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Re: Ebisedian number system (I)

From:Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Thursday, July 18, 2002, 19:23
On Wednesday, July 17, 2002, at 08:21 , JS Bangs wrote:

> Steg Belsky sikyal:
>> Well, Hebrew (and Arabic, if i remember correctly) multiples of 10 are >> plural in form: >> >> 20 `esrim >> 30 sheloshim >> 40 arba`im >> 50 hhamishim >> etc. >> with the |-im| masculine plural ending. > > Is this like the Romanian practice of writing "30" (for example) as > _treizeci_ "three tens" ? That's clearly something else. I don't know > Hebrew, but trying to parse the forms it doesn't look like it.
No, it isn't. The Hebrew forms literally mean: tens, threes, fours, fives etc. Volapük also formed it tens like this but, unlike Hebrew, Arabic etc, 20 was 'twos' and ten itself was 'ones', thus: UNITS TENS 1 bal 10 bals 2 tel 20 tels 3 kil 30 kils 4 fol 40 fols etc. I say 'formed', since in 1931 revision of Arie de Jong this was abandoned. 10 became 'deg'; 20, 30 etc became 'teldeg', 'kildeg' etc.
>> Also, the Hebrew and Arabic words for "2" are dual: |shtayim| (-ayim) and >> |ithnaan| (-aan/-ayn), respectively. > > Actually, this is also true in Greek, so I should have mentioned this as > a > common exception.
It was true in the oldest IE languages. But even in Classical Greek it was often treated as indeclinable and noun following it was (almost) always plural, not dual. In all post-classical forms of the Greek it has remained indeclinable, unlike one, three & four which are still declined in modern Greek. The Latin _duo_ perpetuates the old IE dual and its declension was a strange mix of dual & plural forms. One other word was declined the same way: _ambo_ = "both". Ray.