Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Nancy, New York, November?

I'm smug that I can remember most of the (NATO) phonetic alphabet useful for spelling out names, call signs, IDs and so on. On calling SingTel to discuss a technical matter arising from their web site, I had occassion to need it for clarity's sake, so off I was with November Foxtrot.... It worked a treat, and the call proceeded efficiently.

Things took a strange turn when the CSO (that's Call Service Operator) took a turn and said he was going to use "Capital Cities", to spell out the next bit (something I've heard many people use in these parts). He started well, New York, Washington, then started to lose his way France, Russia, Zulu, Osaka, Australia.

He could have used Christian names (Nancy, Wendy, ...), random words (Mother, Fencepost) or even the Cockney version (A is for 'orses, B for Mutton, C for Miles, M for size, ...). The plethora of choice and the resulting mish mash is why I bothered to learn the 'proper' one; you don't sound like you are making it up as you go along.