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Each day in France, by numbers

If there’s any aspect of speaking French that scares me the most, it’s the numbers. Even scientific French snags a lesser spot on the scale of scariness. Smaller numbers, sure, no problem. Deciphering the numbers higher between 69 and 100 on their own, I’ve managed them quite well (I hope).

However, throw in the hundreds (cents), thousands (milles), millions (millions) and billions (milliards) altogether, I simply cannot interpret the numbers quickly enough. Especially when it comes along the line of “deux cent soixante treize millions six cent quatre-vingt onze mille deux cent trente deux” which if you try to break it down word by word, it’s “two hundred sixty thirteen million six hundred four-twenty two thousand two hundred thirty two”. Number-speak, it’s 273,691,232.

Spot the connection yet? Someone should really have came up with better way to say 70, 80 and 90 in French centuries ago which is not sixty-and-ten, four-(times)-twenty, and four-twenty-and-ten respectively. It’s not only I who had this problem, am I right Jo?

Nonetheless, given that I’m trying to stay put in this country for a while, I best get used to listening to the rattlings of numbers one after another. I don’t yet know how long this is going to take me to the point where I can accurately capture each figure in the first go, so practice practice practice, which is how this video comes in handy.

What is happening in 24 hours in France, day in, day out? An infographic video with clear narrative, but with continuous numerical information being fed throughout. Practice material! If you wish to attempt this exercise yourself, stop reading now. It’s time to play-and-pause the video a gazillion times (it felt like that to me) when I stubbornly tried to work all the numbers out until I finally decided I’ve saturated my effort for the day – and asked Frédéric to check it for me. Overall verdict, good effort but could do better with long numbers.

For the curious, here you go, each day in France, in number:

To kick it off
– 65,350,180 French
– 153,000,000 cigarettes smoked
– < 180 death caused by tobacco - 900 victims of medical accidents - 359,424 antibiotics prescribed Talk techy to me - 273,671,232 SMS sent - 1.4 billion emails sent - 24,000,000 internet connections - 2 hours 15 mins average connection time Sell, sell, sell! - 32,000,000 baguettes - 1,500,000 sandwiches - 300,000 pots of Nutella - 2,160,000 cups of coffee drank - 3,136 new umbrella - 413,698 tubes of toothpaste - 259,000 Bic - 59,040 boxes of contraceptive pills - 6,027 new cars What else? - 19,958,400 laundry runs - 9,763,200 kg of stuff dumped on the footpath - 18,356 tourists visiting Eiffel Tower - 15,000 prefers to go to the Louvre - 1,000,000 people at the hairdressers - 5 bars closed down - 1 jeweller robbed - 1.8 person assassinated - 2,246,400 m2 of agricultural land disappeared - 1 farmer committed suicide Ah the private side of life - 397 relationships began from online dating site - 18,676,000 sexual intercourses - 730 marriage/wedding celebrations - 1,496 deaths - 2,268 births

Category: Fun Fact

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6 scribbles & notes

  1. medca says:

    OMG….farnee stats kekekeke ;)

  2. Chloé says:

    It’s all about the hyphens. You should consider “quatre-vingt” as a word on its own, rather than two words with a hyphen. I guess the hyphen is harder to spot in speech though.
    Or you could go to places where they use “octante” or “huitante” for that (and “nonante” for “quatre-vigt-dix” etc.) You’d enjoy yourself in Switzerland or Belgium I’m sure :P

    • Lil says:

      oh i do use quatre-vingt as a word on its own, but when it has additional number following it which is higher than 10, it’s not just a matter of translating number but also doing arithmatic at the same time. given sufficiently reasonable time to digest the information, it’s fine. but when spewed off quickly, it’s not that easy… maybe one day it’ll come instinctively somehow ;)

  3. Chloé says:

    Ah yes, I guess it’s hard to spot for me :P I would never think of adding them up… Quatre-vingt-douze is 92. It’s not 80+12 (and even less 4×20+12). Hehe. I guess that’s what you call instinct… For me, it’s just another word, I don’t really decompose it. Avoid German or Dutch afterwards, maybe: they go three-and-sixty for 63 etc. It’s tricky too!

    • Lil says:

      hehehe, well since i’m not planning to learn german or dutch anytime soon, i think i’m safe with that. although, having said that, if it’s a fixed pattern, it should be relatively easy to pick up. i’m assuming they don’t have something along four-and-two-forty for 84 :p

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