Zurück zur Liste
Newsgroups: rec.radio.amateur.misc, rec.radio.info,
Subject: Phonetic alphabets (Alpha Bravo Charlie Delta)
Date: Fri, 23 May 1997
Archive-name: radio/phonetic-alph/full
URL: http://www.mindspring.com/~gwil/phon.menu.html
Copyright: (c) 1997 Gwillim Law

Phonetic Alphabets (Alpha Bravo etc.)

There is a widely known alphabet Alpha Bravo ... Yankee Zulu. Such alphabets are variously known as phonetic/radio/ spelling/telephone alphabets, and the term analogy alphabet is also used. This collection currently includes alphabets for the following languages:

This posting supersedes the one of 21 March 1997. There are two new alphabets: one Greek and one Turkish.
I have agreed to take over maintenance of this collection from Brian Kelk. Any comments or suggested changes may be sent to me at <gwil@mindspring.com>.

Thanks are due to Mr. Kelk and to the many contributors, not all of whom are acknowledged below.

In my capacity as the editor of this collection I have no objection to the further electronic distribution of this posting in full in circumstances where it is likely to be of interest, and where a document of this length is acceptable; in the case of Web pages I ask that care be taken, as it is easy to mangle something.

There is a brief version of this collection. I don't intend to post it to the newsgroups unless I get requests for it. Both the full and brief versions may be found on the World Wide Web at: The full version is at a number of other sites, including: You could also try: Editorial comments are in square brackets [].

Gwillim Law gwil@mindspring.com
1 May 1997

***** ENGLISH *****

The NATO phonetic alphabet:

[This alphabet dates from about 1955 and is approved by the International Civil Aviation Organization, the FAA and the International Telecommunication Union; note that different bodies prefer different spellings, so one also sees: Alfa Juliett Juliette Oskar Viktor]

[The alphabet above is from the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language. An alphabet with Alfa X-ray can be found in The U.S. Department of Defense Dictionary of Military Terms. Alfa Juliett X-ray, which is the ICAO version, appears in A Concise Dictionary Of Slang And Unconventional English and also a Langenscheidt dictionary]

[UK police use Indigo(???) instead of India. German army handbook 90/91: Alfa Foxtrott Juliett. Italian version: Alfa Charly FoxTrot Giuliet Romio Wiskey. An Indonesian phrase book: Beta Ultra Volvo Whisky X-ray. A precursor of the present alphabet (1952?) had: Alfa Coca Metro Nectar Siera Union Whisky Extra]

Phonetics for digits (from an amateur radio FAQ): From the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language: 'Telecom B':
[Note similarity to Apples Butter Charlie]

[Found also in Swedish, Dutch, Hungarian telephone directories. An 'analogy alphabet' in a Kenyan directory has Charlie and no Y. A Swiss directory: Andrew Charlie Lussy Queenie Sugar. French/German vocabulary books: Andrew Charlie Lucy Mike Nelly Sugar Xmas. English phrase books for Spanish/Italian speakers: Charlie. A 'British English' alphabet in a Langenscheidt dictionary: Andrew Charlie Lucy Queenie Sugar Xmas]

[Used as an English alphabet by telephone operators in Israel]

'British A':

[An 'international' alphabet in a Dutch telephone directory has: Danemark. A 'French' alphabet in a Hungarian directory has: Cassablanka Danemark Que'bec Upsala Zu"rich. An 'international' alphabet in a business book for French has: Italy Kilogram Zu"rich; the corresponding book for German has: Italy Kilogram Xanthippe Zu"rich. An 'international' alphabet in a Langenscheidt dictionary: Danemark Madagaskar Que'bec Upsala Xanthippe Zu"rich]

[West Berlin telephone directory 1965: Danemark Je'rusalem Madagaskar Que'bec Upsala Xanthippe Zu"rich. Santa Fe (Argentina) 1955: Dinamarca Habana Jerusale'n Kilogramo Nueva_York N~andubay Upsala Wa'shington Xantipo Yokoama. Azores 1966: Danemark Ita'lia Jerusale'm New-York Que'bec Upsala Yokoham]

[Used as a French alphabet by telephone operators in Israel]


Bombay telephone directory 1962 (also a later source):

Kenyan and Tanzanian telephone directories 1966:

Johannesburg telephone directory 1965:

[Note similarity to Alfred Benjamin]

Malayan telephone directory 1964:

Used by police in New York City:

[Note similarity to ARRL and Western Union]

[Variants: Eddie Larry Nancy Thomas Yankee Yellow]

Used by police in Nassau County, Long Island, New York: Used by police in San Diego, California: Used by police in Hutchinson, Kansas: Alternative phonetics sometimes used unofficially in amateur radio:

[Also: Amsterdam, Baltimore, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, Finland, Geneva, Greece, Guatemala, Hawaii, Italy, Kentucky, King, Luxembourg, Montreal, Nicaragua, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Sweden, Texas, Uruguay, Venezuela]

The ARRL (American Radio Relay League) alphabet (1948):

[Note similarity to Western Union and Able Baker]

[Nowadays the ARRL endorses the NATO/ICAO/ITU alphabet]

Pre-1954 U.S. Navy Radio Alphabet:
(Communications Handbook, 1945)

[Note similarity to Able Buy Cast]

[formerly used by IBM engineers for hex digits and pin positions]

"Used by Armed services of USA & GB" (ARRL Handbook, 1945)

Allied Services 1945:

From a book entitled "The Complete Morse Instructor..." (1944):

RAF 1943-56:

[In similar alphabets: affirm, cast, hypo, inter, negat, option, over, prep]

RAF 1942-43:

[cf. aircraft in Dambusters raid: A-Apple B-Baker C-Charlie E-Easy F-Freddie G-George H-Harry J-Johnny K-King L-Leather (officially L-London) M-Mother N-Nuts O-Orange P-Popsie S-Sugar T-Tommy W-Willie Y-York Z-Zebra]

Western Union: British Army 1927:RAF 1924-42: Royal Navy 1917: U.S. Army 1916: British forces 1904:

[The OED has a reference for Beer and Emma dated 1891]

***** FRENCH *****


[style: A comme Anatole]

Contributor: Erik Tjong Kim Sang <erikt@let.rug.nl>

Contributor: Rudolf Lais <chibm5hp@ibmmail.com>

(Swiss telephone directory 1993)

[also Geneva directory 1966]

(OUP vocabulary book) (Berlitz phrase book) Similar alphabets:
Collins vocabulary book:
business book:
Cassel business book:
BBC business book:
telephone French book:
Collins phrase books:
Pitman business book:
Emile (for e-acute)
Rene', Victor/Viktor
E'mile (for e-acute)
(also Loire-Atlantique telephone directory 1966)

***** GERMAN *****

[style: A wie Anton]
[some alphabets have phonetics for umlauts, ch, sch, ss]

Contributor: Hermann Schumacher <hschu@ebs.e-technik.uni-ulm.de>

(official alphabet for emergency services, from "KatS-Dv 810 - Sprechfunkdienst", 1977)

[also Langenscheidt Standard German Dictionary 1993 and West Berlin telephone directory 1965]

Contributor: mrosa@eso.org (Michael Rosa)

More recent replacements: Konrad Zacharias

Contributor: Erik Tjong Kim Sang

Contributor: Rudolf Lais <chibm5hp@ibmmail.com>

(Swiss telephone directory 1993)

[also Geneva directory 1966]

Contributor: Christof A Neumann <neumann@informatik.tu-muenchen.de>

(issued by Deutsche Bundespost)

Contributor: Steve Dunham <dunham@gdl.msu.edu>

(OUP vocabulary book) (Collins vocabulary book)Seitenanfang (Cassel business book) (BBC business book) "standard phone alphabet"(BBC business book) (Berlitz phrase book) (Austrian telephone directory)(Collins phrase book)(Vienna telephone directory) (BBC language book)

Contributor: Anno Siegel <anno4000@w172zrz.zrz.tu-berlin.de>

[This alphabet provides mnemonics for Morse code: a syllable corresponds to a dash if it contains 'o', a dot otherwise.]

For another alphabet of this nature see <http://scoutnet.ch/archives/books/morse.html>

***** DUTCH *****

Seitenanfang [style: A van Anna] Contributor: Erik Tjong Kim Sang <erikt@let.rug.nl> [Berlitz phrase book: bernard quadraat] (Collins phrase book) A Morse code mnemonic alphabet can be found at <http://nl.scout.net/morse/morse-nl.html>

***** FLEMISH *****

Contributor: Erik Tjong Kim Sang <erikt@let.rug.nl>

***** SPANISH *****

[style: A de Antonio]

(BBC business book, Collins and Berlitz phrase books)

Contributor: Paul Driessen <pdr@intis.nl>

(used in ministries in Madrid in the 1960s) (business book) "The telephonist's alphabet" (Berlitz phrase book) [Latin American]

***** PORTUGUESE *****

[style: A de/como Aviero]

(Berlitz phrase book)

[Azores telephone directory 1966: Braganc,a Kilograma Wilson]

(Collins phrase books)

***** ITALIAN *****


[style: A come Ancona]

Contributor: ebuie@sed.csc.com (Elizabeth Buie) ebuie@starlab.csc.com

Contributor: Rudolf Lais <chibm5hp@ibmmail.com>

(Swiss telephone directory 1993)

[also Geneva directory 1966]

(Cassel language book) (Cassel business book)(BBC language book)

Contributor: Salvatore Innaimi <mc1612@mclink.it>

(Berlitz phrase book) (Collins phrase book) (Collins phrase book) (Pitman business book)

***** ROMANSH *****

[aka Rumansh]

Contributor: Rudolf Lais <chibm5hp@ibmmail.com>

(Swiss telephone directory)

***** DANISH *****

Seitenanfang(Berlitz phrase book) [Copenhagen telephone directory: Cecilie Nikolai]

Contributor: "Per K. Nielsen" <pnielsen@centrum.dk>

The Danish military use the following additions to the NATO alphabet:

***** NORWEGIAN *****

Contributor: seem@oslonett.no (Terje Trane)

(telephone directory) [Berlitz phrase book: enkelt-V dobbelt-V Yngling Aerlig]
[Oslo directory 1965: enkelt-v Yngling Aerlig Oesten]
[the forms Ynling and Aerleg are considered incorrect]

***** SWEDISH *****


ontributors: simon@dront.nada.kth.se (Simon Tardell); jwc@ida.liu.se (Jonas Wallgren) m8509@sparc2.abc.se (Thomas Green)

[also used officially in Finland] Sometimes used: Fredrik, Olle, Rikard

Stockholm police use Kryss (meaning cross) for X.

***** FINNISH *****

Contributors: jrahkone@viikki.helsinki.fi (Jukka Rahkonen) and spk@proffa.cc.tut.fi (Kaita Seikku)

(Berlitz phrase book)Seitenanfang

***** CZECH *****

(phrase book)

***** SLOVAK *****

Contributor: Martin Votruba <votruba+@pitt.edu>

(telephone directory)

***** POLISH *****

Contributor: michalj@fuw.edu.pl (Michal Jankowski)

(Warsaw telephone directory)

Contributor: Gyo:ngyo:si Jo'zsef <gyongyosi@bpsof.enet.dec.com>

(used by radio hams) (Berlitz phrase book)

***** HUNGARIAN *****

(telephone directory)

Contributor: gyongyosi@bpsof.enet.dec.com (Gyo:ngyo:si Jo'zsef)

(used by radio hams)(Berlitz phrase book)

***** CROATIAN *****

Contributor: Ivan.Drzanic@gbcon.g-box.fido.hr (Ivan Drzanic)

***** SERBO-CROAT *****

(phrase book)

***** ROMANIAN *****

(phrase book)

***** MODERN GREEK *****

(AA phrase book)

***** TURKISH *****

Contributor: e077245@narwhal.cc.metu.edu.tr (Gorkem Cetin) (Berlitz phrase book)

Contributor: Fuat C. Baran <fuat@columbia.edu>

(1982 diary)     "standard" for telephone (AA phrase book)

***** HEBREW *****

(phrase book) (phonetics for Roman alphabet) [used by telephone operators in Israel]

Contributor: mtl@netvision.net.il (Alon Tal)

***** RUSSIAN *****

Seitenanfang Contributor: tom@systemtechnik.tu-ilmenau.de (Thomas Planke)

Contributor: "Oleg.A.Chernozyomov" <victoria@rada1.saratov.su>

(currently used in amateur radio) Morse code is as follows: and the same mapping provides a system of phonetics for Roman letters (used in parallel with Alpha Bravo). [The mapping is similar to KOI-7 but not identical]

***** SWAHILI *****

(phrase book)

***** KWANYAMA *****

[South-western Bantu; northern Namibia]

Contributor: jouni@ling.gu.se (Jouni F Maho)

(school book)

***** NDONGA *****

Seitenanfang [South-western Bantu; northern Namibia]

Contributor: jouni@ling.gu.se (Jouni F Maho)

(school book)

***** AFRIKAANS *****

(Johannesburg telephone directory 1965)

***** CHINESE *****

The Chinese armed forces use the following in connection with Romanised Mandarin: Seitenanfang

***** ESPERANTO *****

Contributors: Edmund.Grimley-Evans@cl.cam.ac.uk <Edmund.Grimley-Evans> and dlane@contactpt.com <David Lane>

(Yearbook of Universala Esperanto-Asocio 1995)

[An earlier version had Omnibuso instead of Oktobro]

Non-Esperanto letters:
Morse code (approved by UAE and FCC in 1963):

***** END *****

Gwillim Law <gwil@mindspring.com>