Words and/in pages

I think the strangest thing is when we think of an advanced degree program requirements in anomalous  ways. Take this, for example.

These degrees are supervised by Professor X, and result in a written research thesis of around 80,000 words.

Wow. 80,000 words? Okay, so that’s roughly 320 pp, so why couldn’t they say 320 pp? In this publications defense, it is from the UK. But then that makes me wonder about the way they perceive not just situations differently from the way we do here in the states, but the way that advanced degree programs are perceived. Personally, I think this is torture only because it’s harder to look at and absorb such a large number. Would you rather hear 80,000 or 320? I would choose 320. But that’s just me.

It is true that we have to keep in mind that although 80,000 is large, it is measured in words, as opposed to pages. There’s a difference. Conceptually, a page (or pages, whatever) is larger than, say, a word, since words are the things that fit onto a page. So something seems to happen when we say 320 pages as opposed to 80,000 words. Something in our mind neutralizes these numbers and they somehow become one-of-the-same. My guess is that it happens because since the concept itself is large and that includes a small(er) number,  it becomes of the same level with 80,000 since that large number is part of a small measuring unit (words per page).

So does this mean that concepts are scarier than the words? Or is it that they are the same? Do they play off of each other? Neutralize each other?

Weird. Maybe someone knows something about this.


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