How to Create a Name Phonetically


Different sets of rules can determine how you create a name phonetically. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization phonetic alphabet is the most widely used. This is not the type of phonetics used to learn a language. This type of alphabet uses words to spell out sounds to enhance telephone, radio or electronic communications. Other modern phonetic alphabets are Western Union and Asian.

Phonetic Alphabets

  • Use phonetic alphabets to communicate effectively under stress, duress or noisy conditions or when communicating across languages and cultures. This was the premise when allies of NATO developed the system in the 1950s. Words were used to represent the letters in a word. For example, 'north' would be spelled November-Oscar-Romeo-Tango-Hotel. Spelling important material in this way reduced the chance of communication error. The NATO phonetic alphabet is used in international aviation, maritime, police and military environments.

  • Review the Western Union method of phonetic spelling. Western Union is a company developed in the United States in the mid-19th Century. It developed telegraph communications and the Western Union phonetic alphabet. It differs from the NATO version in that it uses the common American names for people and cities in the United States as code words. So the NATO code for the letter A would be Alpha and the Western Union code for the letter A would be Adams. The letter U in NATO code is Uniform and in Western Union it is Union.

  • Consider that the Asian phonetic alphabet is similar to Western Union in that it uses the names of cities and or countries from around the world. The letter A in the Asian phonetic system would be Australia. The U would be Uganda.

  • Convert common names using different phonetic alphabets. Using the modern NATO phonetic alphabet, the name David would be Delta Alpha Victor India Delta. Using the Western Union alphabet, David would be spelled Denver Adams Victor Ida Denver. Using the Asian phonetic alphabet, David would be spelled Delhi Australia Vietnam India Delhi. Here is another example using these three different phonetic alphabets to spell the name Yong Hee. Using NATO, it would be: Yankee Oscar November Golf - Hotel Echo Echo. Using Western Union, it would be: Young Ocean Newyork George - Henry Easy Easy. Finally, using the Asian system, it would be: Yokohama Osaka Norway Geneva - Hongkong England England.

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