Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan> Post by Christian Weisgerber Post by Lynn McGuire Post by Dorothy J Heydt
I heard Hal explaining to our grandson yesterday about the
different meanings of "first floor" in the US and the UK.
Germans follow that also. The first floor in Germany is the second
floor in the USA. I am not sure what the bottom floor is in Germany,
the NULL floor ?
The ground floor.
That's the bureaucratic, prescriptive usage at least. In practice,
there is a lot of confusion. Judging from the comments on the
Wikipedia discussion page, there's at least a swath of south-western
Germany where "first floor" means the ground floor in ordinary
language, which matches my personal experience. Then there are
even people who think that the numbering differs whether you use
"Stock" or "Etage" for 'floor'.
If you want to be unambiguous, use "1. Obergeschoss" or short "1. OG"
for the level above the ground floor. The "Ober-" part makes it
clear that it's one up from a lower floor.
There was a "space-warp" cross-walk corridor on campus where they
joined two buildings. You would enter the (completely level) corridor
and the third floor and exit on the 4th or vice versa. I think I heard
they eventually resolved the confusion by giving one building a "Ground"
floor and renumbering the others 1,2,3 etc. I haven't been in there
in 30 years so I can't say for sure though..
Oh, gosh. There's a whole building like that on the Berkeley
Campus of the University of California. It's called Dwinelle
Hall and it houses a lot of English and other languages' classes.
It's built on a hill. There's a classroom wing and a faculty
So if you go in the main (eastern) entrance, you're on the
floor where all the classrooms have three-digit numbers
beginning with 1. There's a floor above it where all the
classrooms have three-digit numbers beginning with 2.
Beneath the 1XX floor there's a floor where all the
classrooms have *two*-digit numbers, and beneath that there
are a few rooms (class-, storage-, and I forget what else)
beginning with B.
But if instead of going upstairs or down, you go north, you get
into the office wing, which has rooms with *four*-digit numbers,
until you get to the bottommost floor which has (IIRC)
three-digit numbers. Also, this wing is in the shape of a hollow
square surrounding a small garden that no one but Grounds and
Buildings employees can get into. This is so each of the offices
can have a window.
And I think I'm forgetting another few odd details; it's been a
Poul Anderson wrote a story set in and around Dwinelle once. I
think it was the one about two telepaths detect each other from
a distance, and they're very eager to meet in person ... until
they get close enough to read ALL each other's thoughts, and turn
away in disgust. Anyone remember the title?
Dorothy J. Heydt
djheydt at gmail dot com