Americans and the Metric System

Just pronounce it French (but with an American /ɹ̠ʷ/), then almost all is fine :wink:

It’s “kalö” (do Scots prononce the “r”?) if you observe the standard Latin letter pronounciation values (like we Finns almost do). Some years ago linguists, for fun, suggested that English should adopt the Finnish system of (almost) phonetic spelling. For instance, spoken English has clear umlauts (ä, ö) but spelling has not.

Sät aidiia shud häf biin tejken siries!

Surely the last word should have been ‘siriesli’?

From my experience in UK we prefer mm., don’t use cm

Might well be the reason. However, it could also be that more people from German speaking and Scandinavian countries immigrated than French people. So their way of spelling was more prominent. Just think about loanwords like “Schadenfreude”, “Gesundheit”, “Kindergarten”, “Poltergeist” etc.
IMHO “kilometer” is anyway more consistent with other words containing “meter” like voltmeter, thermometer, densitymeter, metering pump. For fun I checked a few UK web pages, I didn’t find voltmetre, thermometre etc.
So I guess it’s a purely academic question, the important point is we understand each other, right?

1 Like

In french we say “couleur”, despite the latin root being “color”, despite it being synonymous to “coloris”, and the verb being “colorier”.

In french we also have a looot of nonsense and exceptions, probably even more than English :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

So back to the topic, would “a-metricians” be a better spelling?

And aren’t we complaining at a high level, considering that there are many cultures with traditional systems for counting, writing, measuring time etc. that all get squeezed out to the limit of extinction by the dominant Latin alphabet, Western-Arabic numerals, SI units, Gregorian calendar/Common Era.

If I had a penny for every time my request for a ruler was met with the reply - what do you want a King or a Queen? I would have a few dollars :grinning:

I was always told to call them a rule?

I thought it was about money. Everybody (I use that very loosely)was on board with switching to metrics in concept but a “hard switch”, as in retooling all machinery, nuts, bolts etc proved too expensive for most companies. Something about being too short sighted to remain competitive long term. Ok, that last was just commentary.

In many industries retooling wasn’t necessary, just change the label. Sounds like Tags and Layers.
To this day in one of my main industries we use fractional mm sizes that correspond to the original imperial measurements.

@Florian you misrepresent me.
I said the the US words were nearer the original Latin - perhaps stated a bit kack-handedly !
English-English there are two words ‘meter’ and ‘metre’
One to do with a measuring device - e.g. thermo-meter or volt-meter - so ‘metre’ is never substituted.

The word ‘metre’ is the french for a unit of measurement, but in English-English it’s also to do with rhythm in poetry or music.

We don’t always understand each other… unfortunately.