## Saturday, July 10, 2010

### Patterns and brain

People living in the United States would always read out their phone numbers like this: XXX XXX XXXX, groups of 3, 3 and 4, where the first 3 digits together represents the area code.  Social security numbers are xxx xx xxxx groups of 3 ,2 and 4.

Everyone follows this pattern, works just fine.

I wanted to see what would happen if I broke this pattern.  Got an opportunity a few days back.  Was talking to a Sales rep. of the local Cable company.  When I was asked the phone number I broke the conventional 3-3-4 pattern and went  4 5 1 pattern.  When I was asked to repeat, I followed a  5 5 pattern.

The sales person was confused and I was requested to break the number up into the regular pattern ie. 3-3-4.

Exactly the same thing, when I had to tell someone my Social security number.  I broke the conventional 3-2-4 pattern and it resulted in confusion !!

That said:  When I talk to people in India, the way each one gives you the phone number is really funny.  Absolutely no patterns.  The cell numbers are sometimes broken into xxxxx xxxxx pattern, but I don't see anyone following any patterns for their home numbers.

Nine double eight four double zero triple eight two !!   This is how someone told me their cell number.  Translates to 9884008882  !  I called another friend and asked him the phone number of my other friend...I mean the number 9884008882   and this is how he said :

Nine double eight four, double zero triple eight  two !

I didn't stop there,  I called this other friend, who totally surprised me by reading it out as

988-400-8882  , just like how it's done here in the US !

No wonder Indians are (considered) good at numbers !

QUESTION -  Does anyone know the Cellphone number patterns in India ?  Is there a meaningful grouping ?  Same thing about home numbers.

Anonymous said...
The Talkative Man said...

It's possible the area code in the US ph # is emphasised so that the listener can mentally note whether the person giving the number belongs to the same area, the next 3 is absorbed in sing-song fashion with the area code(3 letters,3 letters). I generally make up a word with my last 4 digits(w-o-r-k, e-a-s-y etc)

Anonymous said...

Jo said...

Cell phone numbers usually has a 5-5 format in India. For land phones it differs totally. I asked a couple of friends. Two of them said 10- and then some 2-2-3.

Anonymous said...
Jeevan said...

I hear many spell the numbers in 5-5 pattens and for me 4-3-3 comes easily. but i confuse many time in between these.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

RajmiArun said...

Anna,
All these confusions are because of the landline and the mobile number. In US, as far as I know, both have the same number of digitis. Here we have only 8 digits in landline and 10 digits in mobile numbers. It is easy to divide it as 4+4+2. or 3+3+4. but I normally follow 5+5 pattern when I say my own mobile number. You have made me think how I spell the mobile numbers of others. Let me make an introspection.

Anonymous said...

Habit is a second nature...................................................

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Cellphone nos. in india follow a 5-5 pattern while the current landline pattern is 4-4 (without STD code) and 3-4-4 (with STD code.