with this force. The final choice of words for the letters and digits was made after hundreds of thousands of comprehension tests involving 31 nationalities. The qualifying feature was the likelihood of a code word being understood in the context of the language of the speaker. For example, foxtrot is superior in isolation, but in extended communication it has a superior chance of being understood by the speaker according to the pronunciation of the code word.
The code words are used by all agencies, but each agency chooses one of two different sets of numeric code words. It has been used often by information technology workers to communicate serial or reference codes or other specialised information by voice. For instance, the message \”proceed to map grid DH98\” could be transmitted as ‘proceeding to map Delta-Hotel-Niner-Ait’ or ‘progressing to the next grid’. The spelling alphabet is used to spell parts of a message containing letters and numbers to avoid confusion, because many letters sound similar, for instance ‘n’ and ‘m’, ‘f’ and ’s’; the potential for confusion increases if static or other interference is present. The unusual pronunciation of certain numbers was designed to reduce confusion as well. In addition to the traditional military usage, civilian industry uses the Alphabet to avoid similar problems in the transmission of messages by telephone systems. It is often used in the retail industry where customer or site details are spoken by telephone, although ad-hoc coding is often use in that instance. The alphabet is also used in a medical context as well, to avoid confused when transmitting information. Several letter codes and abbreviations using the spelling Alphabet have become well-known, such as Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin, Zulus, Zulul, Zuzul and Zulu Mean Time or Greenwich Mean Time.