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Lady Florida.

Unimportant question about a word pronunciation

Pronunciation of Kilometers  

87 members have voted

  1. 1. How do you pronounce kilometers?

    • KILL o meeter (UK pronunciation)
      6
    • Kill AH mitter (US pronunciation)
      62
    • Both ways, depending on context.
      17
    • Puppies!
      2


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Unimportant, but I'm curious. The word is kilometers and here's why I'm wondering.

Most people in the U.S. don't deal with the metric system regularly unless they're in a profession/field that uses it. Still, we know it and we know most of the words. I've always pronounced kilometers with the accent on the second syllable and all short vowel sounds. That's also how I've always heard others pronounce it. Phonetically it would be -

kill AH mitters. 

I've been listening to a podcast by a Canadian investigative reporter for the CBC. Her name is Connie Walker for those of you in Canada who might be familiar with her. The podcast is called Missing and Murdered and is centered around missing and/or murdered indigenous women. She keeps pronouncing it

KILL oh meeters. 

I looked it up and saw that the UK pronunciation is how she's pronouncing it. So, how do you pronounce it, especially if you're not from the U.S.? I'm familiar with different pronunciations depending on which side of the pond you come from, and especially so since I started watching more and more British tv shows. For some reason though I've never heard a different pronunciation for kilometer.

 

Edited by Lady Florida.

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I grew up (in AL, fwiw) hearing KILL-o-meters but now mostly say ) kil-AH-mitters. I’m still in AL, so I don’t really know what changed. 

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I usually say it the US way.

Your podcast subject, though, reminded me of the movie Wind River which was about that topic and really, really moving.

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I grew up saying kilAHmitters, and had a really hard time changing to the British pronunciation while living in the UK for 10 years. Same with pronouncing oregano as oreGAHno. (And yet for some reason I switched to pronouncing the H in herb very easily and then had a hard time dropping it when we moved back to the States.) 

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Generally, in a sentence, I say kill Ah mitter.  It seems to fit better that way.   But, I also often tend to say Kilo Meeters in other situations.  Though thinking about it, I suppose that most often happens when I am trying to emphasize the prefixes.  Like Kee lo Grams, vs Kee lo Meeters.  And I would never say killAhgrams, it's always Kee lo grams.  

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25 minutes ago, Pamela H in Texas said:

I can't vote!  I say it both ways depending on the context!

Lived in Texas almost all my life 🙂

 

Yes, there needs to be a choice for both! Although my pronunciation doesn't depend on context, it's completely random. Louisiana. 

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Brought up in US, kil-AH-mitters.

My friends from some other countries do say KILLomeeters.  But they also say KENtucky and a few other interesting pronunciations, LOL.  At least KILLomeeters sounds logical.

 

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With my kids talking about math, I do the KILLomeeters because it contrasts well with CENTimeeters, MILLimeeters, etc.

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2 hours ago, Pamela H in Texas said:

I can't vote!  I say it both ways depending on the context!

Yep. Depends on the context. Similar to SKL, if doing math with kids, I emphasize the prefix. US born & raised.

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2 hours ago, SusanC said:

 

Your podcast subject, though, reminded me of the movie Wind River which was about that topic and really, really moving.

Yes. I think I first heard about that movie here at WTM. It was quite powerful.

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2 hours ago, katilac said:

 

Yes, there needs to be a choice for both! Although my pronunciation doesn't depend on context, it's completely random. Louisiana. 

I added an option for both.

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Well - I'll be the pedantic Canadian about this and say that "KILL oh meeter" is correct and the other pronunciation is not. 🙂  "Kilo-" is a prefix in the metric system so you can have kilograms, kiloliters, kilowatts, etc.  If you say the prefix by itself, it's "KILL oh", not "kill AH". 🙂

Although a true Canadian would probably just give the distance in "klicks" as in I live about 350 klicks from Winnipeg.  But that might be a regional prairie thing. 😉

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As a Canadian who is about 700 km from Winnipeg in a different direction....

I voted both. But mostly we say ki-law-mi-ter. And I polled the kids, who concurred.

However, in these parts, a click is more likely to mean mile, so....

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1 hour ago, arctic_bunny said:

As a Canadian who is about 700 km from Winnipeg in a different direction....

I voted both. But mostly we say ki-law-mi-ter. And I polled the kids, who concurred.

However, in these parts, a click is more likely to mean mile, so....

Are you close to the border, AB?  We're right on the border and lots of people here use both and many will say kill Ah meter (US style pronunciation).  I think I tend to say KILL oh meeter because I teach science and spend whole lessons going over the metric prefixes and kill Ah gram just sounds funny. 🙂

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Not from US and kilometers is pronounced the same as how kilo is used as a prefix in SI units. My elderly relatives who are ESL and grew up with UK imperial units (during British colonial times) pronounced kilo as key-low.

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3 hours ago, Dicentra said:

Are you close to the border, AB?  We're right on the border and lots of people here use both and many will say kill Ah meter (US style pronunciation).  I think I tend to say KILL oh meeter because I teach science and spend whole lessons going over the metric prefixes and kill Ah gram just sounds funny. 🙂

No, not close to the border. I will be paying close attention to everyone else, though!

Like I said, I think for me it depends on context, and I think I use the uk pronunciation when discussing units in particular. 

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Canadian  - Ontario.  KILL-o-meters.  Just like the CBC 🙂

 

Edited by wathe
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So maybe KILL-oh-meeter is a distinctly weird Canadian thing, not a Brit thing. 🙂

That's OK.  We Canadians tends to just be generally weird all around. 😉 😄

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I pronounce it either way, but I am not a native speaker, and I lived in the U.K. for 12 years before the US. Sometimes I don’t know whether I am coming or going when it comes to pronouncing certain words, so please, don’t mind me and carry on!

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I'm Canadian - I think I use both pronunciations. With speed (km/hr), I tend to say 100 kil-O-metres per hour. But with distance measurement, I tend to say 60 KILL-o-metres. 

I've heard the term "clicks" used on the prairies (AB, SK, MB), but I don't use it myself. 

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