Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Morse Unicode

Extended Morse Code Characters with Minimal Overhead
  [vote for,

Remember the flick "Independence Day?" Near the end of the film, the various remnants of people scattered across the globe communicate using Morse Code, which is arguably the precursor to modern bit-coded text systems. The problem is, not every language uses the English variant of the Latin alphabet that Morse is based off of. In order to not bog down the dictation of Morse with longer byte strings, and since there's no practical need for multiple languages inside one transmission, I propose an initial signal byte that would identify the language set being transmitted. The message would then follow in the native tongue, and could then use international characters as needed.
RayfordSteele, Oct 25 2002

Morse in other languages http://www.cwi.nl/~...sh/codes/morse.html
Russian, Cyrillic, Japanese, even Esperanto [RayfordSteele, Oct 25 2002, last modified Oct 17 2004]

POW tap code http://www.hsu.edu/...s/ca/POWTapCode.htm
Morse evolving into language. [bungston, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]

dolphin talk (the mammals) http://www.12480.8m.com/essay.html
third paragraph down. [hollajam, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]

"Dolphin Smalltalk" http://www.whysmall...torials/dolphin.htm
(object oriented software...) [hollajam, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]


       Simple, obvious. Croissant.   

       One question, though. What system(s) do non-roman languages currently use?
st3f, Oct 25 2002

       Full disclosure: I don't know anything about cryptology except what I read in "Cryptonomicon." Having said that, I ask: can a code be a language? I.e., why can't a particular string of dots and dashes convey the meaning of a particular word without regard to language? Or is that the same as asking why everyone doesn't speak the same language? Somebody school me!   

       (obligatory Wire reference)
snarfyguy, Oct 25 2002

       So I guess the answer then is that it's not feasible for people to speak, much less think, in binary? I'll accept that.   

       It's hard to believe, by the way, that Rayford's idea isn't commonly practiced. It seems glaringly obvious.
snarfyguy, Oct 26 2002

       Speaking in code is one thing; speaking in binary cannot possibly be possible.
snarfyguy, Oct 28 2002

       I bet that if people were regularly communicating in morse, words would begin to morph and within 1-2 years or so it would be pidgin, another 10 a language. This without contamination by spoken language. An example: the tap code used by US POWs in Vietnam - true binary with only a tap and the absence thereof. See the link.
bungston, Oct 28 2002

       //Speaking in code is one thing; speaking in binary cannot possibly be possible.//   

       We could submerge ourselves on level with the dolphins to learn from these masters...   

hollajam, Oct 29 2002

       a note on ASL: It is different from British Sign Language and every other country's sign language- but nice try.   

       a note on unicode: Let's see you translate kanji, Farsi, and Russian into morse. Don't forget that Spanish, while having many words with translation into other languages has words we've never thought to combine, such as the spanish word for, to grow green again. i'm too lazy to learn that in morse, especially unicode morse.
captivity, Oct 29 2002

       Kanji and Farsi would be a real chore, but Russian I could muddle through. Minored in it...   

       I suppose the real reason this isn't done is that there's simply little need for Morse to be much of anything but local with no need for cross-language functionality.
RayfordSteele, Oct 29 2002

       I have visions of people sitting tapping away for half an hour for one higher-unicode character. Nice idea, though.
sadie, Oct 31 2002

       The Spanish have a single word for 'regreen'?
General Washington, Oct 31 2002

       sadie, re-read. All of the language-specifying overhead comes up front at the message beginning, shortening the character byte length at the tradeoff of being locked into one character set per message.
RayfordSteele, Oct 31 2002

       Rayford: I followed your link (thanks) and found that Japanese morse already has a character for 'switch to world standard morse'. It looks like someone's started to think along these lines.
st3f, Oct 31 2002

       // Would that not make the series of dots and dashes a language of its own, then? //   

       Well, that's what I was thinking, but I'm not sure if it's right. A code can't be a language. A code is simply a system to encrypt a language. But what is a language? One of Merriam - Webster's definitions is:   

       a systematic means of communicating ideas or feelings by the use of conventionalized signs, sounds, gestures, or marks having understood meanings   

       That sounds like it could apply to Morse code. (confused)
snarfyguy, Oct 31 2002

       If you missed that first signal byte the rest of the message would be unintelligible... you would have to try all possible languages to figure out which ones the message made sense in...
aglet, Jan 26 2003

       ag, you could probably throw in some language-guessing algorithms to sort it out, like picking out common phrases or words, analyzing their relative positions, and aligning them with the most common phrases or words in specific languages.
RayfordSteele, Jan 26 2003

       Are you talking about humans decoding this unicode Morse you're sending or are you talking about having machines do it? Speaking as someone who regularly uses Morse code, it would take an incredibly skilled operator to be able to guess at what language was being sent if he or she missed the inital character (not really the initial byte).   

       And even if they did catch it, asking them to also switch languages on command is asking a bit much for most operators. It takes quite a bit of skill and concentration to send and receive in a single language at any reasonable speed.   

       I think that instead of asking folks to learn a bunch of different Morse codes, it would be much easier to teach them all English--at least enough to complete a basic communication. This is, in effect, what amateur radio operators all over the world currently do.   

       Also, bungston says, "I bet that if people were regularly communicating in morse, words would begin to morph.." Again, take a look at how amateur radio operators use the code. There are all kinds of abbreviations in standard usage, and for certain common messages, such as "Happy Birthday" and "Best Regards," amateurs send numbers (http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/forms/fsd3.html).
DonutBoy, Feb 01 2003

       hi all i need russian morse code and international one
eaglebralf, Apr 13 2004

       Er, that's nice. Have you tried googling for the phrases "russian morse code" and "international morse code"?
st3f, Apr 13 2004


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