Thread: What units?
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Old July 23rd 15, 08:57 AM posted to
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Default What units?

"Mark Carver" wrote in message
On 21/07/2015 09:21, Indy Jess John wrote:

The thing that annoys me most is that all UK road signs are in miles and
yet the BBC will insist on giving distances in Kilometres. I did start
calculating km to miles in my head to give me a sense of scale, but now
don't bother. I just ignore them as meaningless distances, since they
are not going to directly affect me.

I quite like kilometres, when driving in countries that use them, you seem
to cover ground a lot faster ?

I don't have any great preference between miles and kilometres. I just wish
people would pronounce "kilometre" properly - KILoMEtre with the stress on
the first and third syllables, not kilOMMitAH with the stress on 2nd and
4th. SI prefixes all have the stress on the first syllable - KILo, MEGa,
MIcro, MILLi, TERa, GIGa etc. And people have no problem pronouncing metre
correctly when it's not preceded by kilo. So where did this bizarre
kilOMMitAH pronunciation come from? It seems to be more common in younger
people who have grown up with the metric system than with older people who
have grown up with imperial but learned metric "to fit in with the modern
world" or for scientific/engineering purposes. You rarely hear
scientists/engineers use the odd pronunciation, though I've heard Brian Cox
alternate between the two on his TV programmes - maybe he naturally uses the
scientific pronunciation and sometimes remembers to use the "youth"
pronunciation that his producer has told him to use :-).

Sometimes I feel like King Canute :-)

The only disadvantage with kilometre as a word is that it has four syllables
and is a bit of a mouthful - in colloquial parlance I tend to abbreviate it
to K.

Maybe the metric system needs special single-syllable words for
commonly-used multiples like kilometre and kilogramme. It's always struck me
as odd that the unit of mass which is defined by standards is the kilogramme
rather than the gramme: in the days when they used real objects (lump of
metal for mass, metal bar for length) the lump of metal was the standard kg
rather than the standard g.