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The Martian
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2014 Reads > TM: kph...why not km/h??

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Fiona (deifio) | 95 comments I know this is kind of silly, but it bothers me. And I wondered if anybody is else is too.
Why does it always say "kph" instead of "km/h"? I always stumble over "kph" and get ripped out of the story for a few seconds, because it should be "km/h"!
Does that happen to anyone else? Is "kph" the American way of writing it? I'm from Germany and we always write "km/h". Or maybe it is a NASA thing? Any ideas?


message 2: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tassie Dave | 3493 comments Mod
I've always used "KPH" (I'm an Australian) if I need to write it down.
I just shorten it to "kays" in speech.

NASA mainly use KPH and MPH.


Dylan Northrup | 33 comments KPH is easier to distinguish when it is said due the hard stop of the 'P' and obviates the need to say "Kilo Mike Hotel" when referring to speed.


Andy (andy_m) | 311 comments Fiona wrote: "I know this is kind of silly, but it bothers me. And I wondered if anybody is else is too.
Why does it always say "kph" instead of "km/h"? I always stumble over "kph" and get ripped out of the sto..."


Its an American thing. We use MPH and KPH (just kidding, most of us have never heard of the metric system).


Sean Lookielook Sandulak (seansandulak) | 429 comments And just to make things even more annoying, you've probably been mispronouncing kilometre your entire life. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/bad...


Joe Informatico (joeinformatico) | 888 comments Sean wrote: "And just to make things even more annoying, you've probably been mispronouncing kilometre your entire life."

I've always known "kill-AW-meter" is technically incorrect. I mean, no one says "cen-TIM-eter" for centimetre. Not without funny looks, anyway. But "kill-AW-me-ter" just sounds cooler than "KILL-oh-meter".


Sandi (sandikal) | 1212 comments I've pronounced it both ways. Now, I know the correct way and will never pronounce it incorrectly again.


message 8: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tassie Dave | 3493 comments Mod
I pronounce it klometter. Aussies don't stress syllables, or split them, we're lazy ;-)

If I did slow down and stress the syllables it would be Kill-om-etter.


David Sven (gorro) | 1582 comments Tassie Dave wrote: "I pronounce it klometter. Aussies don't stress syllables, or split them, we're lazy ;-)"

This is the correct pronunciation. Well done mate.


Fiona (deifio) | 95 comments So we have now established, everyone pronounces it differently ;-) In Germany we actually say the abbreviation "ka-em-ha"

I wonder how they come up with the "kph" abbreviation though. I mean it reads like "kilo per hour". Kilo-what per hour? The "m" for meter is important too!
It seems there is no convention on how to abbreviate "kilometers per hour".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kilometr...


message 11: by PointyEars42 (last edited May 03, 2014 02:29AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

PointyEars42 | 44 comments South Africa: we also stress it as KIL-om-etres or, like the Aussie above, noticeably swallow the "i" and say "klometres". Ha! Klom! My car's speedometer says km/h. (And I switched spellings from "metres" for distance and "meters" for a measuring instrument - pity that distinction falling out of use).


message 12: by Louise (last edited May 03, 2014 04:36AM) (new)

Louise (louiseh87) | 352 comments I didn't even realise it was possible to write kilometres per hour as km/h...but then I've rarely used kilometres for measuring anything since school. Not sure what my car uses because it doesn't use a dial for speed (meaning it's either mph or kph, never both). Changing mph to kph just seems more logical. And to be fair, "mph" doesn't make any more sense because "m" can be used to refer to metres just as much as miles.

I say Kill-Om-ih-ters :)


terpkristin | 4118 comments I'll weigh in that I think more engineers would be tempted to write it km/h (my first inclination, at least) because if you have to change units, the format for which is numerator and denominator is more visually obvious.


message 14: by Phil (new) - rated it 5 stars

Phil | 1136 comments Don't forget klicks is also sometimes used for both kilometers and kph as in "You're 20 klicks from home" and "You must be doing 120 klicks".


Joanna Chaplin | 1175 comments While we're discussing units, what precisely is a "Sol" the way they use it? From context, it sounds like a Martian day. It's close to but not the same as an Earth day. Did he ever define it in hours? Search is not helping me in this case.

As an American microbiologist, I'm only familiar with the smaller metric units. Nanograms, microliters, milimeters, etc. I have no good sense of a kilogram or a kilometer.


Fiona (deifio) | 95 comments It says in the book somewhere, that a "sol" is a Mars day, which is 40 minutes longer than an Earth day.


Joanna Chaplin | 1175 comments Fiona wrote: "It says in the book somewhere, that a "sol" is a Mars day, which is 40 minutes longer than an Earth day."

Thanks!


John (Nevets) Nevets (nevets) | 1531 comments I think I remember reading that on one of the Mars lander missions, I think Spirit/ Opportunity, they had special watches made up that ran on a Mars standard day. And based their shifts on it as well, rotating the 40 minute difference each day.


message 19: by Sean (new)

Sean O'Hara (seanohara) | 2365 comments Sean wrote: "And just to make things even more annoying, you've probably been mispronouncing kilometre your entire life. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/bad..."

No you haven't. Plait very clearly doesn't know anything about linguistics. Creating a derivation or compound often alters the pronunciation of a morpheme. You don't say "inpossible" or "conplicate. You don't pronounce "divinity" or "collision" with the long-i of "divine" or "collide." "Blackguard" and "comfortable" are pronounced nothing like their individual components would suggest.

Just because a pronunciation doesn't make sense to Plait doesn't make it wrong. "Kil-aw-meh-ter" is widely accepted, it's listed in dictionaries, and everyone knows what you're talking about when you say it, so it is perfectly correct.


message 20: by Ken (last edited May 03, 2014 08:59AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ken (kanthr) | 334 comments The "/" indicates "per". So the two ways of writing KPH Km/h are equivalent in verbal pronunciation. The reader has the choice of interpretation between "kilometres per hour" or "k{m} per h (kph)". Either way of writing it can be said using either interpretation.

BTW, a "sol" is and is not a Martian day. It is a term to define the time period of one planetary rotation. This will vary on different planets. It's a way to say "one day" on a given planet from that planet's perspective, and do so in a general sense to avoid having to name the duration for each planet in discussion.


message 21: by Dara (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dara (cmdrdara) | 2693 comments I have no issues with it being kph. I'm also American so unfortunately we do not use the metric system. Also because in Mass Effect, Joker says "KPH" so it's fine.


Ruth (tilltab) Ashworth | 1861 comments I'm English. Sometimes we use the metric system. Sometimes we don't. We buy pints, then notice the accompanying packet of crisps weighs 250g. It's confusing. I'm used to seeing MPH for miles per hour, so KPH makes sense to me.


Darren Sean wrote: "And just to make things even more annoying, you've probably been mispronouncing kilometre your entire life. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/bad..."

Does Plait also pronounce "mile" as "mee lei"?


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