how do you spell your name

Did you say Beech Tree or Peachtree? Was that Mr. Gota or Mr. Goda? S-T-E-V-E-N or S-T-E-P-H-E-N? Pirate Way or Pilot Way?

When you need to lớn spell information lượt thích your name, tin nhắn or address over the phone — use the NATO Phonetic Alphabet or the Western Union Phonetic Alphabet. These alphabets — also called spelling alphabets — replace the 26 letters of the English alphabet with 26 code words. A is replaced with Alpha. B is replaced with Bravo. C is replaced with Charlie and ví on.

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In this post, I’m going to lớn share the NATO and Western Union phonetic alphabets and provide some examples for spelling your name, tin nhắn and address over the phone.

NATO Phonetic Alphabet

NATO Phonetic Alphabet. Illustration by Jeff Shibasaki / Culture Gaps.
Listen for how to lớn pronounce the NATO Phonetic Alphabet. Audio by Jeff Shibasaki / Culture Gaps.

The NATO Phonetic Alphabet is also known as the ICAO Spelling Alphabet. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) first developed the spelling alphabet in the 1950s and it was later adopted by NATO. You can use it too!

Today, the NATO Phonetic Alphabet is used for radio communication by aviation and maritime industries. It’s also used by the military and police, by phone technicians, businesspeople and everyone in between.

In addition to lớn the 26 code words that are assigned to lớn the English letters, the NATO Phonetic Alphabet also has a pronunciation guide for digits:

  • 0 (zee-ro)
  • 1 (wun)
  • 2 (too)
  • 3 (tree)
  • 4 (fow-er)
  • 5 (fife)
  • 6 (six)
  • 7 (sev-en)
  • 8 (ait)
  • 9 (nin-er)

How to lớn use Code Words

  • Say the letter and its code word, using as (e.g. Z as in Zulu).
  • Say the letter and its code word, using like (e.g. Las lượt thích Lima).
  • Say each code word (e.g. Alpha. Yankee. Alpha).

Examples

Caller A: How vì thế you spell your last name?
Caller B: S-H-I-B lượt thích bravo. A-S lượt thích sierra. A-K-I.

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Caller A: What’s your address?
Caller B: 678 Shackleford Drive. That’s S lượt thích Sierra. H lượt thích Hotel. A-C-K-L-E-F-O-R-D Drive. Shackleford Drive.

Caller A: What’s your license plate number?
Caller B: Lima. Foxtrot. Yankee. Niner. Fife. Eight. Six.

Western Union Phonetic Alphabet

Western Union Phonetic Alphabet. Illustration by Jeff Shibasaki / Culture Gaps.
Listen for how to lớn pronounce the Western Union Phonetic Alphabet. Audio by Jeff Shibasaki / Culture Gaps.

The Western Union Phonetic Alphabet predates the NATO Phonetic Alphabet and is ideal for anyone who finds the NATO code words too soldierly.

Examples

Caller A: What’s your tin nhắn address?
Caller B: [email protected]. That’s J lượt thích John. Underscore. D lượt thích Denver. O-E-at-gmail.com.

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Caller A: What’s your city?
Caller B: Smyrna. That’s S as in Sugar. M as in Mary. Y-R-N as in Thành Phố New York. A.

Caller A: What’s your trang chủ address?
Caller B: Two. Eight. Six. Beaver Ruin Road. That’s B lượt thích Boston. E-A-V lượt thích Victor. E-R. Beaver. Ruin’s spelled R-U-I-N lượt thích Thành Phố New York.

Final Thoughts

You just learned how to lớn spell information over the phone with the NATO and Western Union phonetic alphabets. Reduce the chance of errors and sound more professional by adopting one of these alphabets when you need to lớn spell information over the phone.