Pointless Morse question

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Pointless Morse question

Postby lars » Mon Feb 20, 2017 1:24 pm

Hi all

It occurred to me to wonder...

Why is there a specific Morse representation of the "at" @ sign, which is six key-presses long:

.--.-.

when the word "at" is only three key-presses long:

.- -

?

Similarly, the Morse representation of a full-stop/dot is:

.-.-.-

when the word "dot" has just the same number of key-presses, and makes some kind of sense:

-.. .. -

Just wondering if there was a logical reason for this.

Best wishes
Lars
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Re: Pointless Morse question

Postby G4RMT » Mon Feb 20, 2017 3:13 pm

Can't comment on the 'at' sign - I didn't learn that one - but you're forgetting that it's not dashes and dots, it's musical - so di-dah-di-dah-di-dah sends much more smoothly - and sounds 'right' whereas dot is not what you put - that's "dit' - and of course it's not really dot anywhay - it's period, or a full stop. Dot would be dah-dit dit dah dah dah dah, so you'd sound like Sting.

Sometimes CW just doesn't work when spelled out on paper or screen. My ex-Submariner teacher always made phases musical - making nice rhythms - like his fluidity sentence - "best bent wire" which kind of sounds like a drum solo!
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Re: Pointless Morse question

Postby lars » Mon Feb 20, 2017 3:46 pm

Yeah dot/period was a bad example and, yes, I said "dit" when I meant to say "dot". Still, in the old telegram/cablegram days, punctuation was spelled out in letters ("come quickly stop"), I guess because at the time there were no Morse punctuation symbols.

I can see how, if we're prepared to accept five-symbol characters for numbers, we might as well use the spare five-symbol characters for punctuation -- there are twenty spare after all, taking into account the ten digits. But six-symbol characters? There are potentially 64 of these, and who's doing to learn that lot?

But it was the @ sign that struck me particularly. Surely it's easier to code (and remember)

dit-dah dah

than

dit-dah-dah-dit-dah-dit ?
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Re: Pointless Morse question

Postby m0lsx » Mon Feb 20, 2017 5:45 pm

One thing worth remembering is the @ symbol & the word at, are two different things & CW is sent at times, to people whose first or even second language is not English.
I use to work in a Childrens home & we always had at least two foreign students volunteering with us & I have seen people taught American English have real issues with British English. Especially where two foreign volunteers (students) were trying to talk to each other in a second language (English) where they both spoke a different version of English.
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Re: Pointless Morse question

Postby G4RMT » Mon Feb 20, 2017 6:20 pm

dit-dah dah

than

dit-dah-dah-dit-dah-dit ?

Oddly, but no - if you send dit-dah-dah-dit-dah-dit - it's a repeating rhythm - but dit-dah = A and dah = T would just be A T, which would work perfectly for me - but I guess like we have grammar pedants on the net, we have punctuation pedants on CW. For what it's worth, punctuation wasn't even in my test. I'd learnt the common ones, but the Post Office fella didn't send me any at all that I remember.

My most common one was ........ I used that very often.
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Re: Pointless Morse question

Postby lars » Mon Feb 20, 2017 8:17 pm

The point about @ not being read as "at" in languages other than English is fair enough. But Morse seems to me to be stuffed full of abbreviations that don't seem to make much sense in English. How does "AR" comes to stand for "your turn to speak now" ? Perhaps it did stand for something at some point, but I don't know if it does now. "DE" I read as the French for "from", but I don't know if that's where it comes from. Someone told me that "SK" (end of transmission) is an abbreviation for "silent key", but these days I can only equate "silent key" with "deceased."

I also take the point about rhythmicity, but a lot of Morse doesn't sound rhythmic to me. "CQ" feels particularly cumbersome, but I guess that's a matter of opinion. Anyway, I find two-letter abbreviations, like DE/SK/AR a lot easier to remember than six-element patterns. Still, I appreciate that it's unlikely to be changed on my account.
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Re: Pointless Morse question

Postby m0lsx » Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:26 pm

I don't know how relevant it is here, but my past jobs use to involve the use of sign language. Mostly the simple Makaton, but I also picked up & used a little British Sign Language (BSL) & BSL like Morse has it's it's own rules & etiquettes.
Neither Morse nor BSL conform, in some respects, to the same standards as normal vocal communication. But neither need to, they are not a spoken language & they are not used outside of their own communities. So they only need to fit the needs of their community.

Edited to add. Many hearing people find BSL to be at the least curt & at times impolite when they first start using it in the wider deaf community, but that is because it has it's own etiquette, not because it is any of the above.
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Re: Pointless Morse question

Postby Minus1 » Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:29 pm

Email addresses require an '@' sign, and the user and domain (such as "billatmicrosoft.com") might not always be so obvious.
I reserve the right to ignore people who have made no attempt to the read the manual, and expect others to do it for them.
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