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WORDS AND THEIR STORIES - Mayday

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May 1 is also known as May Day and is celebrated in many countries as a spring festival or as an international holiday honoring workers
May 1 is also known as May Day and is celebrated in many countries as a spring festival or as an international holiday honoring workers

Now, the VOA Special English program WORDS AND THEIR STORIES.

A listener from Venezuela sent us a question about the meaning of the expression mayday. He wrote that he often hears this expression in movies.

Mayday is an emergency code word. It is used around the world in voice communications. You might see a war movie in which an airplane has been hit by rocket fire. The pilot gets on his radio and calls "mayday, mayday, mayday" to tell that his plane is in danger of crashing to the ground.

Mayday has nothing to do with the month of May. It comes from the French expressions "venez m'aider," or "m'aidez," which mean "help me."

Frederick Stanley Mockford created the mayday call signal in the nineteen twenties. Mockford was a radio officer at Croydon Airport in London. He was asked to think of a word that could be used in an emergency. The word had to be easily understood by all pilots and airport workers. Much of the air traffic at that time was between Croydon Airport and Le Bourget Airport near Paris, France. So he proposed the word mayday.

Today, many groups use the word to mean a life-threatening emergency. The call is always given three times to prevent mistaking it for some similar sounding words.

Many other French words are commonly used in English. One of these words is even in the Special English Word Book. It is sabotage. It means to damage or destroy as an act of subversion against an organization or nation.

You may have heard the term laissez-faire to describe a kind of economic or political policy. It means to leave alone and not interfere.  It was first used in France in the eighteenth century.

In the business world, entrepreneur is another French word. It means a person who starts and operates a new business and has responsibility for any risks involved.

Many French words are used in the arts. For example, a film noir is a movie about murder and other crimes. These films were popular in the nineteen forties and nineteen fifties. Anything in art, music or literature which is very modern or ahead of its time is called avant-garde.

If you are looking for a job, you must prepare your résumé. This document lists all of your education, skills and experience. Something that is one of a kind and like no other thing is called unique.

The French are famous for their food. All cooks need to know how to sauté. This is frying something quickly in a small amount of oil or butter. When you are eating at a restaurant, the server may tell you bon appétit, which means good appetite, or enjoy your meal. And if you go away, someone may wish you bon voyage or have a good trip.

This program was written by Shelley Gollust. I'm Faith Lapidus. You can find more WORDS AND THEIR STORIES at our website, www.unsv.com.

网友的学习评论(23条):
作者:dio
Em ,i learn the word that sabotoge,laiseez faire,unique ,bon vovage ,avantgarde
作者:sannxi
En,I learn the word mayday, sabotage, entrepeneur, resume, film noir, avantgarde, unique, saute, bon appetit and bon voyage, that's good.
作者:xuchunwen
Today i I learned the words srch as mayday, sabotage, entrepeneur, resume, film noir, avantgarde, unique, saute, bon appetit and bon voyage, that's good.
作者:Ricardo
It's a tragedy that workers' day bears the same form as an emergency code.
作者:WingCheung
It's so interesting that the words "unique" comes from the French , not untill then do I learn this.
作者:Jefferson Liu
Interesting.
作者:cbc391
it very good ,thank you !
作者:winsen
SO..why not chinese...
作者:Bellhuang
mayday,mayday,mayday
作者:Kaka Wang
Venenzuela, mayday mayday mayday, emergency, have nonthing to do with, life-threatening, subversion, sabotage, term, laissez-faire, entrepreneur, film nior, literrature, avant-garde, resume, unique, saute, appetite, bon voyage
作者:一梵
the most interesting and meaningful word i have heard is family, which is explained father and mother i love you.
作者:Ivy
mayday mayday~ help me, help me! very interesting!
作者:zaiming
seems that "bon" in French means good,fabulous,wonderful.
作者:独自闯荡
Let's workers have power.
作者:angus_liu
frying...i want a fried dish, rice and soup...
作者:lanyangyu
LOVE those interest words
作者:牛牛
It's very interesting to learn the story of word
作者:Richard
Where are you, my old friend 梦醉天涯?
作者:snowpoy
1987年5月6日至6月2日在黑龙江省大兴安岭地区发生,是新中国成立以来最严重的一次森林火灾。从5月6日开始,一直延续到5月25日林区大范围降雨,才全部不见明火,而后续战斗则到6月2日才最后结束这场大火直接损失达4.5亿元人民币,间接损失达80多亿元,死亡即达210人,烧伤者达266人、目前,火烧区恢复面积已超过96万公顷,森林覆被率由1987年火灾后的61.5%提高到现在的87%以上,动植物种群基本得到了恢复
作者:snowpoy
印度尼西亚巴东10月27日。印度尼西亚西苏门答腊省明打威群岛附近海域发生的海啸目前已经造成272人死亡,412人失踪,14人重西苏门答腊省明打威群岛附近海域当地时间25日21时42分(北京时间22时42分)发生里氏7.2级地震,并引发海啸。此后,该地区又发生10多次余震,仅27日清晨就有数次里氏5级以上的余震。 火山喷发致死28人12月26日,苏门答腊岛发生40年来最严重的9级大地震,引发超级大海啸,即使是远至东非也受到波及。海啸掀起的滔天巨浪有的高达10米,13个印度洋国家的21万6000多条人命就这样消失在惊涛骇浪中,有的至今仍生死未卜。不过,联合国公布的死难者数字是至少22万3000人,其中将近四分之三的罹难者来自亚齐。此外,多国沿岸的酒店和村庄城镇也受到严重破坏,180万人无家可归。经济损失近百亿元,(具体数据没有官方统计),但是各国答应的捐款和贷款就近80亿,由于预防工作到位没有发生传染病
作者:Yang Ryan
mayday……the first time I notice it.
作者:Melody
I didn't know the original meaning of the Mayday until today . This article is very valuable and interesting . Besides learning the real meaning of Mayday , I also master the other words such as sabotage , laissez-faire , entrepreneur , film noir , resume , unique , avantgarde . What a good day !
作者:JCKKIGAGU
I also thought the word mayday is a month till today.The article is easy for me to understand.Because of my ignore in English ,My English was droped a lot,however,I am quitely have faith with myself ,Just go on boy!!
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