Spelling latin characters

How do you spell latin characters in japanese, like the words CD, DVD or other abbreviations? What is the pronunciation of the single latin letters A, B, C, etc.?

Usually the English way with a Japanese accent. C becomes しー


From experience, in writing they usually just use the Latin letters, but pronounced as the closest Japanese phonetic representation. For instance, DVD would be read ディーブイディー. I couldn’t find a list of the “official” pronunciations for individual letters, but if you search for a letter in quotes on jisho.org it will give you the pronunciation.


This is extra confusing for me because in Slovene the C sound isn’t like S but like TS.

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Small question, why would the katakana transliteration of DVD be ディーブイディー but not ディービディー. Is there a specific reason on why there’s ブィ instead of ビ?

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I followed @maggiekarp’s hint and used jisho to compile a table:

 A エイ 
 B ベー 
 C シー 
 D ディ 
 E イー 
 F エフ 
 G ジー 
 H エイチ 
 I アイ 
 J ジェイ 
 K ケイ 
 L エル 
 M エム 
 N エヌ 
 O オー 
 P ピー 
 Q キュー 
 R アール 
 S エス 
 T ティー 
 U ユー 
 V ヴィー 
 W ダブリュー 
 X エックス 
 Y ワイ 
 Z ゼッド

Most are obvious, but some (like W) are interesting.


Also remember that initials in names are usually not transliterated in katakana. So George W. Bush is ジョージ・W・ブッシュ and W. E. B. Du Bois is W・E・B・デュボイス


Because ブイ is how one writes the standalone letter V.

For example if you look up Combattler V on Japanese wikipedia you will see the reading written out as:

ちょうでんじロボ コン・バトラーブイ


H can also be pronounced エッチ - it’s where “ecchi” comes from (because H is the first letter of “hentai”)

Side note, not all initialisms are pronounced in Japanese the same way they are in English. For example. UFO is more often ユーフォ rather than ユーエフオー (though the latter reading does exist).


Thanks for making me aware of how UFO is pronounced in English, didn’t even know that!


Dropping us the necessary cultural knowledge.

I’m curious how you thought it was pronounced before. Isn’t it like any other initialism such as FBI, TNT, DVD?

In German, UFO is pronounced ufo (ウーフォ). There are some other abbreviations that are pronounced as a word, e.g. NATO. A nice example in Germany is BUND (Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland).
(I corrected ユーフォ to ウーフォ for the german pronunciation.)

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Aye, in English, that’s the difference between an acronym and an initialism. One is pronounced as letters (like FBI or CSIRO), while the other is pronounced as a word (like UNESCO, or RADAR). I can never remember which is which, though.


I thought it was more like in Japanese, ユーフォ
I guess it’s just bad influence from my native language (German), where all the examples you listed have the letters pronounced individually, while UFO is pronounced as one word.


Unesco and radar are acronyms.

The ones where you pronounce the initial letters separately, are the initialisms.


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