The International Phonetic Alphabet

by Ozzie Osband, n4scy@amsat.org

I once had a "day job" as a Directory Assistance opertor, and found it useful to know the International Phonetic Alphabet. It makes use of words that are not necessarily English in origin (Tango from Argentina, and Zulu from Africa for example), and the pronunciations given lean towards people who do not use English as their native language. Emphasis should be put on the indicated syllables.

While many Veterans in the group will recognize this as the "Military Phonetic Alphabet", it was originally issued by the International Civil Aviation Organization, the United Nations specialized agency that coordinates aviation standards around the world. This phonetic alphabet has also been adopted by another UN specialized agency, the International Telecommunications Union, which sets standards (called Reccommendations) for telephone and radio communications around the world.

Phonetics are wonderful for spelling out words over telephone and radio circuits where it's easy to mistake an F for an S, among other things. "I'm spelling that S as in Sierra, A as in Alfa... "

It is my opinion that World Class Representatives in a World Class Call Center should know how to use terms that are reccognized around the world.

A ALFA (AL FAH) N NOVEMBER (NO VEM BER) Number Pronunciations
B BRAVO (BRAH VOH) O OSCAR (OSS CAH) 1 Won
C CHARLIE (CHAR LEE) P PAPA (PAH PAH) 2 Too
D DELTA (DELL TAH) Q QUEBEC (KEH BECK) 3 Tree
E ECHO (ECK OH) R ROMEO (ROW ME OH) 4 Fower
F FOXTROT (FOKS TROT) S SIERRA (SEE AIR RAH) 5 Fife
G GOLF (GOLF) T TANGO (TANG GO) 6 Six
H HOTEL (HOH TELL) U UNIFORM (YOU NEE FORM) 7 Seven
I INDIA (IN DEE AH) V VICTOR (VIK TAH) 8 Ait
J JULIETT (JEW LEE ETT) W WHISKEY (WISS KEY) 9 Nine er
K KILO (KEY LOH) X X-RAY (ECKS RAY) 0 Zay Row
L LIMA (LEE MAH) Y YANKEE (YANG KEY) . De Si Mal
M MIKE (MIKE) Z ZULU (ZOO LOO)