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, learningenglish.voanews.com.
1.emergency n. 紧急情况；突发事件；非常时刻 adj. 紧急的；备用的
He deals with emergencies promptly.
2.mayday n. 求救信号
He raced to pick up the life jackets while his stepmother sent out a Mayday call.
3.subversion n. 颠覆；破坏
He was arrested on charges of subversion for organizing the demonstration.
1.Mayday has nothing to do with the month of May.
have nothing to do with 与…无关
He persisted that he had nothing to do with robbery.
All seemed to indicate a sweetness which had nothing to do with crime.
mayday是紧急状况信号词，全世界的语音通讯中都使用这个词。你可能看过一部战争片，里面一架飞机被火箭炮击中 。飞行员在电台中呼叫“mayday, mayday, mayday”，表示他的飞机可能要坠落地面 。
20世纪20年代，Frederick Stanley Mockford创造了这个求救信号。Mockford是伦敦克里登机场的一名无线电报务员，他要想出一个词来用在紧急状态中 。这个词必须容易为全体飞行员和机场人员理解，当时很多空中运输是在克里登机场和巴黎附近的勒布尔热之间进行 。所以他提出用mayday这个词 。
很多法语词也用在艺术中，比如，a film noir(黑色电影)是有关谋杀等犯罪的电影，这类电影在20世纪40年代和50年代很流行。任何现代或超前的艺术、音乐或文学都可乘坐avant-garde(前卫) 。
如果你在找工作，就必须准备好résumé(简历)。这种文档列出你全部的教育背景、技能和经历 。与众不同、别具一格的东西就叫做unique(唯一的) 。
法国的食物很出名，每位厨师都要知道如何sauté(炒)，就是用少量食油或黄油快速煎炒东西。当你在餐厅用餐时，侍者可能会跟你说bon appétit(胃口好)，意思是吃好，享受你的饭菜 。如果你要走，会有人祝你bon voyage(旅途愉快) 。