Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

OT: Units (was Re: Numbers in Qthen|gai (and in Tyl Sjok) [long])

From:Tristan McLeay <conlang@...>
Date:Thursday, January 13, 2005, 1:40
On 13 Jan 2005, at 2.44 am, Andreas Johansson wrote:

> Quoting Tristan McLeay <conlang@...>: > >> On 12 Jan 2005, at 5.40 am, Ray Brown wrote: >> >>>> Therefore, it is quite hard to translate large numbers from >>>> Chinese to English and vice versa. >>> >>> I cannot help feeling it is a pity our western systems are based on >>> the >>> Latin practice and not the ancient Greek practice. But Latinate >>> 'thousand >>> based' system is now enshrined in the SI metric prefixes. >> >> Pretty please tell that to the Swedes! They insist on putting things >> like '3 cl' and '2,5 dl' even in the English sections of stuff I sell >> at the Sweden Shop at Ikea, and no-one here would have any idea what a >> decilitre was it jumped up at bit them! (OTOH, we use centimetres all >> the time and I think that Europeans don't, so we're not entirely >> without failure---I could be wrong here though.) > > Surely you must've seen centimetres on IKEA products if you've seen > deciletres?
You don't usually measure food in centimetres and I have no need as yet to buy my own furniture :)
> It's the one of the commonest length units here - probably more common > than the > metre itself. We use decimetres too, but not quite as frequently. > Decilitres and > centilitres are of course quite common.
>> But the point is there's metric prefixes for 10 (deka-/da), 100 >> (hecto-/h), 1000 (kilo-/k), 10 000 (myria-/my), 1 000 000 (mega/M), >> and >> then they go up only in thousands, as well as 0.1 (deci-/d), 0.01 >> (centi-/c) and 0.001 (milli-/m), before they go down in thousandths. >> That they go up/down in thousand(th)s at that point is probably no >> huge >> loss, I certainly don't hear 20 gigagrams or 120 zeptolitres very >> often. > > I suppose the "extreme" multiple one hears alot of is picofarads.
I can't say I hear that particularly often.
>> (OTOH, I don't think I've ever heard myria- or deka- being used, and >> hecto- only in hectopascals (merely a modernisation of the old >> millibar) and hectares. In Oz, centi-'s only used in centimetres (that >> I can think of), and deci- isn't used at all, excepting, of course, in >> European imports.) > > Let's see. I was unaware of the *existence* of the myria- prefix.
Neither was I till I looked at a list on the Internet... but it may've been inaccurate.
> I've never > seen deka- except in lists of prefixes. Deci- and centi- are common > with metre > and litre, but rarely if ever used with anything else. Hecto- is > pretty much > restricted to hectogram (usually shortened to just 'hekto' - kilogram > similarly > becomes 'kilo'), hectare, and hectolitre, altho you sometimes hear of > hectopascals too.
Before computers, I would've said mega- and giga- were used exclusively with litres, and then almost only when talking about reservoirs.
> The really evil Swedish unit is the _mil_, or metric mile, of 10km. > It's just > asking for evil mistranslations.
> If course 'pound' (de: Pfund, nl: pond) is also exactly 500g in > Germany and the Netherlands and presumable in many other countries > that are not Great Britain for instance.
I think you missed that one---a mil in Australia is a millimetre or millilitre. (I approximate 'pound' with 500 g, but I wouldn't say a pound *is* 500g. Pints in pubs usually remain 570 mL or various other similar measurements, depending on where in Australia you are. Knots and the nautical mile are still for whatever reason I can't discern used. For sufficiently large degrees fahrenheit I divide by two to get sensible temperatures, but it's a pity the conversion is so complicated for everyday temps. Can't Americans at least use 0 fahrenheit to mean the freezing point of water?) Do Europeans use metric cups (250 mL), teaspoons (5 mL) and tablespoons (20 mL)? These beasts are also called Australian standard cups/teaspoons/tablespoons, so a negative answer wouldn't surprise me. Caeruleancentaur:
> I guess it is a matter of perception. Those of us who have a > background in science know that "deci-" is not rare at all and > certainly is attached to other units: decigram, deciliter, and > decimeter. Likewise with "hect(o)-": hectogram, hectoliter, and > hectometer.
Well, perhaps that's common in science, but in Oz from the everyday measurements are metric and it's not done, so it's rare :) 'Rare' is, of course, a relative term. I doubt most people here would know what a hectolitre was if it jumped up and bit 'em. But while on the subject of measurements, what're they in your(pl) conlangs? I don't have any conlangs in the metric era yet, but does anyone know what the pre-metric German and Danish measurements were? would help in usurping them for my purposes. -- Tristan.


Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>
Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>
Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>
Philip Newton <philip.newton@...>