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A certain [Mickey the Fish] proposed a new phonetic alphabet that was meant to be a joke. I believe that we could really use a better one than the NATO alphabet and others in use. I believe the letter names would be most easily distinguished if they were all two syllables with the emphasis on the first
syllable (with two exceptions).
I base mine more on the Greek (alpha, beta, gamma) alphabet and much less on the NATO (alfa, bravo, charlie) alphabet, but with substantial variation to avoid similar-sounding letter names (mu, nu, zeta, eta, theta).
Ecca [was Eza]
Jutta [better? ;-)]
Ubo [was Ulo]
Xo (ix-oh) [was Exo]
Yoba [was Yaba]
Since this would be used internationally, I tried to avoid names that are words in any European language (as far as I could tell) and tried to ensure that they would be understandable over phone or radio by people with a wide variety of accents. They all end in A or O for some regularity and so Europeans can easily give them grammatical gender.
Additional names for common punctuation and other symbols could be similarly useful (atta=@, astra=*).
Wikipedia on NATO and other phonetic alphabets [ConsultingDetective, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]
Previous Non-Serious Idea
[Mickey the Fish] joke proposal [ConsultingDetective, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]
peep, gag, thigh, ha-ha, etc. [hob, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]
Phonetic Spelling Alphabets
Astounding collection of phonetic alphabets from all over; choice seems to be pretty arbitrary. [ConsultingDetective, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]
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||[jutta] It seems to me that varying the syllable length and/or stress much tends to break up the rhythm. Maybe that's actually good, but I can't find any scientific studies of the NATO alphabet to explain why the names were chosen ("oscar" replaced "oboe," and "mike" seems like it would get lost in a crackly radio transmission).
Also, some names are bound to be similar to existing words/brand names somewhere in the world. The point is not that they are impossible to confuse with other words, but that they are unlikely to be confused with each other. After all, the NATO alphabet consists entirely of common English words and names.
||I like this idea, but I have to say, I
love the NATO alphabet. I used to
have this guy working with me
who was a former Air Force guy. I
would talk to him on the phone
about computo problems here and
there, and inevitably, we'd have to
start getting into product
identifiers, which were weird
strings of numbers and letters, so
I always made him give it to me in
phonetic. And then I'd say, "What? I
can't hear you, can you speak
louder?" So here's this poor guy
sitting in his cube and shouting
into the phone, "Fox, Zebra,
Charlie, Tango, Niner, Niner,
Niner" as if he was calling for an
airstrike to save his platoon. I
don't know if that's a good reason
for EVERYONE to stick with the
NATO alphabet, but that's what I'll
||I'm quite fond of the letter names in the Shavian alphabet - <link>