Thursday, October 29, 2009

Don't Thank Me

Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliet, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whiskey, X-Ray, Yankee, Zulu.

So goes the NATO phonetic alphabet. But ever since I started making plans with my friends Charlie, Juliet and her papa, Oscar to spend November in India where a company called Alpha Travel were offering us a great deal on a two week holiday learning to foxtrot and tango with some golf on the side and a free kilo of whiskey for everyone who books early it's been causing us no end of confusion. Especially when the crackly phone line between me in London and them in Quebec means I have to keep spelling things out to them.

So I've decided to come up with a new phonetic alphabet. I think there's much less room for confusion with mine. I expect it'll soon become the international standard.
A: Arse
B: Bee
C: Chalet
D: Derek
E: Eric
G: Gerrymander
H: Hmmm
I: Instead
J: Jerry
K: Knight
L: Llangollen
M: Mayor
N: Nightmare
O: Obviously
P: Phonetic
Q: Que?
R: Really
S: Spelling
T: Then
U: Underscore
V: Very
W: Why
X: Xena
Y: Yes
Z: Zing

Don't thank me.


@mightytonka said...

Silly boy

rjmunro said...

I think you should enter this into Genius.

martin said...

Whenever I spell my surname, I use the regular NATO letters, except U, where I use Unicorn. People usually repeat it back to me. I hope it'll catch on.

Unknown said...

Surely it should be:

R for "Are You Dave Gorman?"

Clare said...

I used to see those shop shutters all the time when I lived in London. I didn't know there was a whole alphabet. Trust you to have collected them all.

bob said...

I feel I have to go moderately pedantic… 'Llangollen' doesn't have any 'L's. It has two 'Ll's. 'L' and 'Ll' are classed as distinct letters of the Welsh alphabet, with different sounds.

Might I suggest 'Laverbread' instead ?

Mr Alistair said...

I like the anti-phonetic alphabet

C as in 'Cue'

W as in 'Why'

Mr Alistair said...

Actually I have the habit when asked my middle initial of saying 'J as in John'

which is stupid as my middle name is James

Scottish Nature Boy said...

You have altogether too much spare time on your hands ...

Lola said...

I always use G as in Gnome and K as in Knickers. If it wasn't too unwieldy I'm sure I'd use Psychology for P.

Dee's Diary said...


Emma Spreadbury said...

Dave, are you writing another book? This seems like a book-writing displacment activity if ever I saw one.

Although I must question 'nightmare'. Surely 'knightmare' for k?

Dave Gorman said...

@Emma: You couldn't have knightmare for K because that would be silly and lead to confusion.
K = Knight. M = Mayor. N = Nightmare.
That makes sense.
K = knightmare does not.

Scottish Nature Boy said...

Actually, I remembered that my father, who served his National Service as a gunner and radio operator in tanks in Germany, had to learn a phonetic alphabet that started "Able, Baker, Charlie" and a simple bit of goggling uncovered this long-lost list from my childhood:

From a book entitled "The Complete Morse Instructor..." (1944):

able baker charlie dog easy fox george how item jig king love
mike nan oboe peter queen roger sugar tare uncle victor william
x-ray yoke zebra - although I am sure he used "tango" instead of "tare", which presumably only means something to people familiar with electrical top-pan balances. Ho hum - lots of other phonetic alphabets on the web that are less fun than the Gorman one!

Grethic said...

I like that other wartime phoenetic alphabet:
a for 'orses
b for mutton
c for thighlanders
d for ential

Mark said...

P will stay Papa, but N will be Nicole

maddie said...

A for arse is my favourite. But what if you cough by mistake?

Craig Jones said...

Well at least it wasn't a kilo of charlie.

They have adopted a new phonetic alphabet in the Black Country, although some probably won't make sense to 'outsiders'.

Contains such classics as ICKLE, JED, OWAMYA and YAMPY.

Single Track said...

That's a beautiful thing Dave. Well done.

On the subject of letters, I used to work for Directory Enquiries and it used to really irritate me when my colleagues would say to a caller "and how are you spelling that?" In my head I'd be thinking "with letters you moron."

Marzipan said...

See - and I know I'm being horribly literal-minded here, but I just can't help it - I think in less-than-perfect conditions (like talking over a radio) it would be hard to distinguish Derek from Eric and Jerry from Very; and in really bad situationd all four of them cold be muddlesome. Which could be awkward (or possibly awkware, awkwarj or awkwarv).

That said, the problem I have with the your-actual phonetic alphabet is that an alarming number of people seem not to know that Quebec begins with a Q...

Laura said...

N should always be Knickers!

Kirst said...

Dave, I think I just fell in love with you. A bit. Don't worry about it though, this week I have also fallen in love with Richard Armitage's thighs, and a plasterer.