The New NATO Phonetic Alphabet

First of all, the NATO Phonetic alphabet is a spelling alphabet, and not a phonetic alphabet at all (if you want that, look into the International Phonetic Alphabet on Wikipedia). In case you don’t know, the NATO Phonetic Alphabet is the system of using the words Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, and so on to spell out words (typically over the radio).

However, while it is not a true phonetic alphabet, real phonetic alphabets exist to provide symbols for every type of sound that humans make while speaking. It’s an incredibly powerful tool. Want to learn an accent? Simply go to something like, which attempts to collect every common accent of the English language. From there, you can listen to real people talk and go through each word replacing the sounds in that word with a symbol. Compare your own speech with those symbols and practice the differences. If you made your own symbol you’re well on your way to making your own real phonetic alphabet. However, try to use the NATO Phonetic alphabet to sound out words, and you will sound like you’re one of those crazy theater people.

By the way, the NATO Phonetic alphabet isn’t even its official name. It’s officially called “The International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet”. The IRSA went through many revisions before it landed in its current state. By the way, why they landed on spelling Alfa with an F and not a PH I will never know. Words were swapped out and it was worked to be optimized to include distinct words and sounds common to all languages. The last update to this system, devised to clear up pronunciation misunderstandings, was on 1 March 1956. Because of the lack of an update, I have taken it upon myself to propose an update that is clearly superior in every way. Please use only this henceforth.

Symbol                Code WordTraditional International Phonetic AlphabetPronunciation
BBuscemi,Stevebuːˈsɛmi, stivboo-SEM-ee, steev
CChesterˈtʃɛs tərches-ter
EEcstaticɛkˈstæt ɪkek-stat-ik
FFuddle-dum-rumpleyˈfʌd l dʌm ˈrʌm plifuhd-l duhm ruhm-plee
JJabberwockyjab-er-wok-eeˈdʒæb ərˌwɒk i
LLigmaˈlɪg məlig-muh
MMancy ˈmæn siman-see
OOrwellˈɔr wɛlawr-wel
PPneumaticsnʊˈmæt ɪksnoo-mat-iks
SSchadenfreudeˈʃɑd nˌfrɔɪ dəshahd-n-froi-duh
UUranusyoor-uh-nuhsˈyʊər ə nəs
YYeastyˈyi stiyee-stee
ZZaddyˈzæd i-zad ee
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