U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Science and Technology
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 03-27-2017, 03:18 PM
 
15 posts, read 10,648 times
Reputation: 37

Advertisements

I am originally from Sweden, although I have lived in America for a few years, and one thing that I have noticed a couple times from American science lecturers is that some of them talk about numbers and various "notations" as if they were persons.
For example, a typical phrase when they eliminate variables or whatever seems to be that they "knock out that guy", and they also seem to refer to some stuff by gender pronouns, such as "he" and "him".
I always thought that this sounded pretty funny, but maybe it is just a simple casual way to refer to whatever they are working with.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 03-29-2017, 11:50 AM
 
23,372 posts, read 33,807,765 times
Reputation: 30324
Welcome to Americanisms.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-29-2017, 01:45 PM
 
Location: Old Hippie Heaven
11,921 posts, read 4,466,774 times
Reputation: 5867
Quote:
Originally Posted by Markus86 View Post
I am originally from Sweden, although I have lived in America for a few years, and one thing that I have noticed a couple times from American science lecturers is that some of them talk about numbers and various "notations" as if they were persons.
For example, a typical phrase when they eliminate variables or whatever seems to be that they "knock out that guy", and they also seem to refer to some stuff by gender pronouns, such as "he" and "him".
I always thought that this sounded pretty funny, but maybe it is just a simple casual way to refer to whatever they are working with.
Yes it is pretty common for americans to refer to inanimate objects as "guy", including mathematical objects and physical objects such as ions. For animate beings, women/girls will also call themselves "guy", even though I'm pretty sure "guy" was originally masculine.

I can't tell you how or why it started, but it's been going on for several decades now.

You're exactly right, it is "just a simple casual way to refer to whatever they are working with".
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-30-2017, 11:38 AM
 
23,372 posts, read 33,807,765 times
Reputation: 30324
Back when I worked at a company that had gone international we had a meeting to tell everyone to be careful about what we said when dealing with people in other countries.

What brought it to the attention of the owners was when a French employee asked about someone and was told "They bought the farm." The person inquired about where the farm was, how big, etc.

"Bought the farm" is a euphemism for dying in America.

An Awkward conversation ensued.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-30-2017, 12:06 PM
 
106 posts, read 28,640 times
Reputation: 163
I goes the other way too. I know in some rural parts, inanimate objects are also called "she" or "her". It makes for some awkward sayings like if your truck runs out of oil, you can say "She ran dry".

I think the most awkward use of this phenomenon is a guy I met in college who referred to his penis as "she".
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-01-2017, 11:28 AM
 
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
9,230 posts, read 10,939,007 times
Reputation: 5496
Quote:
Originally Posted by jacqueg View Post
Yes it is pretty common for americans to refer to inanimate objects as "guy", including mathematical objects and physical objects such as ions.
Seriously? I can't remember anyone ever in my life referring to math numbers as... he, she or guy.

Cars? For sure. That's not just an american thing either. But numbers? Disagree. NOT normal.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-01-2017, 11:37 AM
 
23,372 posts, read 33,807,765 times
Reputation: 30324
I'd say it's a weird habit that the instructor has picked up. I'm also guessing the students wish the instructor would stop.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-01-2017, 08:23 PM
 
Location: Old Hippie Heaven
11,921 posts, read 4,466,774 times
Reputation: 5867
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peregrine View Post
Seriously? I can't remember anyone ever in my life referring to math numbers as... he, she or guy.

Cars? For sure. That's not just an american thing either. But numbers? Disagree. NOT normal.
Maybe it's regional.

But I have indeed heard profs moving terms in blackboard equations from one side to the other, saying something like "now if we move this guy over to the other side, then we..."
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-02-2017, 09:44 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
108 posts, read 57,717 times
Reputation: 188
It was common when I was in college in the Midwest (Chicago area.)

"If you take this guy and move him over here below this guy... then take the inverse of that guy..."
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-04-2017, 12:41 AM
 
Location: Richardson, TX
8,060 posts, read 14,757,772 times
Reputation: 17477
I think it's a way of trying to make a dry subject slightly more accessible.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Over $99,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Science and Technology
Similar Threads

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2017, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 - Top