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From: (Henry Spencer)
Subject: Re: units (was Re: Space Station Construction)
Date: Sat, 6 Jun 1998 13:31:53 GMT

In article <>,
Jason Goodman  <> wrote:
>You say potahto, we say potayto, and there's as many of us as
>there are of you, so call it "dialect differences" rather than

Also, it is worth remembering that some of the areas where custom in the
Colonies :-) differs from that in Britain are cases where the British have
foolishly chased the ridiculous fad of the moment, and ended up having it
persist, while the Colonials -- historically somewhat isolated from the
latest fashion crazes -- have maintained traditional practices.

I believe some of the pronunciation differences are of that sort; any
"misuse" is actually on the British side.

Alas :-), in the case of "billion" it is the other way 'round.  The word
was coined from "bi" and "million" and did originally mean million^2, i.e.
10^12.  According to the OED, the mutation that made it 10^9 occurred in
France, and most of the rest of the world followed suit.
Being the last man on the Moon is a |  Henry Spencer
very dubious honor. -- Gene Cernan  |      (aka

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