Words and Their Stories: Mayday

    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.
    叫"mayday, mayday, mayday"以表示他的飞机存在坠毁地面的危险。

    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."
    Mayday与5月份没有任何联系。它出自法语“venez m'aider”或“m'aidez,”意思是“救救我。”

    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.
    20世纪20年代,Frederick Stanley Mockford创造这个求救呼叫信号。 Mockford是伦敦Croydon机场的无线电报务员。他被要求想出一个可以
    在紧急情况下使用的词,这个词也必须很容易被所有飞行员和机场工作人员理解。那时候的航空运输大部分是在Croydon机场和法国巴黎附近的Le Bourget机场之间进行。于是,他提出了mayday这个词。

    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.
    还有许多法语词汇用于艺术。例如,a film noir(黑色电影)是指关于谋杀和其他犯罪的影片。这种影片风靡于十九世纪四五十年代。任何艺

    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.
    bon appétit(胃口好),意思是好胃口,或享受用餐。如果你要离开,有人会希望你bon voyage(一路顺风),或旅途愉快。