Say It Right Series
speak chinese like a native

Could you spell that please Sir?

Posted by brendan July 29, 2007 in the Group General Discussion.

Whenever I book a hotel room by phone, I invariably end up spelling my surname (as you might expect). It can be interesting given how easily one letter can be confused with another over the phone (I really like the German system of using first names to represent letters, Lawlor is rendered as Ludwig Anton Wilhelm Ludwig Otto Rickard) I'm going to be in China for 3 weeks at the beginning of 2008 and I've been thinking about all the interesting little challenges that will lie ahead: like ringing up a hotel/hostel in advance and making a booking. How on earth can I explain to somebody over the phone what my name is, if I'm speaking (something approaching) Chinese, and given the apparent absence of the concept of spelling?

I'm guessing that I'm not the first to encounter this problem. Any wisdom?

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