The (International) Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet, commonly known as the NATO phonetic alphabet, is the most widely used set of clear code words for communicating the letters of the Roman alphabet. Technically a radiotelephonic spelling alphabet, it goes by various names, including NATO spelling alphabet, ICAO phonetic alphabet and ICAO spelling alphabet. The ITU phonetic alphabet and figure code is a rarely used variant that differs in the code words for digits.
To create the code, a series of international agencies assigned 26 code words acrophonically to the letters of the Roman alphabet, with the intention of the letters and numbers being easily distinguishable from one another over radio and telephone, regardless of language barriers and connection quality. The specific code words varied, as some seemingly distinct words were found to be ineffective in real-life conditions. In 1956, NATO modified the then-current set of code words used by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO); this modification then became the international standard when it was accepted by ICAO that year and by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) a few years later.
The phonetic alphabet is very useful in all kinds of verbal communication, over radio signals or via telephone or other verbal communication means. This type of communication also includes the telephone and VoIP calls performed by Information Technology technical support personnel. It is imperative to have all technical support engineers trained to use the international phonetic alphabet to further improve communication levels and avoid ambiguous words and confusion caused by mispronounced words.
The international phonetic alphabet
|Symbol||Code word||DIN 5009|
|B||Bravo||ˈbravo||ˈbraːˈvo [sic]||BRAH voh|
|C||Charlie||ˈtʃali or ˈʃali||ˈtʃɑːli or ˈʃɑːli||CHAR lee or SHAR lee|
|I||India||ˈɪndia||ˈindi.ɑ||IN dee ah|
|J||Juliett||ˈdʒuliˈɛt||ˈdʒuːli.ˈet||JEW lee ETT|
|N||November||noˈvɛmba||noˈvembə||no VEM ber|
|Q||Quebec||keˈbɛk [sic]||keˈbek||keh BECK|
|R||Romeo||ˈromio||ˈroːmi.o||ROW me oh|
|S||Sierra||siˈɛra||siˈerɑ||see AIR rah|
|U||Uniform||ˈjunifɔm or ˈunifɔm||ˈjuːnifɔːm or ˈuːnifɔrm [sic]||YOU nee form or OO nee form|
|X||Xray, x-ray||ˈɛksrei̯||ˈeksˈrei [sic]||ECKS ray|