Final Word from Friday, April 3, 2009

The financial crisis has led to such number inflation that yesterday's million is today's trillion. Or is it "bilion"? Or "thousand billion"? It depends on which language you speak. A trillion is 1,000,000,000,000 for an American, sometimes 1,000,000,000,000,000 for a Czech (although "tisíc bilionů" or "biliarda" is correct) and 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 for a German. This can lead to lots of confusion. Ivana Trump, for example, told Czech TV, in Czech, that a friend of hers has lost a "bilion" crowns in the crisis. A "bilion" in Czech is a "trillion" in English, and not even The Donald has that much money to lose. At the same time, some Czechs who watch too much CNBC are now speaking of "triliony" in Czech, when they really mean "biliony" (trillions). The trillion-dollar question is: When will the G20 leaders do something useful and bring some global regulation to this numerical g000ulash?[Czech Republic goulash]

Glossary of difficult words

Trillion dollar bash - a word play on the Bob Dylan song "Million Dollar Bash";

bash - (informal) a party or social event;

bilion - the Czech word for "trillion";

thousand billion - the way Britons often refer to "trillion";

The Donald - the way Ivana Trump refers to her ex-husband, Donald Trump;

CNBC - a financial-news station;

goulash - a mixture of many different things; a hodgepodge;

g000ulash - a play on the way Google writes its name.


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