Business military style phone calls – November Oscar Whisky!

Hotel Echo Lima Lima Oscar!

Ever heard or said stuff like that over the phone? I know I do. Daily. Like, literally every hours; spelling out names, e-mail address, company names, SKUs, serial numbers, etc. This way of spelling out words is called the phonetic alphabet, more specifically, the NATO phonetic alphabet.

How it works

26 code words (the NATO phonetic alphabet) are assigned to the 26 letters of the Latin/English Alphabet (common to English, French, German, etc.) in alphabetical order, their first letters matching the corresponding alphabet letter:

Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliett, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whiskey, X-ray, Yankee, Zulu.

[ See Wikipedia’s Picture chart here ]

Note : The NATO phonetic alphabet is also valid in French, since all the words, even in French, are pronounced the same way. :D

Cool huh?

Why YOU should use it

If the reason for spelling out words using phonetic alphabet isn’t already obvious to you, let me give you a quick example of what could happen when you DON’T. In this example, you just purchased a rare item by phone from a Japanese store:

Foreign salesman: Thank you for your purchase! You can track your order on our website at “mmbnsc-transport.jp”.

You: Could you please spell out that website address for me?

Foreign salesman: Sure! It’s M-M-B-N-S-C _DASH_ T-R-A-N-S-P-O-R-T _DOT_ J-P

Instead, you could easily understand something else like: nnpmsc-transport.gb.

See how confusing and time consuming something as trivial as this can become?

Voilà! Enjoy your now enhanced communication skillz!

Sirus
sirusdark.ca

References
-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NATO_phonetic_alphabet
-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SKU
-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stock_keeping_unit
-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_languages_by_writing_system

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