Is spelled spelled or spelled out

Spell

As Spell is the process of naming the individual letters of a word one after the other. People spell when they want to tell themselves the correct spelling of a word or phrase. Usually the letter is named after the letter name (C ~ Ce, F ~ Eff, J ~ Jot). The method is prone to errors, however, as sounds can be overheard. That is why there are so-called spelling tables that define a word for each letter.

During a dictation or a one-to-one conversation such a spelling board is of course obsolete. It is useful, however, if you are spelling over the phone or some other radio connection that is prone to interference. Therefore it is only logical that the terms Spelling alphabet, Telephone alphabet, Radio alphabet as Aviator alphabet used synonymously with spelling tablet.

The history of the German spelling boards goes back to the Berlin telephone directory from 1890. At that time, numbers were assigned to the individual letters of the alphabet, which corresponded to the position in the alphabet. The A. is the first letter and therefore had the one, the B. the Two etc.

The word Hello would look like this: Eight one twelve twelve fifteen. Soon, however, words were used for the letters because they were much easier to memorize. That, of course, corresponded better to the sense of interference-free transmission. Various systems developed in the process.

Note: In the following we would like to introduce the various spelling boards and focus on the German, Austrian, Swiss and international systems. Then digits are introduced and the German letter names are prepared for spelling.

Spelling boards for spelling

The following overview is based on the current standard. In Germany, DIN 5009 lays down the rules for dictation that is easy to write, in Austria it is ÖNORM A 1081, whereby the ICAO / NATO alphabet was defined by NATO itself.

characterGermanySwitzerlandAustriaITU / ICAO / NATO
Letters (Consonants, vowels, umlauts)
A.AntonAnnaAntonAlfa
ÄtroubleAshestrouble
B.BertaBertaBertaBravo
C.CaesarCaesarCaesarCharlie
ChCharlotte[2]
D.DoraDanielDoradelta
E.EmilEmilEmilecho
F.FriedrichFriedrichFriedrichFoxtrot
GGustavGustavGustavgolf
HHeinrichHeinrichHeinrichhotel
I.IdaIdaIdaIndia
JJuliusJacobJulius[3]Juliett
KMerchantEmperorKonradkilo
L.LudwigLeopoldLudwigLima
M.MarthaMarieMarthaMike
NNorth PoleNiklausNorth Pole[2]November
OOttoOttoOttoOscar
ÖeconomistÖrlikonAustria
PPaulaPeterPaulafather
QsourceSo to saysourceQuebec
R.RichardpinkRichardRomeo
S.Samuel[1]SophieSiegfriedSierra
Schschoolschool
ßEszettsharp S
TTheodoreTheodoreTheodoretango
UUlrichUlrichUlrichuniform
ÜCockinessCockinessevil
V.ViktorViktorViktorVictor
W.WilhelmWilhelmWilhelmwhiskey
XXanthippeXaverXaverX ray
YYpsilonYverdonYpsilonYankee
ZZacharias[1]ZurichZurich[2]Zulu
numbers (only according to ITU / ICAO / NATO)
Number, designation, pronunciation
0zeroZEE-RO
1OneWUN
2TwoTOO
3ThreeTREE
4FourFOW-ER
5FiveFIFE
6SixSIX
7SevenSEV-EN
8EightAIT
9NineNIN-ER

[1] There are also deviations from the DIN standard Siegfried and Zeppelin second hand.
[2] There are also deviations from the Ö-Norm Christine, Norbert and Zeppelin common.
[3] Nevertheless, it is predominantly in Austria John second hand.


Spell with the names of the letters

The above spelling boards are primarily suitable for spelling on the phone. The common practice in conversation or dictation, however, is spelling using the names of the individual letters. In German, the letters are designated as follows.

The following overview names the German capital letters and lowercase letters in descending order, the pronunciation according to the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), the spelling of the pronunciation and the spelling, as it can be found in the common dictionaries (fat).

Capital letterLowercase letterIPASpellings
A.a[aː]Ah, A.
ÄÄ[ɛː]Uh, Ä; also A umlaut
B.b[beː]Beh, Bee, Be
C.c[tseː]Ceh, Cee, Ce
D.d[deː]Deh, Dee, De
E.e[eː]Eh, Ee, E
F.f[ɛf]Ef, Eff
GG[geː]Go Gee, Ge
HH[Ha]Hah hah
I.i[iː]I, I
Jj[jɔt]Jott, Jot
Kk[kaː]Kah, Ka
L.l[ɛl]Ell, El
M.m[ɛm]Emm, Em
Nn[ɛn]Enn, En
OO[O]Oh, O
Öö[O]Öh, Ö; also O-umlaut
Pp[peː]Peh, pee, pe
Qq[kuː]Quh, Qu
R.r[ɛr]Err, Er
S.s[ɛs]Eating It
ß[ɛs’t͡sɛt]Esszett, Eszett, Esszet, Eszet, also spicy S
Tt[teː]Teh, tea, Te
Uu[uː]Uh, U
Üü[yː]Üh, Ü; also U-umlaut
V.v[faʊ]Vau
W.w[veː]Weh, Wee, We
Xx[iks]Ix
Yy[‚ʏpsilɔn]Ypsilon
Zz[t͡sɛt]Zett, Zet
Overview: The most important things about spelling at a glance
  • Spelling means that a word or phrase is spoken letter by letter. This is usually done using the letter name, but can also be done with so-called spelling tables for better understanding.
  • Spelling boards are primarily intended for spelling via radio and are therefore used in telephony, but also in the military. The individual letters are replaced by words. There are different spelling boards.
  • The background is that the words can be better understood. Since the words that are used for spelling usually consist of several syllables, the probability of a successful transmission is higher, since interference noises only slightly affect the spelling and are hardly significant.