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你知道SOS为什么是求救信号吗?

The origins of SOS and Mayday

SOS和Mayday是怎么成为求救信号的?

大家可以选择一边听小编的朗读,一边阅读文章内容:

S.O.S. became the worldwide standard distress signal (particularly in maritime use) on 1 July 1908, having first been adopted by the German government three years earlier. 

S.O.S.作为全球通用的求救信号(尤其是在海上的求救),始于1908年7月1日。但是,早在三年前,德国政府就已经采用了S.O.S.作为求救信号。

下面我们就来看看S.O.S.到底是如何成为求救信号的?这个三个字母又代表着什么含义?

The origin of S.O.S.

Various theories have arisen regarding the origins of S.O.S., with suggestions that it is an initialism for "save our ship", "save our souls", or "send out succour". Given its German origins, it would be surprising if S.O.S. stood for an English expression – and in fact these are all examples of folk etymology. S.O.S. doesn’t stand for anything but was chosen because it is easily transmitted in Morse (also known as Morse code), an alphabet named after its inventor Samuel Morse in which letters are represented by combinations of long and short light or sound signals. S.O.S. is transmitted as · · · – – – · · ·; that is, dot-dot-dot, dash-dash-dash, dot-dot-dot.

有不少说法认为,S.O.S.是某些短语(如save our ship、save our souls、 send our succour)的首字母缩略而成的。但是,如果从其源于德国的历史来看,我们一定会觉得很奇怪:为什么德国人发明了这个求救信号,却用的是英文的短语呢?实际上,这些所谓的S.O.S.所代表的短语其实是S.O.S.被通俗化的结果。要知道,S.O.S.其实并没有任何含义,因为当初之所以选择S.O.S.作为求救信号,是因为它很容易通过摩斯密码来发送。摩斯密码的命名源自其发明人Samuel Morse,而摩斯密码的原理是把字母转化为或长或短的光线或声音的信号。而S.O.S.在摩斯密码里的符号是:· · · – – – · · ·,即:三个点+三根短线+三个点。

Within a decade of its standardization, the term S.O.S. was used outside of radio code signals, in the transferred sense of ‘an urgent message or appeal for help’, and has also been used as an abbreviation for various informal phrases beginning with same old (same old stuff, same old story, etc.).

在S.O.S.成为通用的求救信号之后的十年时间里,它就被用于非无限通讯领域了,其含义是“紧急信息或求救”。此外,它也被用作一些一same old开头的非正式短语的缩略形式,比如same old stuff、same old story等。

The origin of Mayday

Mayday, an international radio distress signal used especially by ships and aircraft, has a more linguistic origin than the pragmatic approach of S.O.S. Although a connection to the month of May might seem likely, it is actually an anglicization of the French m’aidez or m’aider, meaning ‘help me’.

S.O.S.被用作求救信号,主要是出于实用的需要,而Mayday成为国际通用的求救信号(尤其在轮船和飞机上),则更主要是因为语言渊源。尽管这个词语的出现,有可能跟五月有那么点关系,但它其实是源于法语单词m’aidez或m’aider,意思是“救命”。

It is believed to have been chosen in 1923 by Frederick Stanley Mockford, a senior radio officer in London’s Croydon Airport. The earliest example in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), according to current research, is from an article in the British newspaper The Times, which notes that Mayday is chosen in preference to S.O.S. “owing to the difficulty of distinguishing the letter ‘S’ by telephone”.

据说,Mayday是在1923年,由当时英国伦敦克里登机场的无限通讯高级军官Frederick Stanley Mockford选择使用的。根据当前的研究,《牛津英语词典》中最早提到该词的例子源自英国的报纸《泰晤士报》,报纸中提到,与S.O.S.相比,Mayday被优先选作求救信号,“是因为在电话里很难听清字母S”。


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