Morse code can be spoken by verbally pronouncing the dot and dash combinations that represent each letter. However, it was not initially designed to be a spoken coding system, but rather a way to communicate the alphabet one letter at a time through electric sound signals.
Let’s look at exactly how you can speak Morse code and how to learn the rules of pronunciation and timing.
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How to Speak Morse Code
Before learning how to speak Morse code, you should be aware that actually talking the code is not the normal way it is used.
But that doesn’t mean that it won’t aid in the learning process.
The best way to learn how to vocally speak Morse code is to just pronounce the dots and dashes as you learn the code normally.
Here are the few steps in which a person would normally start learning Morse code:
- Start by memorizing the representing dot and dashes for each letter in the alphabet.
- You can also learn the Morse code for numbers, punctuation, and special characters.
- Study the timing rules for the length of each signal and the spaces in between.
- Then you can start tapping the code with your finger, on a radio, or on a Morse code app.
- After that, it’s all about practicing to improve your words per minute speed.
So while you are in the learning process you can simply pronounce the dots and dashes while you learn and practice tapping.
Morse Code Pronunciation Rules
There are just two basic rules when it comes to speaking or writing in Morse code:
- A dot is spelled and pronounced “di”(like dip without the “p”) unless it is the last dot or dash representing the letter, then it is pronounced “dit.”
- A dash is always spelled pronounced “dah”(like dawn without the “n”).
After that, you just have to learn and follow the normal rules of timing for Morse code.
Morse Code Timing Rules
The timing in Morse code is based around the length of one dot or “dit.” From there you use the length of that “dit” as a unit of time.
- Dot= 1 unit of time
- Dash = 3 units
- The gap or space between dots and dashes for a character = 1 unit
- The gap between the characters of a word = 3 units
- The gap between two words = 7 units
The letter “h”, for example, is four dits or “di-di-di-dit”, so there would be one unit of time between each “dit.”
So basically your “dah”(dash) is going to be 3 times as long as a “di” (dot), and a gap between two letters in a word is 3 times as long as a “di” (dot) as well.
Then when you are done spelling a word you would leave space that is 7 units of time, or 7 times as long as a “di” (dot).
The reason it is based on the speed at which you can send a dit is that not everyone is able to communicate Morse code at the same speed.
A person may not able to send a light signal with a flashlight as fast as if you were sending signals on a radio.
There just needs to be consistency with your own signals so people can easily tell what you are trying to say.
Here are two more examples to help make the timing rules even more clear:
Example 1. (SOS in Morse code is “… — …”)
This is written or spoken “di-di-dit dah-dah-dah di-di-dit.”
In this example, there are 21 total units of time, 6 for the dits(one each), 9 for the dahs(3 each), and 6 for the spaces in between the letters(3 each).
So if it takes you 1 second to send a dit, the whole SOS message should take 21 seconds total.
Example 2. (The short sentence and question “Where are you from?” is “.– …. . .-. . / .- .-. . / -.– — ..- / ..-. .-. — — ..–..”)
This is written or spoken “di-dah-dah di-di-di-dit dit di-dah-dit dit / di-dah di-dah-dit dit / dah-di-dah-dah dah-dah-dah di-di-dah / di-di-dah-dit di-dah-dit dah-dah-dah dah-dah di-di-dah-dah-di-dit.”
Remember to give 3 units of time to the space in between letters(this example has 18) and 7 units of time to space in between words (this example has three).
The question mark “..–..” (di-di-dah-dah-di-dit) is considered part of the last word.
Using Morse code vocally is not really necessary other than to help you learn and become more proficient in the code itself.
When someone says “speak Morse code” they are almost always talking just using or communicating with the code and not about speaking it with your mouth.
Some people also just do not know enough about the code to realize it was developed to be communicated in other ways than vocally.
The being said, there is nothing really wrong with really speaking it, and the fact that you can speak it just proves how versatile the code really is.