International Morse Code

Learning Morse Code alphabetically, one letter at a time, can be awkward and tedious. But if you just forget about standard alphabetical order and learn the letters in groups based on their length, they will be so much easier to remember. You'll quickly be able to understand hundreds of words after learning only the first 6 letters. After that, adding more letters will be a breeze.

1 2 3 4 5
.E ..I ...S ....H .....5
...-V ...-.Ŝ
..-U ..-.F ..-..Đ,É,Ę
..--Ü,Ŭ ..--.Ð
.-A .-.R .-..L .-...& ?
.-.-Ä,Ą,Æ, .-.-.+
.--W .--.P .--..Þ
.--.-Á, Å
.---H .---.Ĵ
-T -.N -..D -...B -....6
-..-X -..-./
-.-K -.-.C -.-..Ć,Ĉ,Ç
-.-.-Starting signal
-.--Y -.--.(
--M --.G --..Z --...7
--.-Q --.-.Ĝ
---O ---.Ó,Ö,Ø ---..8
----Ch,Ĥ,Š ----.9
...-.-End of work
between tones1
between letters3
between words7
Mnemonics (if you need them)
 E.T. phone home
E/TIAN McShane
I/ABig SUR, West coast
N/MDonkey Kong GO
S/UHire Vehicles From Über
R/WLead Äx: Pretty Heavy
G/OZoro Quiets Öona Dahl's Škoda

Spend a few seconds learning the first column (E and T), and not much longer learning the second column. Then, knowing only 6 letters, try these sentences as exercises:

Or simply try coding whatever letters you happen to know in any news article. You'll be surprised how many times those 6 letters appear.

You might know some others already. E.g. The distress call S O S is dih-dih-dit dah-dah-dah dih-dih-dit; V for victory is roman numeral 5 and begins Beethoven's fifth symphony, dih-dih-dih-dah; and the U.S. government radio time signal begins with the WWV station's call letters, dih-dah-dah dih-dah-dah dih-dih-dih-dah.

Once you're proficient with those 6 letters, you should have little trouble learning the rest, adding a group of 4 letters every week or day or whatever you are comfortable with.

Learn the digits from column 5, but don't bother with the accented characters, just be aware that they exist so you don't have holes in your mental code table. By the time you need them, if ever, they'll be trivial to learn.

When listening to code, you will be continually making partial guesses. E.g. for the letter P, you'll hear the first dot and think it might be E. But then you'll hear a dash and think it might be A. Then another dash, and maybe W. Then another dot, and maybe P. And then a pause, so you finally know it was P and not @ or other longer character.

Since this is the way your brain will naturally process the code when it hears it, some people might even find it easier to learn this way. Instead of starting with the shortest characters as suggested, start with a chain of characters going horizontally in the above table. Learn E, I, S, and H, and V first. Then add U, F, and Ü next.

Bonus: prosigns. Notice that the SOS in the ninth column is a single character. The code ...---... with no spaces is different from ... --- ..., which is S O S, three separate letters. Such squished together characters are known as procedural signs, and are a form of shorthand used for special messages and instructions. You aren't likely to need them until you are very proficient, but it's good to be aware of them.