Subject: Re: [ bsdgames: number claims English output, but outputs in American]
To: Alan Barrett <>
From: Bill Studenmund <>
List: tech-userlevel
Date: 11/13/2003 14:26:09
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On Mon, Nov 10, 2003 at 09:43:30AM +0200, Alan Barrett wrote:
> On Sat, 08 Nov 2003, Malcolm Parsons wrote:
> > I've attached debian bug report #219666, and an email from Joseph Myers
> > asking questions about the correct way too fix it.
> > The manpage for number states:
> >=20
> >       number - convert Arabic numerals to English
> >=20
> > Well it doesn't:
> >=20
> > malcolm@arthur:~$ number 1000000000
> > one billion.
> Sadly, most of the English-speaking world has succumbed to the American
> idea that a billion is 10**9 (rather than the historically correct
> 10**12).  Even the British government and the (London) Times now use the
> American meanings.

Be careful about claming similarity to historical English =3D=3D correctnes=
There are constructs from 18th-century English still in American English=20
which are no longer in British English. Does that make American English=20
more correct on those points? :-)

Also, from looking in my dictionaries (both a 30 year old Webster's=20
Dictionary and the Webster's on-line dictionary), "Billion" came from=20
French. In French it is a thousand millions, which matches the American=20
English usage. So who then is historically correct? ;-)

I tried looking it up in the OED, but they want $30/month. :-|

Take care,


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