The Word - Stop - In Telegrams

Discussion in 'Evolution of Language' started by Hal Pollner, Dec 20, 2019.

  1. Hal Pollner

    Hal Pollner Very Well-Known Member
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    In movies, those treading a telegram aloud will always say "stop" instead of pausing at the end of a sentence to indicate a period.

    This is supposed to be dramatic, but it's stupid and corny.

    Hal
     
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  2. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Senior Staff
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    Actually, there was a very good reason why the telegram said “stop”, and not just a pause at the end of the sentence, and I would have thought that you already knew that, @Hal Pollner .
    The telegraph messages were sent in Morse code, which is a series of dots and dashes, so there was no way to simply put a dot at the end of the sentence, so they just wrote out stop in Morse code.

    Here is what I found online :
    One take on the STOP in telegrams to indicate a period is that in WWI that practice became widespread in telegrams containing military orders, after a few were misunderstood, and the practice continued generally.

    Another is that STOP was free, but the Morse Code for punctuation was charged for. Some references refer to charging for punctuation at a premium rate, so using words for punctuation marks was cheaper. And STOP is four characters; the Morse Code for a period is di-dah-di-dah-di-dah, six “characters.”
     
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    Last edited: Dec 20, 2019
  3. Lois Winters

    Lois Winters Very Well-Known Member
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    You have to pay for a period, so instead of being charged for a lousy dot, people began using "stop" in order to pay for a full word. I don't know whey they didn't just write the word period.
     
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  4. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    For a time, and perhaps yet, the period was referred to as a stop, as that is its function. I don't know whether that was the result of its use in telegraphy messages or whether that was the reason it was used, however.
     
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  5. Hal Pollner

    Hal Pollner Very Well-Known Member
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    I knew the Morse Code, as I had to pass it to get my Ham License (N6CEY) years ago.
    I still remember it!

    Thanks anyway, Yvonne, Lois, and Ken!

    Signed: DI DI DI DIT.....DI DAH.....DI DAH DI DIT
     
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  6. Lois Winters

    Lois Winters Very Well-Known Member
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    I had to learn Morse Code for the same reason, Hal. As did my son.
     
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  7. Bess Barber

    Bess Barber Very Well-Known Member
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    I think this makes learning morse code easier.........
    images - 2019-12-21T201830.280.jpeg
     
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  8. Hal Pollner

    Hal Pollner Very Well-Known Member
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    That's a Horrible way to learn Morse, Bess! I know it's not your idea, but you chose to post it anyway, which is fine!:)

    Harold
     
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