Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 13:39:58 -0500 From: Ronald Butters Subject: Re: Zero or "o"? On Mon, 27 Nov 1995, Larry Horn wrote: > Of course the Operator position was originally keyed to O because the latter > was referred to as "oh", or so I assume. Anyway, the one position we NEVER get > 'zero' is in referring to years like 1903--yet there's no possibility of > analyzing that as '19-operator-3'. I have a feeling the full range of labels > is complicated and pretty interesting. In sports scores, for instance, the > losing score is "nothing" (never "oh" and rarely "zero") if it's baseball or > football, "nil" if it's soccer, and "love" if it's tennis. Otherwise, 0 is > usually "oh" for reasons of least effort in house addresses, dates, etc., but > as Marla points out this may change in computer addresses, as it already has > to some extent in other contexts where the value of a particular alphanumeric > symbol is otherwise unrecoverable (as between letter "O" and number "0") and > where the distinction matters--license plates, vehicle IDs,... Let me further complicate the matter: my grandfather (and other Iowans of his generation--and maybe my father as well [b. 1912]) said "nineteen aught three" for 1903. "Aught" was pretty poplular, at least in Iowa, in the earlier part of this century.