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spanish phonetic alphabet?
Thread poster: Paulos72
Paulos72

English to Spanish
Feb 10, 2006

Is there such a thing a Spanish (Spain) specific phonetic alphabet or is the NATO version the accepted norm:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NATO_phonetic_alphabet

It strikes me even the first letter, "aplha" would be recognised in Spain as "alfa" and thus the international alphabet is a little odd with the nature of the Spanish language.

Any guidance welcome.


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Robert Tucker
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:01
German to English
+ ...
Spanish Telephone Spelling Alphabet Feb 10, 2006

A Alicia
B Berta
C Carlos
D Dora
E Eva
F Francisco
G Guillermina
H Hombre
I Inés
J Julia
K Kilo
L Luisa (Ll=Llama)
M Maria
N Nora (ñ=eñe)
O Ofelia
P Paula
Q Quintal
R Rosa
S Sara
T Teresa
U Ursula
V Victoria
W Washington
X Equis
Y Yolanda
Z Zeta/Zaragoza

Taken from "The Translator's Handbook" (1983)


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Elías Sauza  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 05:01
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Is your question merely about Phonetics? Feb 11, 2006

An aspect of Phonetics deals with the place of the mouth where the sounds are produced and other events that affect these sounds; that is, the sounds are categorized according to the anatomical structures that intervene in the generation of the language sounds. Each letter of the alphabet is described with one or more special characters developed into a system that represents the different sounds (values) of the letters. The different sounds of a letter in particular are affected by the sounds of the letters that surround that letter in a given word. In the following link you can see the alphabet with a description of these characters. http://www.alpi.ca/phonetics.php

Elías


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Paulos72

English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
alphabet Feb 11, 2006

thanks for the example

it would be interesing to see if other concurr.

i do get teh feeling that the spanish themseleves invent phonetic equivalents more often than use the NATO version or the one you provide......for example they tend to say "z de zaragoza" or "b de barcelona" "t de toledo" whereas from my experience the british are more likely to use alpha,beta,charlie............maybe its a police thing where in the uk the police culture/parlance has entered the living room through so much exposure to tv programmes.


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Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:01
Member (2011)
Multiplelanguages
+ ...
definition of Phonetics with respect to Phonology Feb 11, 2006

Elías Sauza wrote:
An aspect of Phonetics deals with the place of the mouth where the sounds are produced and other events that affect these sounds; that is, the sounds are categorized according to the anatomical structures that intervene in the generation of the language sounds. Each letter of the alphabet is described with one or more special characters developed into a system that represents the different sounds (values) of the letters. The different sounds of a letter in particular are affected by the sounds of the letters that surround that letter in a given word. In the following link you can see the alphabet with a description of these characters. http://www.alpi.ca/phonetics.php


Elías,
Your definition above focuses on more on the sub-area of articulatory phonetics plus the field of phonology.

The definitions of Phonetics (and its sub-areas) and Phonology are below:

* Phonetics
Phonetics is the study of speech sounds.
or also defined as:
Goals of phonetic science
- Identification
- Description
- Classification
- Generalization

* Areas of phonetics

- Articulatory phonetics
The study of how speech sounds are produced by the brain and mouth.
or also defined as:
The study of the physiological mechanisms of speech

- Acoustic phonetics
The study of the physics of speech sounds.
or also defined as:
The study of the physical properties of sound waves produced when we speak.

- Auditory phonetics
The study of how sounds are perceived by the ear and brain.
or also defined as:
The study of the perception of sound, as mediated by the ear, auditory nerve, and brain.

see:

Introduction to Phonetics
http://ling.wisc.edu/~purnell/ling306/F05_Intro.pdf

LING 101: Phonetics
http://www.ling.udel.edu/idsardi/101/notes/phonetics.html

What are Phonetics and Phonology?
http://www.coli.uni-saarland.de/groups/WB/Phonetics/General/what_is.php

The Phonicon
http://www.ethnologue.com/tools_docs/phonicon.asp

* Alphabets to describe the sounds:

- The International Phonetic Alphabet
http://www.arts.gla.ac.uk/ipa/ipa.html
The International Phonetics Association designed an alphabet in which each letter indicates one unique sound. It is designed to be able to transcribe the speech sounds of any human language.

- SAMPA: Speech Assessment Methods Phonetic Alphabet (computer readable phonetic alphabet)
http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/sampa/home.htm

- X-SAMPA
X-SAMPA is an ASCII method of transcribing the IPA.
http://www.i-foo.com/~kturtle/misc/xsamchart.gif

- WordBet
http://muster.ucd.ie/pubs/KellyINTERA2004.pdf
http://www.clsp.jhu.edu/research/malach/pubs/asru03-syl.pdf
http://sail.usc.edu/publications/syllable-journal.pdf

- ARPAbet
http://www.billnet.org/phon/arpabet.html
http://www.telecom.tuc.gr/~ntsourak/tutorial_arpabet.htm
http://www.ifp.uiuc.edu/speech/courses/minicourse/transcriptions.pdf


* Phonology: distinguishing between sets of combined sounds based on associated meaning

Once you start combining "sounds" and try to distinguish some sets of sounds from other sets of sounds (such as: ma, pa, ba, ta, ka, etc) in a language based on the fact that a difference in meaning can be associated with each of the sets, then it becomes the area of study known as phonology.

Jeff

------
Jeff Allen, Ph.D.
Paris, France
http://www.geocities.com/jeffallenpubs/


[Edited at 2006-02-14 23:10]


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Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:01
Member (2011)
Multiplelanguages
+ ...
specific Telecommunications purpose of the NATO phonetic alphabet Feb 11, 2006

Paulos72 wrote:

Is there such a thing a Spanish (Spain) specific phonetic alphabet or is the NATO version the accepted norm:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NATO_phonetic_alphabet

It strikes me even the first letter, "aplha" would be recognised in Spain as "alfa" and thus the international alphabet is a little odd with the nature of the Spanish language.


See my posting above on the different types of standardized and widely-accepted phonetic alphabets in the area of linguistics. The IPA is by no doubt the most widely accepted phonetic alphabet. SAMPA, WordBet and ARPABet are more or less used by researchers in the area of natural language speech processing.

I forgot to add the following to that list:
* American Phonetic Alphabet (APA)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Americanist_phonetic_notation

I have used the IPA in the majority of my work in linguistics for the past 15 years. As for the APA, I only recall using it for writing papers in linguistics for some of my post-graduate work at an American university. As for WordBet and ARPABet, I only used them for the description of sounds for the development of speech system projects in the late 90s.

If you are trying to describe Spanish phonetic sounds, IPA is the most widely accepted alphabet.

Now back to the NATO Phonetic Alphabet....

This alphabet is primarily used for designating existing "letters" in a language when you need to spell a word (usually a code word) out over a voice only telecommunications channel (eg, phone). All members of the armed forces (at least for the USA) memorize this set of words to spell out important codes and words while they are talking by phone, in order to avoid any misunderstanding of "letters" due to the close pronunciation of one letter with another letter which can be misunderstood through a voice channel.

For example, if I want tell someone my name by phone, and they do not know how to spell it, I would simply say the following with the NATO version:
Juliette
Echo
Foxtrot
Foxtrot

Alpha
Lima
Lima
Echo
November

I have seen the NATO alphabet most often used in the transmission of information such as code names, log-ins, passwords, etc.

One of the reasons for this NATO system is that the names of "letters" pronounced by a voice channel can be ambiguous due to pronunciation differences between people combined with the quality of the voice channel. For example. If I say "the letter F" (pronounced /Ef/), this can be easily misunderstood and confused with the letter "S" (pronounced /Es/), simply because both of the letters are voiceless fricative consonants with F being a labiodental fricative and S being an alveolar fricative. Telecommunication-based voice channels have a difficult time distinguishing between the sounds, and they can sound the same to the recipient of the message.

Each of the words of the NATO alphabet is supposed to remove any potential ambiguity of pronunciation of the letters.

For the common civilian with no background in memorizing such codes, while on the phone with someone in a case of confusion over which letter is being pronounced, we often invent our own coding systems, often at the spur of the moment with the first word that comes to mind. For example:

J as in Jack
E as in Excellent
F as in Friday
F as in Friday

A as in Alpha (just because this one is usually known)
L as in Last
L as in Last
E as in Excellent
N as in No

Unfortunately, this type of coding system is temporary and is usually forgetten, and a new system with different word is invented each time it is needed. The next time I might use "Eggs" instead of "Excellent" and "Fries" instead of "Friday" if I've just finished making a meal at home.

Jeff
------
Jeff Allen, Ph.D.
Paris, France
http://www.geocities.com/jeffallenpubs/


[Edited at 2006-02-14 23:10]


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Robert Tucker
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:01
German to English
+ ...
Secretarial use Feb 11, 2006

The English version alongside the one I quoted starts: Apple, Benjamin/Bertie, Charles/Charlie, David, Edward, Frederick/Freddie ...

These and the French, German, Italian, Swedish and American spelling alphabets also there will, I believe, predate NATO. (There is also another International one).

As far I know they were principally taught in secretarial schools in the days before telephone lines were as clear as they generally are today, i.e. nowadays it is generally thought enough just to spell out a word with the usual name for the letter. If one has a standard alphabet, of course, it makes it even clearer to understand if everyone you need to spell something to knows it rather than inventing something on the spur of the moment as we've probably all done.

"The Translator's Handbook" (1983) states:

"When spelling out names and words on the telephone, possibly with poor audio reception, standard alphabets are useful as the sounds and stresses are designed to minimize confusion. When spelling out, only the phonetic words - Alpha, Bravo etc - should be used, not the time-wasting 'A for Alpha' or 'B for Beta'. With practice it becomes a safe way of taking dictation of translations even in unknown (Latin alphabet) language."


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