Have you every tried to spell your name out to someone over the telephone? How about give your loan officer the VIN of your car? The phonetic differences between B, C, D and E are pretty small when they’re mixed in with a bunch of different letters and numbers.

Thankfully the military has had a solution for this for a number of years. If you’ve ever heard a report on a police radio or at least watched a military film, you’ve probably noticed the use of words in replace of letters. Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo and so on. This is called the NATO alphabet and the final version we know today was implemented in 1956.

The first alphabet – or “able baker” – dates back to 1927 and was specifically used by pilots and naval captains to be able to communicate clearly over “messy” radio frequencies. This is how it read.

Amsterdam

Baltimore

Casablanca

Denmark

Edison

Florida

Gallipoli

Havana

Italia

Jerusalem

Kilogramme

Liverpool

Madagascar

New York

Oslo

Paris

Quebec

Roma

Santiago

Tripoli

Upsala

Valencia

Washington

Xanthippe

Yokohama

Zurich

The problem with this first alphabet and other subsequent alphabets was that many of the sounds and word were unique to the English language. International law dictates that English must be used when two ships from different countries are communicating with each other in international waters; even if neither ship is from an English speaking country. The International Air Transport Association made revisions to the existing alphabet and implemented sounds common in English, French and Spanish in 1951. This is how their alphabet looked.

Alfa

Bravo

Coca

Delta

Echo

Foxtrot

Golf

Hotel

India

Juliett

Kilo

Lima

Metro

Nectar

Oscar

Papa

Quebec

Romeo

Sierra

Tango

Union

Victor

Whisky

Extra

Yankee

Zulu



However, there were immediate problems with the list, and some felt they were so much, that they returned to the original “able baker” alphabet. To identify and resolve the problems with the alphabet, tests were conducted in 31 separate nations. Some words like Delta and Nectar can be confusing in languages like Spanish, and other words posed problems in other languages. After a lot of study only five words were replaced. These replaced the letters C, M, N, U and X. The final version was implemented in 1956. Different spellings can be found in different countries, but the phonetics are the same. The current alphabet reads like this.



So what’s the big deal? It’s not like I’m saying you’re a bad citizen if you can’t use these words instead of their letters. But, I am saying you can be a better one if you do. Part of being a Citizen is being considerate of those around you and being able to communicate as effectively as possible. Learning to use the NATO alphabet in place of letters is one way to speed up your own day, and make the life of the poor guy answering your phone calls in India just a little bit easier.

For more articles like this visit www.artofcitizenship.com

Views: 1815

Comment

You need to be a member of Art of Manliness to add comments!

Join Art of Manliness

Comment by Native Son on February 19, 2010 at 6:20pm
Two notes.

First, domestic Law Enforcement (at least in the US) uses a different phonetic alphabet.

Second, some busybody would insist that Steinbeck's estate rename the dog in "Travels With Charley".
(The poodle was named Able Baker Charley Dog, from the US Army's WWII phonetic alphabet)

Latest Activity

Milo Morris replied to Milo Morris's discussion Gay Republicans in the group Out to Build Bridges
"I disagree. Both Trump and Hillary have plans related to globalization. They each have their own opinions about how to deal with international trade. Check their websites for details. "
19 minutes ago
Milo Morris replied to Milo Morris's discussion Gay Republicans in the group Out to Build Bridges
"The mail is the job of Congress according to our Constitution."
32 minutes ago
Fahri Mahzun updated their profile
36 minutes ago
Salt Dragon replied to Milo Morris's discussion Gay Republicans in the group Out to Build Bridges
"I bemoan the bipartisanship because we have two conservative parties who are not responding to a changing global economy.  They make each other the enemy where really other countries want to eat our dessert.  We have to continue to…"
1 hour ago
Salt Dragon replied to Milo Morris's discussion Gay Republicans in the group Out to Build Bridges
"You don't need to car about other countries, but we are competing in a global economy with other countries which are more focused on their future.  We need to care about how kids can't afford to go to college, how a large part of our…"
1 hour ago
Milo Morris replied to Milo Morris's discussion Gay Republicans in the group Out to Build Bridges
"The media is a huge problem. They would have the public believe that this race is about fat bitches, trannies in bathrooms, cops shooting niggahs, and lesbian wedding cakes. Those are NOT the issues driving American politics. Not now, not ever.…"
3 hours ago
Shane replied to Milo Morris's discussion Gay Republicans in the group Out to Build Bridges
"I don't care about those other countries. If you don't want to talk about women being fat and ugly, don't. You're the one who brought it up."
6 hours ago
Jay D replied to 2risewhenfallen's discussion Does the universe have powers?
"There are three things you can do. - Accept that you have a job that makes you unhappy - Change the situation at work so it s mor acceptable to you - Leave the Job and get something new. You not wanting to quit is not the universe. Its more likely…"
6 hours ago

© 2016   Created by Brett McKay.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service