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  Speech Recognition Spelling Alphabet


Most people have heard ?Alpha Bravo Charlie? and know it comes from a spelling alphabet. The ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) spelling alphabet, also known as the NATO phonetic alphabet or international radiotelephony spelling alphabet, is the most popular spelling alphabet. It is frequently referred to as "the phonetic alphabet" but spelling alphabets are different from phonetic transcription systems like the International Phonetic Alphabet.

The ICAO Spelling Alphabet is very useful when using your speech recognition software "spell it" feature. The program does not always understand your letter pronunciation but will react correctly to the phonetic alphabet very easily. You can input a word it fails to recognize quickly. 

Suppose you say "antic" and the voice recognition software responds with "frantic" or "ranting". Instruct it to "spell it" and then say quickly: Alpha November India Tango Charlie. It never fails to get what you mean.

The ICAO alphabet enables pronunciation and understanding by anyone transmitting and receiving voice messages by radio or telephone whatever their own language. This increases safety especially when lives might be endangered due to transmission static. It is used by police, armed forces, pilots and anyone such as car dealers who need to communicate license plate numbers accurately over the phone.

Printable Spelling Alphabet List

To learn the phonetic alphabet it helps to break it down into sections and commit four at a time to memory with repetition.  You can print the list to help study.

  • Alpha Bravo Charlie Delta

  • Echo Foxtrot Golf Hotel

  • India Juliet Kilo Lima

  • Mike November Oscar Papa

  • Quebec Romeo Sierra Tango

  • Uniform Victor Whiskey X-ray

  • Yankee Zulu

Call up the "spell it" function with your speech recognition software and practice. In no time you will sound very professional. It is also very useful when using the phone describing car numbers  etc.

A Phonetic Alphabet list for printing from a pdf document can be found here: Spelling Alphabet for speech recognition. Pin it up near your computer (or phone)  and with your headphones on you are ready to sound like a pro.

A video to use in learning the phonetic alphabet can be found here Alpha Bravo Charlie

A video version for the numbers used with this international NATO alphabet is also available. Running through the videos repeating the letters as the flashcards come up will give you a fluent competence with this system.


Printable NATO Phonetic Alphabet List

Letter phonetic Pronounced

A    Alpha         Al-fah

B     Bravo         Brah-voh

C     Charlie     Char-lee

D     Delta         Dell-tah

E     Echo         Eck-oh

F     Foxtrot     Foks-trot

G     Golf         Golf

H     Hotel        Hoh-tel

I     India         In-dee-ah

J     Juliet         Jew-lee-et

K     Kilo         Key-loh

L     Lima         Lee-mah

M     Mike        Mike

N     November        No-vem-ber

O     Oscar         Oss-car

P     Papa         Pah-pah

Q     Quebec         Keh-beck

R     Romeo         Row-me-oh

S     Sierra         See-air-rah

T     Tango         Tang-go

U     Uniform     Yoo-nih-form

V     Victor         Vik-tore

W     Whiskey         Wiss-key

X     Xray         Ecks-ray

Y     Yankee     Yang-key

Z     Zulu         Zoo-loo

Spelling Alphabet Numbers

Number Pronounced

1 One         Wun

2 Two         Too

3 Three       Tree

4 Four         Fow-er

5 Five         Fife

6 Six             six

7 Seven        Sev-en

8 Eight         Ait

9 Nine         Nin-er

0 Zero         Zee-ro

Video: Gender of Nouns



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