pronunciation - decimals

Joe Tamargo

Senior Member
United States English
I have been wondering how decimals are expressed orally in Spanish. If sea water is 97.4 percent salt, how do Spanish speakers say that? El noventa y siete punto quatro por ciento doesn't seem like it could be right because the decimal point is a comma. (Usually, or always?) On the other hand, replacing the word punto with the word coma doesn't seem right either.

Please set my mind at rest or I will never find peace.
 
  • Artrella

    Banned
    BA
    Spanish-Argentina
    Joe Tamargo said:
    I have been wondering how decimals are expressed orally in Spanish. If sea water is 97.4 percent salt, how do Spanish speakers say that? El noventa y siete punto quatro por ciento doesn't seem like it could be right because the decimal point is a comma. (Usually, or always?) On the other hand, replacing the word punto with the word coma doesn't seem right either.

    Please set my mind at rest or I will never find peace.


    El noventa y siete coma cuatro por ciento ... Always a comma, at least in Argentina !!

    But sometimes, you can hear someone saying "noventa y siete punto cuatro por ciento"

    However the correct way is using "coma"


    Oh Joe, I hope your mind will be at rest!!! I really want you to find peace!!!

    ;) :eek: :)
     

    Hatuey

    Member
    Cuba, Spanish
    In English 97.4 is read niney-seven and four tenth of a percent. I wage is the same in Spanish. Colloquially comas and points are the norm.
    H.
     

    NavyBlue

    Senior Member
    Spain/Spanish
    El noventa y siete coma cuatro por ciento

    This is the correct way. El noventa y siete punto cuatro por ciento is an Anglicism, probably due to calculators and related technology.

    In Spanish we use a point when in English you use a comma and vice versa.

    So 97,4 % (read "coma") in Spanish would be 97.4 % in English.

    And 2,000 pounds would be 2.000 libras (read "dos mil") in Spanish.

    Alternatively you can say "con" instead of "coma",

    Ex. Este vestido me costó 20,50 € (read "veinte con cincuenta")

    although to my ear "coma" sounds better with percentages.

    As a bonus, I would like to add that years are written without a point or a comma.

    Ex. Colón descubrió América en 1492 (not 1.492).

     

    Focalist

    Senior Member
    European Union, English
    Another important distinction between English and Spanish usage is that whereas English says
    7.63 seven point six three
    Spanish has
    7,63 siete coma treinta y seis
    I.e. in Spanish the figures after the decimal marker are read as if they were whole numbers. Or, at least, that's my experience: I somehow doubt, however, that "un valor de pi de 3,14159" is read in this way! (¿Comentarios de los coforeños hispanohablantes?)

    Incidentally, when I was at school saying saying something like "one point twelve" (for 1.12) was considered a huge mistake by maths and science teachers:
    -- It is not "one point twelve", boy. It is "one point one two" - one tenth and two hundredths. Write out "1.12 is one point one two" 500 times before tomorrow morning!

    F
     

    mogu

    Member
    Spain/spanish
    I somehow doubt, however, that "un valor de pi de 3,14159" is read in this way!


    I disclaim if there´s a rule about it in spanish but in the case of several decimal ciphers i think you can say it in a lot of ways.

    Case of two decimal numbers:

    5,10 ---> cinco coma diez
    6,21 ---> seis coma veintiuno

    Several decimal numbers:

    3,1416 ---> tres coma catorce dieciséis
    3,14159 ---> tres coma catorce uno cinco nueve
    3,14159 ---> tres coma uno cuatro uno cinco nueve

    In the case of money there´s only two decimals and we read as a number.

    Reading telephon numbers is the same . Usually i hear people saying numbers on pairs but i prefer say them on units:

    694654788 ---> seiscientos noventa y cuatro , sesenta y cinco , cuarenta y siete, ochentaiocho.

    694654788 ---> seis, nueve, cuatro, seis, cinco, cuatro, siete, ocho, ocho
     

    Focalist

    Senior Member
    European Union, English
    Thanks for that, Mogu.

    By the way, in English we would never normally have a figure like 5.10. Since there are no hundredths, we would shorten it to 5.1.

    It's slightly different with money because there's another set of units (pence, cents, etc)

    £1.20 : one pound twenty (or one twenty), i.e. one pound and twenty pence
    €1.72 : one euro seventy-two (or one seventy-two)
    $2.25 : two dollars twenty-five (or two twenty-five)

    (Exchange rates correct at time of going to press!)

    F
     

    cristóbal

    Senior Member
    EEUU/Inglés
    Focalist said:
    Thanks for that, Mogu.

    By the way, in English we would never normally have a figure like 5.10. Since there are no hundredths, we would shorten it to 5.1.

    It's slightly different with money because there's another set of units (pence, cents, etc)

    £1.20 : one pound twenty (or one twenty), i.e. one pound and twenty pence
    €1.72 : one euro seventy-two (or one seventy-two)
    $2.25 : two dollars twenty-five (or two twenty-five)

    (Exchange rates correct at time of going to press!)

    F

    I have to correct you on one thing, you can have 5.10, just as you can have 5.10000000, it's a matter of significant digits, and in science it's very important. To say 5.10 means you have a more precise measurement than 5.1 :)
     

    cristóbal

    Senior Member
    EEUU/Inglés
    mogu said:
    Reading telephon numbers is the same . Usually i hear people saying numbers on pairs but i prefer say them on units:

    694654788 ---> seiscientos noventa y cuatro , sesenta y cinco , cuarenta y siete, ochentaiocho.

    694654788 ---> seis, nueve, cuatro, seis, cinco, cuatro, siete, ocho, ocho

    This has me intrigued because one time I was telling my phone number to someone and began with "seiscientos setenta y nueve..." and she looked up at me and said "¿Cómo?"
    Maybe it was my accent that made it come out weirder and it didn't sound like seiscientos, but nevertheless, ever since then I've always said every number as if it were a single digit and not put any together in units.

    Another question, zip codes, or postal codes... is there any sort of rule? how would you say 28040? dos ocho cero cuatro cero? or something different?
     

    belén

    Senior Member
    Spanish, Spain, Catalan, Mallorca
    For zip codes

    Veintiocho mil cuarenta or veintiocho cero cuarenta - 28040
    28150: Veintiocho, ciento cincuenta
    08007 - Cero ocho cero cero siete
    50006: Cincuenta, cero cero seis
     

    belén

    Senior Member
    Spanish, Spain, Catalan, Mallorca
    Mogu, let me give you my proposal:

    You say it how you think it is easier to be understood.

    But now I have my doubts as well!!!! :)
     

    cristóbal

    Senior Member
    EEUU/Inglés
    ¿Me queréis decir que no hay ninguna regla ni norma para los códigos postales?

    Uy... déjame practicar... 40512 (si existiera... porque no sé si existe o no)...
    ¿cuarenta quinientos doce?

    Mogu, there's nothing wrong with your sentence, except that easiest is spelled "easiest" :)
     

    mogu

    Member
    Spain/spanish
    easiest is spelled "easiest"

    :D right . i was repeating "eisiest...eisiest...eisiest" in my mind while i was writting it and my fingers have listened it.



    You say it how you think it is easier to be understood.

    Thanks Belén , another way to say it .Developing my 40 words vocabulary.
     

    Focalist

    Senior Member
    European Union, English
    cristóbal said:
    I have to correct you on one thing, you can have 5.10, just as you can have 5.10000000, it's a matter of significant digits, and in science it's very important. To say 5.10 means you have a more precise measurement than 5.1 :)
    Well, blow me down!

    Presumably, then, 5.1000000000000000000000 is more precise than 5.10000000.

    When I was going to school (admittedly: a very long time ago now) the meaning of "significant figures" was precisely that the zero in 5.10 was not significant -- no more significant than the zero in 05.1, or those in 0005.1000.

    When giving precise figures, trailing zeros to the right of the decimal point are as redundant as leading zeros to the left ot it, surely?

    The number of significant figures may, of course, matter greatly -- I seem to remember examination papers which gave instructions like "give your answer to three significant figures" -- but precisely "5.1" is exactly equivalent to "5.10 to two significant figures", is it not?

    Are you saying that zero and nothing are not the same thing, cristóbal? (Probably :( -- I lost touch with higher mathematics some time ago!).

    I suspect that this has to do with science versus maths, however. I also dredge up from dim and distant memory the fact that in mathematical graphs one marked points with an x, but in physics with a "dot in circle" (symbolizing the fact that the finding was -- could never be anything other than -- an approximation, given the infinity of possible decimal places).

    F
     

    cristóbal

    Senior Member
    EEUU/Inglés
    Focalist said:
    Well, blow me down!

    Presumably, then, 5.1000000000000000000000 is more precise than 5.10000000.

    When I was going to school (admittedly: a very long time ago now) the meaning of "significant figures" was precisely that the zero in 5.10 was not significant -- no more significant than the zero in 05.1, or those in 0005.1000.

    When giving precise figures, trailing zeros to the right of the decimal point are as redundant as leading zeros to the left ot it, surely?

    The number of significant figures may, of course, matter greatly -- I seem to remember examination papers which gave instructions like "give your answer to three significant figures" -- but precisely "5.1" is exactly equivalent to "5.10 to two significant figures", is it not?

    Are you saying that zero and nothing are not the same thing, cristóbal? (Probably :( -- I lost touch with higher mathematics some time ago!).

    I suspect that this has to do with science versus maths, however. I also dredge up from dim and distant memory the fact that in mathematical graphs one marked points with an x, but in physics with a "dot in circle" (symbolizing the fact that the finding was -- could never be anything other than -- an approximation, given the infinity of possible decimal places).

    F

    Yes, it is considerably more important in scientific experimentation. Any zero following a non-zero digit (that is to say, when there is a non-zero digit to the left in the number) is a significant digit.
    Therefore... 5.1000 has five significant digits, where as 5.10 has three, and 0.01 has only one.

    Furthermore, in your example, this is precisely why the zero in 5.10 is important, whereas the 0 in 05.1 is not. In 0005.1000 the first three zeros are insignificant, whereas the last three are significant. It is because they are not simply holding a place, such as in .001 but instead are making it clear that the number is precise to the ten thousandth. Whereas, to say 5.1 instead implies that the number could actually be 5.1213 rounded up. In 5.1000 there is no room for doubt on whether the number has been rounded up, until you get to the hundred-thousandth position.

    I'm no scientist, but something tells me I have a somewhat "closer" connection to the sciences (time-wise only!). :)
     

    mogu

    Member
    Spain/spanish
    Even though Cristobal has answered i´m going to post because i just wrote it and don´t want to erase :D

    In fact , the zeros behind the point (or coma) doesn´t add value to that cipher but it means something , it isn´t the same.

    if you´re using a test tube and it has marks each mililiter you can read measures likes:

    0.025 liters

    The same value in a test tube with marks each 0.1 mililiter must be:

    0.0250 liters

    In the first case it wold be 0.0252 liters but your test tube can´t measure those 0.0002 liters becouse it´s a too small amount.

    Because that , the zeros on the left doesn´t modify the cipher but it have a very important meaning , the device´s error . In scientific languaje you must put oll the zeros , otherwise is wrong .
     

    Focalist

    Senior Member
    European Union, English
    cristóbal said:
    I'm no scientist, but something tells me I have a somewhat "closer" connection to the sciences (time-wise only!). :)
    Something was quite right in telling you that, cristóbal :)

    Can I be let off with only a small slap-on-the-wrist if I say that I was posting about day-to-day usage and not about science?

    All the hobbits, says director Peter Jackson, had to be between 1.65 and 1.7 metres tall
    "1.7, eh? How many significant figures are you working to there?"

    La altura de los Enanos estaba entre entre 1'35 y 1,50 metros.
    Notice: 1) that trailing zero in "1'50 metros", absent in "1.7 metres"; and 2) that use of the apostrophe in the Spanish example!

    F
     

    NavyBlue

    Senior Member
    Spain/Spanish
    Cristóbal, I don't think there is a rule on zip codes but personal intuition.

    I've heard the following ones:

    27001 (veintisiete cero cero uno)

    28080 (veintiocho cero ochenta) 08080 (cero ocho cero ochenta) These ones are very common in the media.

    From my personal experience, I would read the... "decenas de millar" as a whole number and the rest would be my choice.

    Another option would be to read the zip code as a whole number, but I don't think I would ever read the whole number as individual figures.

    Regarding phone numbers, there is a third option. A few years ago, the way of dialing in Spain changed becoming compulsory to dial the area code even for local calls. As a result, six-figure phone numbers became nine-figure ones. In addition, the use of mobile phones (nine figures) became widespread. Consequently, a small percentage of the population started to write 987 654 321 instead of 987 65 43 21, as they consider it's easier to remember. So don't be surprised if you hear " novecientos ochenta y siete - seiscientos cincuenta y cuatro - trescientos veintiuno"
     
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