When I were a lad back in Blighty, a Billion were a lot. A million million, in fact. Then along came those Yanks and devalued it. A Billion became a mere thousand million.
While a million million became a Trillion. (I suppose that makes a million million million a Gazillion?)
Anyhoo, this reminds me of a story I once heard about a professor who studied primitive languages. He found himself chatting to a farmer in a poor, Third-World country. The man spoke English, so the linguist said to him, “I’ve noticed that in your language, the numbers only go up to three. So what would you say if someone asked you how many cows you had – when you had four?”
The farmer mused for a moment, then replied, “I would say I have MANY cows.”
This in turn reminds me of a REAL anomaly in my adopted country of Thailand. Here, TV programmes often have Thai subtitles on shows with Western dialogue. But whenever said dialogue includes the word “few”, the subtitles say “2-3”. Likewise, “several” translates as “5-6”.
It would seem that when dealing with numbers of anything – the Thais like to know where they stand!