US Dopers: "A for Apple"? "B for Ball"?

I often get on the phone with customer service folks in the US, and when it comes time to spell out my name etc., I end up using a different word each time for the letters in my name. This seems to confuse the people on the other end of the line, especially since I use whatever word comes to my mind with that letter, rather than easy simple words.

So help me learn my ABCs. Is there a standard form? What were you taught in school?

A for Apple? or Alpha? or Airplane? or Azzure? or Anything?

I grew up using the phonetic alphabet. Alpha, bravo, Charlie, etc. Bot of my parents were pilots, and dad was career Navy and then career FAA.

The phonetic alphabet? You say that like there’s only one. :smiley: There are lots out there. I listened to a really interesting radio documentary once on the history of them all. But anyway. For the OP, yeah, the smart thing to do would be to learn the most popular one.

… G for Gnu…

… K for Knowing…

… P for Psycho…

… X for, um, Xena…

Any others along these lines? :smiley:

I’ve frequently been told, in customer service, to use common names instead of other nouns. This seems to work pretty well.

Yes, I would say:

  1. Common (male) first names
  2. Animals
  3. Fruits
  4. Greek alpabet


I learnt the Alpha Bravo Charlie thing (and semaphore :)) when I was in school, but for some reason the phone people seem to prefer “D for Dave” to “D for Delta”.

A for Æon
C for Chthonian
F for Fjord
H for Herb
J for Jung
L for Llama (pronounced “yama”)
P for Pwn
Q for Qur’an
Y for Ygdrasil

… J for José
… M for Mnemonic
… W for Wry

My next phone call will be fun :slight_smile: Too bad my name is not PXKJMWG though.

pronounces rye different from wry…

Another phonetic alphabet user chiming in. Hooray for a military background.

Here’s the NATO phonetic alphabet for english:
And from NASA:

I’ve got to say, as a phone monkey I absolutely adore it when people make the effort to use one of the recognised phonetic alphabets to spell something out - especially if they have a very thick accent. Compare

“D for Delta” or “P for Papa”

to this exchange (based on a call I took the other day):

What I heard was “B for Barry”. So to clarify, I repeated it back as “Was that B for Bravo?”. Which earned me “No. No. B for Barry, you know. Like with a sword. Barry.”

Turns out he was saying “P for Parry”

A for 'orses.
B for mutton.
C for miles.

No problem with “herb” in the UK because we pronounce the “h” .

All I know is…
C is for cookie and that’s good enough for me!

Curse you jjimm! :smiley: I wanted to post that…

F as in fnord?

And I wish my co-workers would knock this off, at least the Frank. Use Fred, or something. I’m pretty good at zoning out conversations over on the support side until I hear my name.

Co-worker: Blah blah blah blah Frank blah…
Frank: What?

Yeah, I was taking a shortcut in my post.