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?


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.

The Student’s Practical Guide to Measuring and Valuing, Dobson & Tarn, London, 1899: Chapter 1 assumes the student knows how to multiply, square and cube feet-inches-fractions, and can readily convert rods, perches etc. It then explains the mysteries of the “decimal point” and how “0.1” is the same as 1/10th, 0.01 is the same as 1/100th etc. and provides a table for the student to convert the easily-understood feet-inches-fractions into complicated decimal inches. This is from the 7th edition, revised to estimate work in decimal hours instead of days because, outside London, apparently, days can be of different lengths, which can be unfair when estimating an ‘artificers’ work.

When I took high school Physics, we did everything in decimal. Some of the problems were in the CGS framework, some in the MKS framework, and some of them in the FPS framework. The ones I really liked solving were the ones where the problem data was in CGS, MKS, and FPS combined. At the time, I used a slide rule to work the numbers (decimally, of course) and used the conversion ratios to adjust the answer to the proper units. By the time I graduated, someone (HP) had come along and invented the scientific calculator which took most of the fun out everything. :neutral_face:


A little off topic, does anyone remember the plugin called Dual Dim which allowed you to place both dimensions on a drawing. I wish it was still available.

I’ve done dual dimensioning in PowerCADD for years, and trying out the same trick on Layout seems to work, at least at first glance:

  • Select all the dimensions after you’re done making them
  • Copy them, and paste in place, perhaps on their own Layer if you want.
  • Without loosing your selection of pasted dimensions, convert them to other units, and change the style so the numbers are under the dimension string instead of above it.

I don’t think LO has as much ability to reposition dimension text as PC does, but my first test makes it look like the concept works.

My instinct is that the decision is determined by the workforce. The older generation was raised and has spent their entire working career primarily using the imperial system. The saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” isn’t entirely inaccurate. As younger generations enter the workforce they are ready and willing to convert, but they are the apprentices and don’t have the level of input the older generations have. By the time they have the input, they too have worked much of their career using the same. The cycle continues. . . I am seeing this correcting, be it slowly. I personally feel obligated to admit that as much as I fully support the conversion. I need it to happen in scale to best assist in its implementation. I build 80’-150’ (24-45m) aluminum tour, cruise, and survey vessels for a living (2021) and have a tough time working with both simultaneously. A lot of our drawings come in metric and I will convert the larger more complex ones to imperial because it is what is used on the shop floor (which is where I work)

Good observation, along with many other pronunciations and spelling conundrums. I would guess it is due to lazy pronunciation resulting in “theater” being spoken to sound “theuter” (Not my expertise, I know there is proper punctuation for pronunciation)

Dual Dims is still around !
I wrote it !
Download it from SketchUcation…
PS: you need at least v2014…


Thanks TIG. I will head over to Sketchucation.
I run 2021 Pro