Phonetic Alphabet for Clear Radio Communication

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phonetic alphabet

The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an alphabetic system of phonetic notation based primarily on the Latin alphabet. It was devised by the International Phonetic Association as a standardized representation of the sounds of spoken language.

How is the Phonetic Alphabet Used?

The Phonetic Alphabet is used by foreign language students and teachers, linguists, speech pathologists and therapists, singers, actors, lexicographers, artificial language enthusiasts and translators. It can also be used by police officers, private detectives and the military, sometimes during radio communications. These individuals use the alphabet to ensure clear communication, such as when communicating a description of a subject, a tag number, or a street address. It is often used on radio communication.

The alphabet is designed to represent only those qualities of speech that are distinctive in spoken language: phonemes, intonation, and the separation of words and syllables. To represent additional qualities of speech such as tooth gnashing, lisping, and sounds made with a cleft palate, an extended set of symbols called the Extensions to the IPA may be used.

International Phonetic Alphabet symbols are composed of one or more elements of two basic types, letters and diacritics. For example, the sound of the English letter ‹t› may be transcribed in IPA with a single letter, [t], or with a letter plus diacritics, [t̺ʰ], depending on how precise one wishes to be.  Occasionally letters or diacritics are added, removed, or modified by the International Phonetic Association. As of 2008, there are 107 letters, 52 diacritics, and four prosodic marks in the IPA.

Following is a table explaining the letters of the phonetic alphabet and their pronunciation:

A = Alpha (AL fah)

B = Bravo (BRAH VOH)

C = Charlie (CHAR lee)

D = Delta (DELL tah)

E = Echo (ECK oh)

F = Foxtrot (FOKS trot)

G = Golf (GOLF)

H = Hotel (hoh TELL)

I = India (IN dee ah)

J = Juliett (JEW lee ETT)

K = Kilo (KEY loh)

L = Lima (LEE mah)

M = Mike (MIKE)

N = November (no VEM ber)

O = Oscar (OSS cah)

P = Papa (pah PAH)

Q = Quebec (keh BECK)

R = Romeo (ROW me oh)

S = Sierra (see AIR rah)

T = Tango (TANG go)

U = Uniform (YOU nee form

V = Victor (VIK tah)

W = Whiskey (WISS key)

X = X Ray (ECKS RAY)

Y = Yankee (YANG key)

Z = Zulu (ZOO loo)

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