[ Music Open: bouncy Muzak rendition of “The Alphabet Song” ]
Announcer: And now, Mr. Joseph Franklin of the U.S. Council of Standards and Measures.
Joseph Franklin: Thank you. Tonight I’d like to talk to you about how the new metric system of conversion will affect you. This is one in a series of public reeducation programs designed to make Americans aware of the metric conversion to take place in the next ten years. Most Americans already know that the measurement of miles will be discarded in favor of kilometers – a systme of measurement based on the unit of tens and already in use in most of the world. Few people, however, know about the new metric alphabet: the “Decibet”; “deci” from the Greek “ten”, and “bet” from our own “alphabet”. Let’s take a look, shall we? [ holds up large poster of the Decibet ] Now, isn’t that simple? Only ten letters. Twn fingers.. ten letters.
[ holds flip cards ]
Now, let’s take a look at some specifics.
[ shows Card 1 ] A, B, C, and D: our first and most popular letters will remain the same.
[ shows Card 2 ] E and F, however, will be combined and graphically simplified to make one character.
[ shows Card 3 ] The groupings GHI, and..
[ shows Card 4 ] LMNO will be condensed to single letters. Incidentally, a boon to those who always had trouble pronouncing LMNO correctly.
[ shows Card 5 ] And finally, the so-called “trash letters”, or P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, and Z, will be condensed to this easily recognizable dark character.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, and ten! Now, let’s take a look at how this change will affect our daily speech habits.
[ shows card ] In the EF grouping addition, the word “eagle” would remain basically the same in character, but would be pronounced “efaglef”. However, certain words previously beginning with the letter F, like..
[ shows xard ] ..”fish”, would be pronounced with an additional E sound: this, “efish”. “I caught a big efish.”
[ shows card ] “Goat” would remain “goat”.
[ shows card ] “Hotel” will carry the G letter addition, but as in many words beginning with the GH sound, such as “Ghana”, the G would remain silent; thus, “hotel”. However, words beginning wih I..
[ shows card ] .. as in “industry”, will be pronounced “gindustry”. The meaning will remain the same. LMNO’s grouping is similar.
[ shows card ] “Mucus” will be LMNOucus”.
[ shows card ] “Light” would remain “light”.
[ shows card ] And “open” would then ne “LMNOpen”, as in, “Honey, would you LMNOpen the door?” Finally, the “trash letters”, or the letters from P to Z, would then make a stop sign appear like this: [ holds up stop sign with unintelligble blotch on it ] So there you have it. We hope to eventually establish the Universal Metric Alphabet in America by 1979. Join me next time, when we explore the changes you’ll be seeing in alphabet soup and spelling bee contest rules. But now, let’s sing the old favorite, the childhood “Alphabet Song”, as we will hear it in the future..
[ singing ] “A, B, C, D, EF.. GHI.. J, K, LMNO.. [ blotch ]”
[ fade out ]
Don Roy King has directed fourteen seasons of Saturday Night Live. That work has earned him ten Emmys and fourteen nominations. Additionally, he has been nominated for fifteen DGA Awards and won in 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.
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