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  1. Newbie
    Interested in Language
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • German
      • Home Country:
      • Germany
      • Current Location:
      • Germany

    • Join Date: Feb 2015
    • Posts: 1
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    #1

    What others think about me, if I use a certein spelling alphabet

    Dear forum

    I hope I address this at the right place. I am German and I use english as a foreign language. I have to communicate with native english speakers (from UK mainly) on the phone. I often have to talk about cryptical catalogue IDs, article numbers or other strings which I prefer to spell character by character to avoid confusion. Whenever I look up the internet for a commonly used spelling alphabet I find the NATO/ICAN table (Alpha, Bravo, Charly...). Now a colleague told me that using the NATO alphabet makes me sound like a militarist if I use it to spell article IDs for Barbie-clothing or fish food.

    What is your opinion? Would you agree with him?

    Would you recommend me to use the NATO/ICAN alphabet?

    Which spelling alphabet would a native english speaker use on the phone?

    Thank you for your help,
    cheers,
    Nurbi

  2. teechar's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Iraq
      • Current Location:
      • Iraq

    • Join Date: Feb 2015
    • Posts: 2,382
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    #2

    Re: What others think about me, if I use a certein spelling alphabet

    The ICAO alphabet was developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization, and is widely understood and recognized. I honestly don't see any problems with you using it in your job.


  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 34,370
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    #3

    Re: What others think about me, if I use a certein spelling alphabet

    I find it very helpful when anyone uses the phonetic alphabet over the phone, whether it's for work or personal affairs. Most people in the UK understand it although not everyone can use it themselves.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: May 2015
    • Posts: 1
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    #4

    Re: What others think about me, if I use a certein spelling alphabet

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I find it very helpful when anyone uses the phonetic alphabet over the phone, whether it's for work or personal affairs. Most people in the UK understand it although not everyone can use it themselves.
    Here is my story. Three years ago we immigrated into US from Russia. Even now my English is far from being good but at that time it was even worse Unfortunately I was the best "speaker" in the family, so all phone calls were "mine". That was a pain. As anytime you call some hot line / support / whatever I need to spell my name, sometimes address and sometimes even more. I was struggling. Then I found a job. But that didn't help much - every time I needed to call company's tech support I needed to spell my "standard id" and name. One day I really started to put "spelling words" into table to help myself during phone calls. Then I realized it should be something similar already just I didn't know how it's called. Then I found that wikipedia page about "NATO spelling alphabet". And... I didn't quite like it. Say - I never ever heard anybody saying "Zulu" for Z. It always was either Zoo or Zebra. The same for many other words (well, maybe except X-Ray). So I ended up with some "mixed" table partially included my own (or often heard) words with whatever I get from "NATO spelling alphabet". I printed my table out in several copies and put a few copies across house and one at my office desk. And it was very helpful.

    Now a little bit of nasty self-ad. Because I am professional programmer, finally I decided to eliminate my paper tables and put my words in form of iphone app (sorry android users, I am really Apple fan). no links - I don't want to be banned right away. Search in appstore for [title removed].

    As for words list - once again it's my own mix which I personally use. But I added possibility to edit list (maybe you really prefer to use "Zulu").

    Vladimir
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 02-May-2015 at 23:54. Reason: Standardised font and font size and removed ad

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