VHF question - is it all French or what?

tcm

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Loads of us have noticed that "mayday" is very like the french "M'aidez" (help me!) ... and I notice that french VHF procedure also includes "A vous" (your turn) which is just too much like English "over" to be coincidental. We brits can't have just started saying "over" - it's not exactly a sensible single word to say, is it? Much more logical would be the CB-style (tho ghastly) "come back" ?

So what's the story? Perish the thought -was VHF procedure devised with the frenchies in mind? Were they first with their radio checks? Or what?
 

Woodlouse

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Apparently after we snatched the Prime Meridian for the worlds navigation we had to keep the French happy by using French (albeit heavily bastardised) in the radio procedure. Hence Mayday, Pan Pan, Securité, Seelonce, etc.
 

oceanfroggie

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Yes but GMT was abolished some years ago in favour of UTC. Who did that? Look on the bright side, English is the international standard for ATC, but the French are better cooks and make better cars.
 
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Pan pan, as in "en panne" - broken down.

Seelonce feenee = "Silence finis" ie. silence blackout is over.

Secureetay - Securite = safety

etc.
 

VicS

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[ QUOTE ]
but the French make better cars.

[/ QUOTE ] Now that is definitely the first time I have heard that on these forums. I was feeling very ashamed of having a Peugeot and a Renault!
 

tcm

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Merci Monsieur Woodlouse... But when would adoption of french vhf procdures have been? I thought the flippin vhf was less than a nundred years old but the use of Gmt worldwide about 200years old ie when we bashed napoleon, non?
 

Major Catastrophe

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I was told on a signals course that some countries decided that it was time to standardize radio procedure, so the French called a conference. In typical fashion the Brits didn't turn up so the French had a field day making sure that we would be talking some kind of French.

However, Mayday is attributed to Frederick Mockford (Senior radio operator at Croydon Airport) who was asked to come up with a word to indicate distress. He decided that Mayday was a good anglised version of M'aider, as primary air traffic was between Croydon and Le Bourget.
 

BrendanS

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I've been told a similar story, but in the version I heard, the british contingent were late, and the french rushed through as many french words as possible. Never seen the story verified though.
 
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Just had a look on Wikipedia - unfortunately doesn't seem to exaplain why it was adopted (apart from "Mayday", as you described) but does have this list :-

[ QUOTE ]
French phrases in international air-sea rescue
International authorities have adopted a number of words and phrases from French for use by speakers of all languages in voice communications during air-sea rescues. Note that the "phonetic" versions are presented as shown and not in IPA.

SECURITAY
(securité, “safety”) the following is a safety message or warning, the lowest level of danger.
PAN PAN
(panne, “breakdown”) the following is a message concerning a danger to a person or ship, the next level of danger.
MAYDAY
([venez] m'aider, come help me"; note that aidez-moi means "help me") the following is a message of extreme urgency, the highest level of danger. (MAYDAY is used on voice channels for the same uses as SOS on Morse channels.)
SEELONCE
(silence, “silence”) keep this channel clear for air-sea rescue communications.
SEELONCE FEE NEE
(silence fini, “silence is over”) this channel is now available again.
PRU DONCE
(prudence, “prudence”) silence partially lifted, channel may be used again for urgent non-distress communication.
MAY DEE CAL
(médical, “medical”) medical assistance needed.

[/ QUOTE ]
Bear in mind that French was/is the official diplomatic language. I suspect some bartering may have gone on, eg. conceding UTC based on GMT in exchange for... etc.
 

Twister_Ken

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I'm reminded of a story from when the Channel Tunnel had just opened. Brit drivers had been taught some rudimentary French, in case of an emergency when driving on French rails. The vocabulary was not very extensive. One Brit-driven train had a collision with a deer crossing the track. The driver radioed it in.

"J'ai tué une vache avec un pantograph."
 

tcm

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hah! But it's worse now - the car tunnel train has a brit guy who reads out the safety notices (instead of playing a tape) and it is squirmingly awful to hear him read out the french version too - as though the words are english... "Bon jaw tooler mond, hey b'yanver new a eurotunnel"...
 

Woodlouse

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Yes, VHF is well under 100 years old. But the world has been using GMT and the Prime Meridian exclusively for much less than 200 years. I've used a Norweigen chart that was printed in the 60's with longtitude measured from both Greenwich and Oslo and I'll wager the French were still printing charts with their meridian on it long after the rest of the world started using GMT. Only really with GPS have they finally accepted it and even then they insisted on changing the name to UTC.
 

kindredspirit

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[ QUOTE ]
Yes, VHF is well under 100 years old. But the world has been using GMT and the Prime Meridian exclusively for much less than 200 years. I've used a Norweigen chart that was printed in the 60's with longtitude measured from both Greenwich and Oslo and I'll wager the French were still printing charts with their meridian on it long after the rest of the world started using GMT. Only really with GPS have they finally accepted it and even then they insisted on changing the name to UTC.

[/ QUOTE ]

What about this then? /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

From a news-wire agency.

"The United Nations' Geographic Sciences Council (UN-GSC) has announced the location and date of its upcoming forum on the International Date Line. The council will meet in Lisbon, Portugal, from the 3rd to the 7th September 2007, to discuss proposals to relocate the Date Line from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean.

The International Date Line was first laid down by cartographers in 1830 near the 180th meridian and its alignment was adjusted several times by treaty during the nineteenth century. In the last fifty years, however, trade between North America and Asia has grown so rapidly that businesses on both continents have been strained by their workweeks that only fully overlap on three days out of seven. Experts say that moving the Date Line to the Atlantic Ocean has the potential to bring about a doubling of pan-Pacific trade.

Opponents dismissed the economic rationale for the move citing the disruption that would occur between Europe and the two American continents."

/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif
__________________
 

st599

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[ QUOTE ]
Yes, VHF is well under 100 years old. But the world has been using GMT and the Prime Meridian exclusively for much less than 200 years. I've used a Norweigen chart that was printed in the 60's with longtitude measured from both Greenwich and Oslo and I'll wager the French were still printing charts with their meridian on it long after the rest of the world started using GMT. Only really with GPS have they finally accepted it and even then they insisted on changing the name to UTC.

[/ QUOTE ]

GMT and UTC aren't the same. They differ in the way they handle leap seconds.
 

Birdseye

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[ QUOTE ]

, but the French are better cooks and make better cars.

[/ QUOTE ]

The cooks I might accept but the cars - you've got to be joking! Bottom of every list for quality and reliability, evenm lower than Rover when they were going. French cars are uniformly crap and always have been
 
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