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Is Morse Code Universal?

universal morse code
Updated on 01/10/24

Morse code was created in America but is it universal?

Morse code is universal because it can be adapted to work with any language. The original Morse code system was designed for English, but later became more language inclusive when it was updated to be the International Morse Code. 

The SOS signal was also created from Morse code and is recognized around the world as the universal distress signal.

Other Related Morse Code Guides:

How is Morse Code Universal?

Morse code is universal in its ability to encode languages with its signals so that they can be communicated in different, more versatile ways.

Morse code was invented for use with the telegraph, which was a revolutionary technology that many other countries quickly looked to adopt. Non-English speaking countries even created their own code for the telegraph or tweaked the original code to work with their language.

A German man did just that and ended up creating the beginnings of the International Morse Code, which could better be used with more languages.

Languages that use the Latin alphabet can use it with relatively few changes as they share that alphabet with English. However, countries with more complex languages, like China and Japan, had to be more creative to cover their many symbols.

Morse code simply works by assigning combinations of a short signal called a “dot” and a longer one called a “dash” to characters within a language.

how morse code works

This means each letter, along with desired numbers, punctuation, and special characters have their own unique combination of these signals in Morse.

For example, in International Morse Code, an “A” is represented by (• ─), the number “7” by (─ ─ ─ • •), and a comma by (• • ─ ─).

Some of the different ways you can communicate languages through Morse code include:

  • Sound Pulses Over a Radio
  • Flashing Light Signals
  • Tapping Your Hands or Feet
  • Blinking Your Eyes

ways to communicate morse code

People still learn and use Morse code today. In fact, Morse code has been used for over 150 years on land, sea, and air all over the world and was a pioneer for long-distance communication forever.