[Ads-l] The whole 8.2 meters

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed Feb 18 19:42:51 UTC 2015

Back in the late '70's, in Watertown, Mass., I worked with a company that
produced industrial-strength, liquid hand-soap. The liquid soap came in
plastic jugs labeled: "Contents: ONE METRIC GALLON (4 Liters)."

Unfortunately, the powers that be didn't agree with the company - and with
me - that the concept of four liters as a "*metric* gallon" was kinda cool.
After a couple of months, the containers were labeled only, "Contents: 4

On Wed, Feb 18, 2015 at 8:07 AM, Dave Wilton <dave at wilton.net> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Dave Wilton <dave at WILTON.NET>
> Subject:      Re: The whole 8.2 meters
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Since moving to Canada, which is officially metric, I've noticed that =
> for short lengths people will commonly use inches and feet, but =
> kilometers for long distances instead of miles. So Environment Canada =
> may predict "five centimetres"  of snow, but people will talk about "a =
> couple inches." But Ottawa is always 450 kilometres from Toronto, never =
> 280 miles.
> The Canadian Football League still measures everything in yards. So I =
> don't think the NFL is likely to change any time soon.
> A similar pattern is seen in weights. People weigh themselves in pounds. =
> I go to the vet and my dog is weighed in at 22 kilograms, but in the pet =
> store I buy the bag of kibble intended for dogs "22 to 55 lbs." The pet =
> store owner once asked me large my dog was, and I responded "22 kilos" =
> and got a blank stare back until I said "50 pounds." In the produce and =
> meat section of the supermarket, fresh meat and vegetables are often =
> sold by the pound, but all packaged food is marked in grams. (The scales =
> in the produce section of the store I frequent are metric, although all =
> the pricing is by the pound.)
> Draft beer is still sold by the pint, but whether it's an imperial or =
> American pint varies with the establishment, and a "pinte de bi=C3=A8re" =
> is something else entirely, equivalent to the imperial quart (1.136 =
> litres).
> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf =
> Of Eric Nielsen
> Sent: Wednesday, February 18, 2015 4:30 AM
> Subject: The whole 8.2 meters
> Yesterday, my seven-year old roommate was asking where she could plug in =
> one of her many electronic devices. When I asked how close she needed to =
> be to the outlet, she replied, "Oh, about a meter."
> In both of my current jobs I am involved with young people: A public =
> library and a Safe Home for abused and neglected children. I have heard =
> all kinds of language from kids, but, until now, I had not heard any of =
> them use the metric system so fluently. Well, perhaps a "kilometer" here =
> or there. Or grams and kilos from the drug savvy.
> My roommate said that they will learn about inches, miles, etc.at a =
> later date--and cursive next year.
> Will one have to go the whole 9.1 meters for a first down in football?
> Eric
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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