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 Post subject: Use of imperial and metric measures?
PostPosted: 05 Apr 2017, 15:54 
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Do you think that CS pupils and staff would have got confused between imperial and metric measurements? In their day, the UK, Ireland, Australia/NZ and so on would all have been 100% imperial. Totally unlike Europe, of course. Would the school in Austria/Switzerland have been 100% metric, what about when in Britain?

I just bought another measuring jug from Poundland and unlike previous ones, it only shows mililitres, no cups or ounces. That seems stupid to me, so I binned it. It's also kind of a shame that petrol for example, cannot be sold in gallons nowadays. There used to be manual customer scales (occasionally they were electronic IIRC) in greengrocers/supermarkets for fruit and veg that showed both, when did they disappear?

I don't know whether imperial is still taught at all in schools nowadays, but it still featured to a limited extent in Scotland in the 90s, in maths and maybe one or two other subjects. I was not even marked down for using photocopies of 1960s/70s OS one-inch maps in my Standard Grade geography project, no direct metric references at all.

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Last edited by Katharine on 07 Apr 2017, 19:39, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Use of imperial and metric measures?
PostPosted: 05 Apr 2017, 16:20 
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Probably not. For years I worked in metric units, but cooked and did everything else in imperial units. What was confusing was the change in the expression of metric units from MKS to SI. Like everyone, I worked things out in MKS and converted the answer to SI.

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 Post subject: Re: Use of imperial and metric measures?
PostPosted: 05 Apr 2017, 16:36 
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If they could cope with three languages, coping with two systems of measurement was probably a doddle :D.

I don't "speak" metric, but I can convert from km to miles and Centigrade to Fahrenheit in my head, and I'm not particularly good at maths. The one that does my head in is baby clothes, if I want to buy them as presents, being labelled by kg or cm, rather than by lbs or inches.

I assume they just got used to dealing with both. It must have been the same with currencies. Having said which, after the Sale in one of the Swiss books (I think it's Coming of Age), the total raised is announced in Swiss francs, and one of the juniors asks how much that is in sterling. Kathie converts it in her head, but it sounds as if the juniors hadn't got used to thinking in francs as well as pounds :D. Oh, and not forgetting all the fuss about the 24 hour clock!!

Maybe the textbooks they used on English days had used Imperial measurements and the ones they used on French and German days used metric measurements, just to confuse everyone even more :lol:.

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 Post subject: Re: Use of imperial and metric measures?
PostPosted: 05 Apr 2017, 17:22 
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Especially with the political climate at the moment I think it would be an excellent idea to ditch the term 'imperial measurements'...


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 Post subject: Re: Use of imperial and metric measures?
PostPosted: 05 Apr 2017, 20:36 
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I was taught metric measures (SI units) from the age of 8 although occasionally got classes dealing in imperial measures as they were still in use at that stage. You just were used to measuring things in the classroom in one way and talking in other units outside

We worked in LSD as that was the currency but conversion to decimal coinage wasn't really a problems for us as children although I am aware that many older people found it so.


As an adult, I can cook in either imperial or metric measures without thinking about it (which is lucky because some of my old books don't do "metric"!). I've some problems with human weights which still come in stones-and-pounds as far as I am concerned and I can't visual either the American "pounds" or kilos in terms of human beings


I would look on the measurement issue as been the same as children who use one dialect when playing with their friends and another when speaking to their parents. It's automatic and done without thinking.


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 Post subject: Re: Use of imperial and metric measures?
PostPosted: 05 Apr 2017, 21:44 
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Quote:
after the Sale in one of the Swiss books (I think it's Coming of Age), the total raised is announced in Swiss francs, and one of the juniors asks how much that is in sterling. Kathie converts it in her head, but it sounds as if the juniors hadn't got used to thinking in francs as well as pounds :D


Perhaps it was just that they weren't used to hearing about such large amounts in francs? They might have recognised that it sounded like a lot but not know how much that "lot" was. Surely they got their pocket money in francs?

Or of course, it was just EBD's way of telling the reader how much the amount was? :D


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 Post subject: Re: Use of imperial and metric measures?
PostPosted: 06 Apr 2017, 00:55 
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Based on my own experience, I suspect it wouldn't have been difficult, because they would have actually been using both sets of measurements from a young age - Imperial at home in the holidays, and metric at school. So for any units they actually used regularly, they'd develop the necessary intuitive understanding.

Canada went metric just as I was entering school, so all my texbooks etc. were metric, but things like miles, inches and pounds were still used colloquially. As an adult, I think mostly in metric - the exceptions are feet and pounds for people, and I tend to think in cups and teaspoons for cooking, because recipes still tend to use those. I have a decent intuitive understanding of some Imperial measurements - I can easily visualize miles / hour, miles, inches and pounds, but have problems with ounces (liquid or weight) and it took a long time to sort out pints/quarts/gallons. I can think in Fahrenheit, but only for temperatures above 70 F, courtesy of a couple years in California (where the lower temperatures weren't really needed). I can also now think in Jin for weights of food (1 jin = 600 g, used in markets in Taiwan), and ping for floor space of apartments (1 ping = 2 tatami mats = 3.3 square metres). For apartments, I actually have to convert to pings to visualize it.

And the people who told you scientists always use SI units were lying through their teeth. I regularly use things like solar masses, parsecs, astronomical units, years, and the ever popular km/s/Mpc (where the distance two units cancel each other out).

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 Post subject: Re: Use of imperial and metric measures?
PostPosted: 06 Apr 2017, 03:22 
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But how much evidence do we have that they use metric, except for the odd kilo? Certainly they spout weights in those mysterious stones, and the CS Cookbook is based entirely on pints and pounds. (Probably not American pints. I gather that my teachers lied about "A pint's a pound the world around.")

I still don't have any feel for most of the metric. Degrees C are meaningless without math except for a few special exceptions (4, 37, 100), and although I'm comfortable with cm and mL and g in the lab, I walk in miles, cook with cups and teaspoons, and buy produce by the pound.

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 Post subject: Re: Use of imperial and metric measures?
PostPosted: 06 Apr 2017, 08:10 
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I suspect EBD never thought of it. She liked picking up on differences between British and Continental ways of doing things, presumably because it made the CS seem different and exotic compared to Malory Towers etc, and there are umpteen scenes in which people are surprised to find that they're getting coffee instead of tea, have to use the 24 hour clock, are getting fancy bread twists instead of bacon and eggs, etc. If she'd thought about metric measurements, I'm sure we'd have got scenes in which a new girl was astonished to find that she asked to ask for X g of sweets rather than X oz of sweets in the sweet shop :D.

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 Post subject: Re: Use of imperial and metric measures?
PostPosted: 06 Apr 2017, 09:46 
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Yes, and presumably we as readers are supposed to be surprised along with them - though a lot of the surprise element has gone off all that in the UK these days, of course. I wonder whether EMBD would've been among those who are currently wanting a return to the pre-decimal systems here?

Kathy_S wrote:
But how much evidence do we have that they use metric, except for the odd kilo? Certainly they spout weights in those mysterious stones, and the CS Cookbook is based entirely on pints and pounds. (Probably not American pints. I gather that my teachers lied about "A pint's a pound the world around.")
You're absolutely right, Kathy: it was "A pint of water weighs a pound and a quarter" in my (UK) schooldays.
ETA:And yes, pints and pounds might not have meant much to Marie, for whom we're told it was a present for use in her married life, but then she wouldn't have had to do the actual cooking - and I've always found it hard to believe that the Quartette could remember all the exact quantities and times from memory like that, at the time that Jo wrote it all down.

Good point about how much metric is actually used - there's certainly Chapter XI in Prefects, when they're weighing sweets for the Sale: "Weigh them out in grammes and half grammes" and more puzzlingly "the tray of pastilles, which Va had been weighing out into half gramme heaps". And Elsie says in In Camp that they've got to bring back seven kilos of butter, though that's apparently an over-estimate on her part.


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 Post subject: Re: Use of imperial and metric measures?
PostPosted: 06 Apr 2017, 13:19 
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Quote:
"Weigh them out in grammes and half grammes" and more puzzlingly "the tray of pastilles, which Va had been weighing out into half gramme heaps".


You wouldn't get many sweets in half a gram(me) heap, would you? :D


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 Post subject: Re: Use of imperial and metric measures?
PostPosted: 06 Apr 2017, 13:57 
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:D For a child doll in one of Tom's dolls' houses, perhaps? My kitchen scales don't even measure half grams!


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 Post subject: Re: Use of imperial and metric measures?
PostPosted: 06 Apr 2017, 16:44 
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This is going to sound daft but after 12 years in Normandie and using Eurosall the time when we go to the UK for a holiday we stand like
twits at the tills searching through the sterling change until we get used to it after a few hours it all comes back
I also stand like a fool when using my UK bank card for the first few days as the pin no is similar to my French one trying not to muddle them
Of course as the pupils and staff were a lot younger than us OAPs they would have had no problem


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 Post subject: Re: Use of imperial and metric measures?
PostPosted: 06 Apr 2017, 17:43 
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Quote:
This is going to sound daft but after 12 years in Normandie and using Eurosall the time when we go to the UK for a holiday we stand like
twits at the tills searching through the sterling change until we get used to it after a few hours it all comes back


Me too. Ann. My visits to the UK are so few far and between that I feel a real fool trying to work out the new coins. If I had foreign accent when speaking English people might forgive me but they are always very puzzled why I take so much time to pay. Long live the euro (for our side of the Channel) and debit/credit cards (I have sterling ones for UK use)!

The pupils would only have needed small amounts of money (except for Emerence!) so they probably wouldn't have had as many problems as we oldies have.


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 Post subject: Re: Use of imperial and metric measures?
PostPosted: 07 Apr 2017, 05:01 
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To make things more complex, my German texts still had people buying produce by the Pfund and halbes Pfund in the seventies, though I think I heard later that das Pfund should be understood as half a kilogram. No clue how far metric had penetrated into the local dialect, despite whatever government officials had been saying for decades. I think even now German recipes resort to Esslöffel and Teelöffel, which come out reasonably well with American tablespoons and teaspoons.

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 Post subject: Re: Use of imperial and metric measures?
PostPosted: 07 Apr 2017, 10:08 
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thefrau46 wrote:
Quote:
"Weigh them out in grammes and half grammes" and more puzzlingly "the tray of pastilles, which Va had been weighing out into half gramme heaps".


You wouldn't get many sweets in half a gram(me) heap, would you? :D


I wonder if EBD might be thinking of the dag, which is the Austrian (probably more widely used?) term for - if memory serves- 100g of something.


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 Post subject: Re: Use of imperial and metric measures?
PostPosted: 07 Apr 2017, 12:06 
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thefrau46 wrote:
Quote:
This is going to sound daft but after 12 years in Normandie and using Eurosall the time when we go to the UK for a holiday we stand like
twits at the tills searching through the sterling change until we get used to it after a few hours it all comes back


Me too. Ann. My visits to the UK are so few far and between that I feel a real fool trying to work out the new coins. If I had foreign accent when speaking English people might forgive me but they are always very puzzled why I take so much time to pay. Long live the euro (for our side of the Channel) and debit/credit cards (I have sterling ones for UK use)!

The pupils would only have needed small amounts of money (except for Emerence!) so they probably wouldn't have had as many problems as we oldies have.


I have vivid memories of something that happened during one of my visits to the UK whilst I was living in Spain.

The day after my return, I went shopping and was handed a £2 coin in my change. This totally flummoxed me, as I'd never seen one before and it looked so different to the other coins in common usage.

Although my friends in the UK kept in regular contact, perhaps unsurprisingly, none of them had thought to tell me about the new coin!

Slightly OTT, I'm a bit disappointed not have handled one of the new £1 coins yet. When I pay cash, I keep hoping, but I haven't been given one so far.

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 Post subject: Re: Use of imperial and metric measures?
PostPosted: 07 Apr 2017, 13:52 
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exile wrote:
thefrau46 wrote:
Quote:
"Weigh them out in grammes and half grammes" and more puzzlingly "the tray of pastilles, which Va had been weighing out into half gramme heaps".


You wouldn't get many sweets in half a gram(me) heap, would you? :D


I wonder if EBD might be thinking of the dag, which is the Austrian (probably more widely used?) term for - if memory serves- 100g of something.


An interesting suggestion which would make sense if a dag were 100g.
However
1. This conversation takes place in Switzerland - although EBD might have thought it was used all over the German-speaking world.
2. I found this: 1 dag = 1 Dekagramm (Deka) = 10 g

The word etto is used for 100g in Italy.

Going back to the use of Pfund (500g) mentioned above, we still use it here in North Germany. It's shorter and quicker to ask for ein halbes Pfund . . . than zweiundertfünfzig Gramm (250g) . . . :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Use of imperial and metric measures?
PostPosted: 07 Apr 2017, 14:47 
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The gramme/half-gramme weighing always reads like a modern up-dating - although it's been substituted for an original imperial measure by someone who did not know what a gramme was, just that it was a metric (ie "continental") measure of weight.


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 Post subject: Re: Use of imperial and metric measures?
PostPosted: 07 Apr 2017, 15:08 
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It usually takes me a day or two to adjust to local coins and bills. The adjustment that really confuses people, though, is the day or two it takes to switch from automatically saying things like thank-you and excuse me in Chinese. So you've got this very white woman wandering around Canada (or Japan, for that matter) responding with Chinese phrases.

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