The Spelling Alphabet, a Method of Clearly Communicating English Letters.

The Spelling Alphabet -- A Solution to Spelling Mistakes Over the Phone!

August 29, 2016

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 Spelling Alphabet

Miscommunications of spellings are a common occurrence when giving information such as e-mail addresses over the phone. With e-mail addresses, misinter-preting just a single letter can lead to a transmission error resulting in your message failing to deliver to the intended recipient. This is a problem that occurs between Jap-anese people also, but how can we deal with it when speaking over the phone in Eng-lish? The spelling alphabet is a means of preventing miscommunications like these when spelling over the phone. Let's master this technique and get rid of our apprehen-sions about phone calls in English!

So what is this method of correctly communicating English letters, the spelling alphabet?

A spelling alphabet is a method of accurately communicating English let-ters in situations where visually checking the proper way of writing something is not an option, such as during conversations over the phone. For example, the spelling of "ARC" is conveyed like "A for Apple, R for Russia, C for China." Even in Japanese, "9" and "Q" have the same pronunciation and a distinction between the two is made using phrases like "the number 9" and "the English Q". The similar-sounding and easily-misheard numbers "1" (ichi) and "7" (shichi) are clarified by using "ichi" and "nana" (an alternative pronunciation of seven) instead.

Chinese characters of names are also communicated in a similar way. For example, the correct way of writing the name "Maeshiro" (Japanese: 真栄城) could be explained as follows: "The character 'shin' (真) from the word 'truth', followed by the character for 'prosper' (栄), and lastly 'shiro' (城) from the word 'castle.'" The tricks for avoiding spelling mistakes are the same in both Japanese and English, so once you have become familiar with how to use the spelling alphabet, it can be utilized conveniently.

How to Use the Spelling Alphabet

When using the spelling alphabet, we should try to recite it in a fixed pat-tern.

When Conveying the Spelling of Names

My name is Nobu, N as in Norway, O as in Orange, B as in Bob, and U as in Uncle.
It is also common to use "for" instead of "as in" to say "N for Norway."

When Conveying Passwords (Where the Password is "g5pte")

My password is: g, George; five; p, Pizza; t, Toy; and e, Elephant.
Here, even the difficult-to-catch letters "T", "P", and "E" can be distin-guished from one another.

When Conveying Passwords (Where the Password is "g5pte")

When Differentiating Uppercase Letters From Lowercase Letters
Uppercase Letters: capital T, Tom
Lowercase Letters: small b, boy

Vocabulary Used in the Spelling Alphabet

Please regard the vocabulary used in the spelling alphabet as being free of any particular rules. Firstly, let's imagine that we are the person trying to understand our conversation partner's spelling alphabet. "T for Tokyo" is easier to grasp than "T for Three", right? When using the spelling alphabet, you can help the conversation flow more smoothly by choosing the vocabulary in a flexible manner, depending on your conversation partner or the situation.

On the other hand, there are formal spelling alphabets which use fixed vocabulary. Among the more well-known of these is the Los Angeles Police Depart-ment's system (the "LAPD phonetic alphabet"), which you may have heard before in detective movies. A characteristic of this system is that much of the vocabulary used is made up of people's names, such as "John", "Tom", and "Mary."

Improve Your Communication Skills with the Spelling Alphabet

How about practicing a spelling alphabet of your name, e-mail address, or passwords in preparation for phone calls in English? The trick is to choose common words that you yourself can pronounce correctly. Hone your communication skills by mastering the art of spelling alphabets--useful also in business situations.

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