The English Language and the weird UK measurements system

The UK must come across as one of the strangest countries in the world. We’re set in our ways and obviously think our way is the best, well some do anyway. :slight_smile:

The English language itself has many traps set for the person learning the English language. For example, to and too, they sound the same but have different meanings, there and their, again sound the same but have different meanings. Then we have words like knife, where the k is silent, and words like physical where the “ph” is pronounced like an “f” and the “y” is pronounced as a “I” Adding to the previous examples, we can’t even agree from country to country on the spelling of a word. In the UK “colour” is spelt “colour” in the USA its spelt “color” All very confusing isn’t it.

Our measurement system is even more confusing. We have a mixture of metric and imperial measurements.

Miles, yards, feet and inches. I’m 5ft 11½ inches tall, or 182cm if you prefer.

Our weight measurements are even worse. If you’re describing how much a person weighs, you would do that in stones pounds and ounces. If I were buying food, it would be measured in kilograms. Beer is sold by the pint, coke is sold by the ml.
Petrol is sold by the gallon but filling stations must also show the measurement in litres. Speed is measured in MPH but the speedometer in our vehicles must also display the speed in kilometres per hour. And according to most other countries we drive on the wrong side of the road as well. :stuck_out_tongue:

There are many more instances of our weirdness and our stubborn defiance to change.

Let’s hear your views. :smiley:

About those words written differently sounding the same way, the same happens to the Portuguese language!
I personally thik that the British and Americans should definitelly adopt the “International Measurement System” commonly denoted as “SI” or “IS” depending on the language. The advantages of the use of the International System are apointed also by British and American autors, many times!

That’s the first habit you should break! :iagree:

Wow, you’re a model. :wink:

Don’t forget: I before E except for C. For example: believe, relieve, receive.

But what about leisure and seizure? Shouldn’t they be spelled l-i-e-s-u-r-e and s-i-e-z-u-r-e, respectively? :stuck_out_tongue:

LOL, this little rule I didn’t know.
Learned something again today at CDFreaks. :iagree:

Once upon a time there was this little French general. He was quite the annoying critter, but had unbielievable military vision. Thanks to him we dutchies got the metric system, decided to drive on the right (as in opposite of left) side of the road and suddenly had to come up with last names. The kilogram and many other metric things were also because of him.

So , i blame the French, or should we thank them?

i before e except after c is one of the rules of the langauge but, in a persons name this doesn’t apply, and just to confuse matters even more, the rule is often broken which must seem quite weird for anyone learning the language. :slight_smile:

@ Mr B : I think the French done Europe a favour in that respect.

One other aspect, and one i find quite embarrassing. Here on cdfreaks, a Dutch based community, but has members from all over Europe, Asia, South America and the middle east, yet most of the people can speak very good English, while in the UK, languages are not deemed important enough to teach past the age of 13 or 14 years old in our schools. This is something i would like to see changed.

That’s also one of history’s fun things. We dutchies used to travel around the globe for loot (spices,cotton,slaves,etc) and do a lot of trade with a lot of different people. Instead of the spanish and english conquerors, we usually adapted to the native language. We think it’s polite and beneficial to at least try to speak the native tongue of our fellow tradesmen.

These days they teach English already in elementary school and most kids learn the basics of French and German before choosing a specialized education. It’s also possible to choose Spanish, Latin, Greek or Russian very early in your school life.

Whatever your language might be, when we would beam you directly to some city in the Netherlands and you try to communicate with us, you will at least hear one attempt of us to adapt to your language. In all other countries of the world, it’s generally accepted that the visitor adapts him/herself to the local language. (Which is usually no problem for us as well :))

i just hate the measuring systems…

i was just reading in a magazine, the one of nasa’s missions to mars failed (a satellite to orbit mars) because the software was developed in UK (and it was based on yard and feet), and nasa fed it with international system data (meters), and instead of orbitting at 120km, it went down to 50-60 km and then crashed.

I’ve heard similar stories about shuttles guidance systems malfunctioning because programmers used existing 16 bitt code & interfaced new 32bit code & of course sticking a 32bit integer into a 16 bit space means at some point, well before you reach the maximum 32b value, in 16bit, it becomes negative. hence the shuttle thinks it’s upside down & tries to realign itself.

Of course, the self destruct mechanism, being purely sparkly new 32b code, operating exactly how it’s supposed to, self destructs the shuttle because the shuttle is now upside down, and is now a giant bomb consisting of several thousand litres of highly explosive rocket fuel & twice as much solid fuel (similar to black powder/ gunpowder), also very explosive …

Of course, no-one would be THAT stupid … surely :wink:

The weirdest UK (?) unit must be the fluid ounce shivers
Trying new drinks with foreign recipies and everything is in oz. and you can never remember how to convert to a unit you can understand. And even if you could the maths skills don’t get better mixed with alcohol :slight_smile:

About driving on the right or wrong side of the road. In sweden people drove on the wrong side until the 1960s (?) And then the government decided to have a referendum about it. The majority voted to stick to the left and the government decided to change. :slight_smile:

but i’m not talking about system hardware differences, but the use of the wrong units, it was the "Mars Climate Orbiter ", here is the article:

The peer review preliminary findings indicate that one team used English units (e.g., inches, feet and pounds) while the other used metric units for a key spacecraft operation. This information was critical to the maneuvers required to place the spacecraft in the proper Mars orbit

Full article is here:

Let’s face it - English is a crazy language.

  1. The bandage was wound around the wound.
  2. The farm was used to produce produce.
  3. The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
  4. We must polish the Polish furniture.
  5. He could lead if he would get the lead out.
  6. The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
  7. Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
  8. A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
  9. When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
  10. I did not object to the object.
  11. The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
  12. There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
  13. They were too close to the door to close it.
  14. The buck does funny things when the does are present.
  15. A seamstress and a sewer fell down into the sewer.
  16. To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
  17. The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
  18. After a number of injections my jaw got number.
  19. Upon seeing the tear in the painting, I shed a tear.
  20. I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
  21. How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

My Croatian mate sent me this after I slagged of his silly sounding language.

We’ll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes; but the plural of ox became oxen not oxes.

One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese, yet the plural of moose should never be meese.

You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice; yet the plural of
house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men, why shouldn’t the plural of pan be called pen?

If I spoke of my foot and show you my feet, and I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?

If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth, why shouldn’t the
plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those, yet hat in the plural
would never be hose, and the plural of cat is cats, not cose.

We speak of a brother and also of brethren, but though we say mother, we never say methren.

Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him, but imagine the feminine, she, shis and shim.

There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor
pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England.

We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we
find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers
don’t groce and hammers don’t ham?

Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend?

If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught?

If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking English should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.

In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?

Ship by truck and send cargo by ship?

Have noses that run and feet that smell?

He tends to get carried away sometimes

At least you are starting to use the metric system .were stuck with that outdated one
we borrowed from you.

ROFL what a great song/story :smiley:
One thing I have never understood is what 1 oz is. Why do you measure your beer in parts of australians? Nevermind, answered my own question.

Have you ever wondered why foreigners have trouble with the English Language?

Let’s face it
English is a stupid language.
There is no egg in the eggplant
No ham in the hamburger
And neither pine nor apple in the pineapple.
English muffins were not invented in England
French fries were not invented in France.

We sometimes take English for granted
But if we examine its paradoxes we find that
Quicksand takes you down slowly
Boxing rings are square
And a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

If writers write, how come fingers don’t fing.
If the plural of tooth is teeth
Shouldn’t the plural of phone booth be phone beeth
If the teacher taught,
Why didn’t the preacher praught.

If a vegetarian eats vegetables
What the heck does a humanitarian eat!?
Why do people recite at a play
Yet play at a recital?
Park on driveways and
Drive on parkways

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy
Of a language where a house can burn up as
It burns down
And in which you fill in a form
By filling it out
And a bell is only heard once it goes!

English was invented by people, not computers
And it reflects the creativity of the human race
(Which of course isn’t a race at all)

That is why
When the stars are out they are visible
But when the lights are out they are invisible
And why it is that when I wind up my watch
It starts
But when I wind up this observation,
It ends.

Why can’t the world just conform to one standard of measurement… it would make life and internet orders so much easier :wink:

Then it should already have been done, becausde now we have Google…

Yeah, the english language is funny. If you come to Canada there are atleast 5 different flavours of english and then there is french canadian. Some poeple here use metric and others use imperial. It is annoying.