# short scale / long scale angst

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Ok, so I'm teaching my daughter (hey! I don't talk about her that often here!) math with Math-U-See. That means she's learning math in English, but we're discussing it in French, and I introduce all the French terms, which we use on a regular basis. So she's exposed to the English terms when we watch the DVD but we work in French.

And then we hit the billions... ARGH

Did you know that there's a long scale and a short scale for large numbers? And it turns out that Americans and English Canadians use the short scale but French Canadians don't?

So a million is a million, but a billion isn't a billion! How's that for easiness?

The short scale goes: million, billion, trillion, etc.

the long scale goes: million, milliard, billion, billiard, trillion, trilliard, etc..

So an english million is a French milliard, and a French billion is an English trillion. Oh joy! :banghead:

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Yikes! So the two systems diverge more and more as one goes farther from million? I knew about the million/milliard but I didn't know the system kept continuing. And I thought the difference in 20th century/1900's was a nuisance! You'll have to make a number line and just keep asking her, "So what is that longscale?" or "What is that shortscale?" making her go back and forth between the two until you are sure she has it thoroughily automatic. Ug.

-Nan

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Take a look at

Canada uses both the Long scale (in French) and the Short scale (in English).

Oh the joys of growing up bilingual! NOT!

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Cleo,

Wow - I did not know that!!!!

I found a french version of Singapore Math... Maybe working with the english version and the french version would be one way to go?

Just an idea...

I know this is not what you're using Cleo- but just an idea for someone working with Singapore that want to do it bilingual in english & french..

Kate

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Take a look at

Canada uses both the Long scale (in French) and the Short scale (in English).

Oh the joys of growing up bilingual! NOT!

Oh. my. word. Well, I looked at your post, and thought "glad Spanish isn't that way. Oh, wait, isn't there something I haven't taught yet?... :tongue_smilie:" Looked at wikipedia, and there it is- mil million, sometimes called milliard. I haven't got to the higher numbers yet. I remember being confused with mil million, wrapping my little pea brain around that terminology (and all this time I thought I was smart).

It is not the cause of me dropping math in my second language though. I've decided I don't like the way the book teaches, but the mil million issue and me trying to teach it (in next year's math), is just as good a reason as any. Hopefully, by the time she's a millionaire, she'll know how to count that high (I'll accept either language :lol:).

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It does seem most Spanish speaking countries use the long scale approach too. Just like French.

So you're in trouble too ;-)

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. I'm so looking forward to scientific notation.

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Cleo,

Growing up I learned the Long-Scale approach (Spanish-speaking country).. then I moved to the USA for 9th grade.. now I understand the whole issue I had about millions and billions and trillions... Thanks..

Kate

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Cleo,

Growing up I learned the Long-Scale approach (Spanish-speaking country).. then I moved to the USA for 9th grade.. now I understand the whole issue I had about millions and billions and trillions... Thanks..

Kate

Ack! Yes. And me coming from short-scale, teaching dd math in Spanish, I was :confused: figuring out that billiones is not billion. And thousand million was a completely foreign concept that I just could not picture in my mind. Still can't, until I look at it.

I didn't even know short-scale and long-scale existed until this thread. :001_huh: Poor, befuddled American I am.

Thank you, Cleo (no, I really mean it). It makes more sense now.

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Like lots of the others I also didn't know that there was a name for this number confusion. Not so sure if I'm thankful though :001_smile:

My approach is to forget what I learned in Germany and go with the English names, since we do maths in English only. If they want to study maths or a science in greater depth at a German University they'll just have to figure it out for themselves then.

Having said that, we haven't fully avoided it, since they learned it the German/ French/Spanish way at Tajik school. :D

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Oops double post - ignore.

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German's that way too - I hadn't realized what the problem was, just knew "billion" was "Millard", but didn't know there was some unifying reason - I hadn't thought too much about what "Billion" meant - really comes up mostly when talking about the national debt, which I haven't had to do much in German. :tongue_smilie: Even when taking a year of 12th-grade math in Germany - usually they keep the numbers under a trillion.

So what other languages use the short-scale (also didn't know such a thing existed till this thread - what I learn here!)

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So what other languages use the short-scale (also didn't know such a thing existed till this thread - what I learn here!)

It's all listed on the wikipedia page. There doesn't seem to be any reason to the list though. But it sure makes the scientific notation quite handy. Honestly, this doesn't come up much, unless you're dealing with the one lesson in math on higher numbers or, as you said, the national debt !:tongue_smilie:

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In Spain and the UK the long system is used. An American billion is 1,000 million. A billion in Spain and the UK is a million million.

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