Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Zeroes and Ones

I thought it was the longer words that might lose something in translation from English to American, so I was surprised when something short and simple caused me problems the other day.

In a meeting about a particular strategy I was working on I described a numeric parameter as ranging from "nought to ten". This drew confused looks from the rest of the table. I looked back at them, and realising that something was not being understood, I said "You know, one, two, three....". Suddenly there were moments of enlightenment in the room as people realised what I was trying to say.

Apparently the word "nought" is very rarely used here, and certainly not in the context of a range of numbers.

It would appear that I still have a lot to learn before I can claim to be fully bilingual.

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