Now, the VOA Learning English program, Words and Their Stories.
Different people have different ways of saying things – their own special expressions. Each week we tell about some popular American expressions.
What you are listening to is a call for help. It is the Morse code distress signal S.O.S. For years, telegraph operators used Morse code to communicate across the country and around the world.
A skilled operator could send and receive 30 or 40 words a minute. In the language of Morse code, the letter “S” is three short dots and the letter “O” is three longer dashes. Put them together and you have S.O.S.
These sounds represent the international call for help because they are easy to recognize. Now, it is simply known as S.O.S.
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