1. Diana
    February 14, 2012 @ 9:54 am

    Interesting post! I’ve noticed all the differences you’ve mentioned above, however, I hadn’t really considered them altogether. There are quite a few differences when it comes to numbers between the US & Germany! The dates sometimes screw me up now, because depending on what I’m writing I will use the German system or the US system and when I go back later to look at it, I forget whether it’s March 7 or August 3! haha…

    • Andrew
      February 15, 2012 @ 2:20 pm

      Indeed. As you can see from other comments, there are a number of other numerical differences that didn’t make the cut for the post. It is definitely one of those things that is different enough to cause problems, but not something that is thought about for travelers so much.

  2. Mandy
    February 14, 2012 @ 8:36 am

    I find this SOO helpful with converting measurements and temperature.

    • Andrew
      February 15, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

      Nice link. I do use a few of those. The temp conversions again are the most common for me in my head. For the distance I know how much 10cm is when I hold my hands apart. So I can be seen measuring things in my head virtually by hold my hands apart so far. It is there, but not as instinctual as feet.

  3. Jeremy Branham
    February 14, 2012 @ 7:14 am

    Many of this I am familiar with. However, the metric system and Celsius would take some getting used to. A lot of it is very practical but I think some of our numbers are better and some in Europe are better.

    • Andrew
      February 15, 2012 @ 2:16 pm

      The temperatures are what I have not yet gotten used to, the rest I can make work in my head from one extent or another.

  4. Heinrich IX
    February 13, 2012 @ 11:49 pm

    Heinrich’s collection of useless knowledge:

    a handwritten German 1 (one) is likely to be taken for a 7 by American readers

    a German billion is an American trillion

    “seventyfour” would be “four and seventy” in German

    yawn, too tired to think of more tonight 😉

    • Andrew
      February 15, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

      I remember the 1 vs 7 thing. I have to remember to remind friends that want to mail me things as we have several sevens. And with the US writing, it is possible they get interpreted as 1s.
      The Billion-Trillion thing is weird, but it is rare I ever have to deal with numbers that high. I had the reversing of numbers in my draft too, but though I would stay out of the linguistic end and keep to reading/using printed numbers.

      I like useless knowledge, bring it on.

      • Heinrich IX
        February 15, 2012 @ 7:20 pm

        Andrew, you asked for it…

        There are actually some 5 digit area codes, afaik especially in the FüNeuBuLä (fünf neue Bundesländer;-) Example: 033654 for Fünfeichen (small place somewhere in Brandenburg)

        Normally they try to assign you a 10 digit number (incl. area code), if you apply for a new landline.
        Old telephone numbers have not been converted, so in a village near us you might still find numbers like “321”, unchanged since before the war. And having a prestigious 6-digit number in Hamburg makes you member of an elitist circle of natives, “alter Telefonadel” (old telephone nobility).

        • Andrew
          February 17, 2012 @ 9:31 pm

          That about the telephone nobility is cool. A friend of mine who has been here for nearly 20 years can look at older numbers and tell what part of town they are from. So at least at one point they assigned even the local base numbers based on part of time. I don’t know if it is still true though.
          I remember a pizza place that had a 5 digit local number and one of the taxi companies still does.

  5. Sabrina
    February 13, 2012 @ 10:54 pm

    That’s a great summary of all the things regarding numbers that used top confuse me when I first moved to Texas 🙂 May I add one more? Counting with your fingers… in Germany you start with the thumb and end with the pinky, in the US you start with the index, your pinky is four and adding the thumb makes five 🙂

    The saying “Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei” made me laugh. It was a fairly popular song at a certain point amd gets dug up around carneval a lot…. and now I’m gonna get homesick a little because I’m missing it again this year 🙁

    • Andrew
      February 15, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

      I don’t remember where I heard the Wurst thing, but I like it. Carneval is in a week. I still want to see a Kölner one at some point, but will settle for Venice this year.

      I had the fingers thing in my original draft, but took it out for length. Thanks again for the reminder. I like the German way for 3, the American way of holding down the pinky isn’t as easy.

      • Sabrina
        February 16, 2012 @ 10:41 pm

        I always have trouble with the three 🙂 Venice sounds awesome. I think Cologne is very different from both the South of Germany and Venice. As a kid, we went to Neustadt one year to visit my mom’s friends and I was sooooo disappointed with their parade. The whole atmosphere was so different and much more somber I felt like. Then again, they probably think people in Cologne are nuts with the parties that are going on there!

        • Andrew
          February 17, 2012 @ 9:39 pm

          Three is hard. Especially for kids. You see them holding the pinky down at times.

          Venice will be fun. I’ve been once to Carnival there. Cologne though is still somewhere that I want to see in Carnival. I don’t really like chaotic parties, but it sounds wild to see. Basel as well is supposed to have a big thing, but it starts really early on a Tuesday morning. A Tuesday that I don’t every get off of work for.

          I was watching a movie on a friend’s phone of a Fasching thing in Hessen. It was a presentation of dancers. Groups would practice and perform. Dunno if this was in addition to a parade, but looked cool. Apparently the drinking begins after the dancing ends.

  6. fotoeins | Henry
    February 13, 2012 @ 9:41 pm

    Aside from the “standards” of length, temperature, mass, etc., the basic point of metric is the focus on units of 10, 100, 1000. In Canada, the whole country was dragged kicking and screaming in the late `70s from Imperial to metric : all signage, everything was printed in *both* units, from price per lb or kg in the market to kilometres per hour and miles per hour on the street/highway.

    What I also totally dig is where cars are registered just by looking at their plates. When I lived in Heidelberg, I got used to seeing a lot of ‘HD’ and ‘MA’ (Mannheim) license plates.

    Thanks for your post, Andrew!

    • Andrew
      February 13, 2012 @ 10:30 pm

      Hi Henry. I studied a lot of science and engineering. The powers of ten makes a lot of sense I agree. This is however at odds with my grown instinct of measurement. The temperature is the one that still gets me after years.

      I like the car plates too. I know a lot of the local towns as well as the larger towns by sight. I like the Hansa Städter still have H with them. So H is Hannover while HH is Hansastadt Hamburg.