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6 Vote

Hello everyone, In situations when I have to speak over the phone in spanish, they never understand my first name - and I have to spell it out. Would be nice to know if there is a specific phonetic alphabet in spanish and if so, what are the words?

Hola a todos, En situaciones cuando tengo que hablar por teléfono, nunca entienden mi nombre - y tengo que deletrearlo. Sería genial saber si hay un alfabeto fonético específico en español y si hay, cuáles son las palabras?

  • Posted Aug 18, 2010
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6 Answers

2 Vote

Hello, and welcome to the forum

You can listen to the Spanish alphabet on Youtube or look at Lazarus´ How Do Spanish Letters Sound, which is located in the Reference Section.

  • Thanks for this. I´ll check out the youtube video when I get home. - Shadon Aug 18, 2010 flag
4 Vote

Following on from Marianne's post there is a link at the bottom of the page she refers to that points to a page that has several such lists in various languages. Spanish appears about half way down the page.

In my experience spanish speakers (here in Spain) use a system based on Spanish place names, eg A de Ávila, B de Barcelona, C de Cádiz etc.

Click here

  • Excellent stuff - that´s exactly what I was looking for. Thanks! - Shadon Aug 18, 2010 flag
3 Vote

Just so everyone knows what Shadon is asking for, here's a Phonetic Alphabet Table used for spelling out words and names over the phone.

A as in Alpha

B as in Bravo

C as in Charlie

Does the Spanish language have such a list?

  • As far as I can tell, no. We just say a, be, ce, de, e, efe, ge, hache,... - lazarus1907 Aug 18, 2010 flag
1 Vote

Actually I think I have not been clear enough with my question. I was just wondering if call centre workers use a set of words to clarify letters when in dialogue with clients when it is very important to have all the letters correct, for example in passwords and account numbers. We have this in the UK, for example A for alpha, B for bravo, C for charlie, D for delta etc etc..

Does anyone know of such a system in spanish?

1 Vote

Thanks for all your help. For reference, here is a selection of the most common words according to the various sources in the link provided by Richard-Thom above. Please note there are more possibilities but these were the most common.

  • A – Alicante, Antonio,
  • B – Barcelona, Bilbao, Bogotá, Beatriz
  • C – Carmen, Cádiz, Chocolate
  • D – Dinamarca, Dolores, Domingo
  • E – Enrique, España,
  • F – Francia, Francisco
  • G – Girona, Gibraltar, Guatemala
  • H – Huelva, Historia
  • I – Italia, Inés
  • J – José, Jaén,
  • K – Kilo,
  • L – Lorenzo, Llamar. Llave, Lérida, Lima
  • M – Madrid, Mexico
  • N – Navarra, Nicaragua
  • O – Oviedo, Oceano, Olimpo
  • P – Portugal, París, Paraguay, Pablo
  • Q – Querido, Queso, Quito
  • R – Roma, Ramón, Rafael
  • S – Sábado, Sevilla, Santiago
  • T – Tarragona, Toledo, Tomás, Teresa
  • U – Único, Ursula, Ubeda, Ulises, Uruguay
  • V – Valencia, Venezuela
  • W – Washington
  • X – Xilofóno, Xiquena
  • Y – Yugoslavia, Yegua, Yucatán
  • Z – Zaragoza, Zorro cool smile
0 Vote

My wife (she is Chinese) has never had this problem. What we do when we want to spell a "difficult" word (normally one in English or Chinese), we read it aloud as if it was a Spanish one. Of course, reading English as if it was Spanish sounds completely ridiculous, but after hearing it, we know exactly how to spell it. This method is much much faster than spelling the word. Maybe you could try it. I can assure you that if I pronounced your name the Spanish way, all natives would know exactly how to write it immediately.

Just remember that the Spanish alphabet is practically phonetic, unlike in English.

  • Hello and thanks for the reply. My name is Shane and the problem is the "h" because they don´t pronounce that in spanish. I was also thinking about when trying to distinguish between b, d and v in other words, which all sound very similar in spanish. - Shadon Aug 18, 2010 flag
  • But you are correct, if you see a word written in Spanish it ALWAYS follows the rules of pronunciation and vice versa - unlike English and probably Chinese! - Shadon Aug 18, 2010 flag
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