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Morse code

Subject Linguistics

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631214816.1999.x


A system used in telegraphy to represent the letters of the alphabet as sequences of dots, spaces and dashes. These are produced by means of an electromagnetically activated stencil on a moving paper strip. Called after its inventor Samuel Morse (1791-1872), the Morse code was patented in Washington DC in 1837. Morse based his assignment of dots and dashes to the letters of the alphabet on frequency considerations, giving the simplest code to the most frequent letter ( table 23 ). The letter e is thus represented by a single dot. As a measure of letter frequencies Morse used the quantities of type held for each letter in a printer's office. The Morse code is used universally, regardless of differing letter frequencies in other languages. Table 23 The Morse code ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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