How to Count “One Mississippi” in the World

I know that I am not the only one who learned to count “one Mississippi, two Mississippi” as a child. The idea, of course, is that when you insert these words between the numbers, your counting rate will roughly correspond to the seconds on the clock. But the Mississippi cannot be universal throughout the world, can it? The redditor asked how people count seconds in places other than the US and got some amazing answers .

Mississippi is used outside of the US, though perhaps because the word has made it on enough television shows that it sounds familiar. One Australian recalled that the Mississippis learned to count long before they knew the word was real. The Hungarian said something similar that one can often hear “egy Mississippi, két Mississippi …” in their country. The Canadian notes that not only did they grow up in Mississippis, but the locals did not appreciate the alternative: “I do remember one kid using the Mississauga, but we laughed at him.”

But there is a big place in the world and there are other words used to count slowly around the world, although several redditors said they were familiar with the concept, so this is not universal. Some of the more interesting answers are:

One elephant …

Polysyllabic animals seem to be popular. One British magazine editor counts “one elephant …” and several Australians recalled that they studied “one shepherd’s dog …”. Other animals used in the English-speaking world include the hippo and alligator. In South Africa, you can count “een krokodil, twee krokodil” (“one crocodile, two crocodiles”).

One case of beer …

There are crates of beer in Denmark. “En kasse øl, to kasser øl, tre kasser øl”.

Other products have also been added to the list. “One banana, two bananas” is another option in English-speaking countries, and “one potato, two potatoes” was mentioned as an option in Scotland. You can also use potatoes in Afrikaans: “een aartappel, twee aartappels …”

Twenty one, twenty two …

The German and Dutch words for “twenty-one” and “twenty-two” each have four syllables. Let’s use a German example: instead of quickly counting “one, two, three” (eins, zwei, drei), you just start with 21, which is einundzwanzig. The rhythm of the words will take care of the rest: EIN-und-swan-zig, DREI-und-zwan-zig …

The concept exists in several languages. Polish editor “we say sto dwadzieścia jeden, sto dwadzieścia dwa … That means one hundred twenty-one, one hundred twenty-two.” And in English we have one thousand, one thousand and two.

Check the box one …

In India, it could be “check box one, check box two.” Just doing its job.

One bastard …

I’ve learned a lot from reading this thread, but the word I’m planning to take is, after all, ” bastard” suggested by a Canadian. Now I only count seconds when the coach gives me pause squats. (You squat, wait in agony for the prescribed amount of time, and then stand up again.) When I cut the pause too short, he told me things like “make sure you stay there for two full Mississippi.” Well, no more. I’ll count “one bastard, two bastards …”

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