Why do we say Nine Eleven, not Nine One One?

Why do we say Nine Eleven, not Nine One One?

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Discussion

Mr Spoon

Original Poster:

360 posts

5 months

Sunday 6th June
quotequote all
So watching the 24h of the nurburgring, I somehow had this thought, why do we say 911 (nine eleven) when talking about Porsches flagship model but all the others we say each number individually, 9-2-8, 9-4-4 or 9-1-8, 9-8-6, 9-8-7 etc etc ?

Pica-Pica

8,417 posts

51 months

Sunday 6th June
quotequote all
It is all about lip and tongue movement. Including syllables - the mouth takes the quickest movement.
It is the same with Welsh language initial letter mutations, hard for a beginner to understand, but it is simply a case of ease of lip, tongue, and mouth movements. At least that is my take on it.

gazza285

7,586 posts

175 months

Sunday 6th June
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I have always said nine one one...

elanfan

4,798 posts

194 months

Sunday 6th June
quotequote all
gazza285 said:
I have always said nine one one...
What’s your emergency?

Mr Spoon

Original Poster:

360 posts

5 months

Sunday 6th June
quotequote all
Pica-Pica said:
It is all about lip and tongue movement. Including syllables - the mouth takes the quickest movement.
It is the same with Welsh language initial letter mutations, hard for a beginner to understand, but it is simply a case of ease of lip, tongue, and mouth movements. At least that is my take on it.
I speak Welsh. I'm from Pembrokeshire wink

Grantstown

430 posts

54 months

Sunday 6th June
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The Germans say ‘neunelfer’ so I guess we’re just copying them?

g7jhp

6,576 posts

205 months

Sunday 6th June
quotequote all
"Nine Eleven or "Nine One One"

Why use three words when you can use two?(and Nine Eleven sounds better IMO).

Trackdayer

697 posts

8 months

Sunday 6th June
quotequote all
Grantstown said:
The Germans say ‘neunelfer’ so I guess we’re just copying them?
This!

Trackdayer

697 posts

8 months

Sunday 6th June
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Although I have to admit I was saying "ninety-one one" until this thread.

dbdb

4,091 posts

140 months

Sunday 6th June
quotequote all
It's cultural - just how English speakers treat certain numbers in speech.

It's not limited to the Porsche 911. Very few people people would call their Volvo 940 a Volvo Nine-four-zero or a Volvo Nine hundred and forty, it would be regarded as most pedantic if they did. Almost everyone calls them a Volvo Nine-Forty. Similarly, The old Austin 1100 was called an Austin Eleven-hundred, not an Austin One-one-zero-zero, so it isn't limited to foreign-made cars.

av185

13,721 posts

94 months

Sunday 6th June
quotequote all
If these minor things bother you then call your nine eleven by its proper code name which would be e.g. nine nine seven or nine nine one or nine nine two etc.

av one eight five.

67Dino

2,479 posts

72 months

Sunday 6th June
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For the same reason no ones says the ‘S’ in Boxster.

RDMcG

16,431 posts

174 months

Sunday 6th June
quotequote all
We didn’t say Twenty -one-one in 2011, nor did we describe the F-111 as the F-one-one, nor the Bristol Four-one-one for example.

E63eeeeee...

595 posts

16 months

Sunday 6th June
quotequote all
Pica-Pica said:
It is all about lip and tongue movement. Including syllables - the mouth takes the quickest movement.
It is the same with Welsh language initial letter mutations, hard for a beginner to understand, but it is simply a case of ease of lip, tongue, and mouth movements. At least that is my take on it.
Pretty sure it's not that in this case, otherwise we'd pronounce the phone number like that and we don't. It's actually much harder and slower to say "nine-eleven", not least because your mouth wants to add another "n" between the words because they won't elide evenly, the "ine" is long and the first e is short - so you end up saying "nine neleven" on top of the extra and longer syllable.

I think it's one of those evolved conventions about numbers (like writing numbers up to twelve in full but using numerals for 13 onwards) because if you compare it to BMW for example, everybody says "three-thirty" but there's much more variation in whether people say "three-one-eight" or "three-eighteen", then everyone says "three-three-five".

Some numbers essentially have names (up to twelve, and all the multiples of ten) and others are broadly portmanteaus of smaller numbers, so maybe you're more likely to use the name if it has one even if it's not actually easier or quicker to say. This kind of stuff is why I don't envy people learning to speak English.

Cliftonite

7,727 posts

105 months

Sunday 6th June
quotequote all
g7jhp said:
"Nine Eleven or "Nine One One"

Why use three words when you can use two?(and Nine Eleven sounds better IMO).
Or, by the same token, why use four syllables when you can use only three?

(O/T?: Is it twenty twenty one this year or two thousand twenty one?)

smile

E63eeeeee...

595 posts

16 months

Sunday 6th June
quotequote all
Ah, also nine-one-one makes sense as the outlier because you have to dial it as three separate numbers.

Mr Spoon

Original Poster:

360 posts

5 months

Sunday 6th June
quotequote all
dbdb said:
It's cultural - just how English speakers treat certain numbers in speech.

It's not limited to the Porsche 911. Very few people people would call their Volvo 940 a Volvo Nine-four-zero or a Volvo Nine hundred and forty, it would be regarded as most pedantic if they did. Almost everyone calls them a Volvo Nine-Forty. Similarly, The old Austin 1100 was called an Austin Eleven-hundred, not an Austin One-one-zero-zero, so it isn't limited to foreign-made cars.
i called my boxster a 9 - 8 - 6 not a 9 - 86.

so your volvo point doesn't answer the question. Why we call a 9-40 volvo that and others we say each number, is a mystery to me

Scrump

14,679 posts

125 months

Sunday 6th June
quotequote all
Mr Spoon said:
i called my boxster a 9 - 8 - 6 not a 9 - 86.

so your volvo point doesn't answer the question. Why we call a 9-40 volvo that and others we say each number, is a mystery to me
It has been stated quite a few times already.

It is shorter and quicker to say ‘nine forty’ than to say ‘nine four zero’.
It is shorter and quicker to say ‘eleven hundred’ than to say ‘one one zero zero’.
It is shorter and quicker to say ‘nine eleven’’ than to say ‘nine one one’.

It is not shorter or quicker to say ‘nine twenty eight’ than to say ‘nine two eight’.
It is not shorter or quicker to say ‘nine forty four’ than to say ‘nine four four’.
It is not shorter or quicker to say ‘nine eighty six’ than to say ‘nine eight six’


Pica-Pica

8,417 posts

51 months

Sunday 6th June
quotequote all
Mr Spoon said:
Pica-Pica said:
It is all about lip and tongue movement. Including syllables - the mouth takes the quickest movement.
It is the same with Welsh language initial letter mutations, hard for a beginner to understand, but it is simply a case of ease of lip, tongue, and mouth movements. At least that is my take on it.
I speak Welsh. I'm from Pembrokeshire wink
Sir Benfro, plîs.

Pica-Pica

8,417 posts

51 months

Sunday 6th June
quotequote all
Cliftonite said:
g7jhp said:
"Nine Eleven or "Nine One One"

Why use three words when you can use two?(and Nine Eleven sounds better IMO).
Or, by the same token, why use four syllables when you can use only three?

(O/T?: Is it twenty twenty one this year or two thousand twenty one?)

smile
But 9-11
Comes out as nine-levn, for most people (two syllables); not nine e-lev-en (four syllables). Say 9-11 and then 9-1-1 and feel how your tongue moves, especially against the palate. There is little lip movement, so it uses less facial and mouth muscles than 9-1-1