From: | Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...> |
---|---|

Date: | Saturday, August 27, 2005, 17:32 |

Hallo! I have just found out something about the numerals of Old Albic. The numbers 1-12 (Old Albic numerals are base 12) are: _sama _1; _tovu_ 2; _theri_ 3; _letvi_ 4; _phendi_ 5; _tøthri_ 6; _hesphi_ 7; _tølti_ 8; _terthri_ 9; _tøphni_ 10; _sendi_ 11; _rasta_ 12. These are inflected like animate nouns and agree with the counted noun in case. The final vowels are of course number markers (_-a_: singular, _-u_: dual, _-i_: plural; _rasta_ `12' is a special case, it might be better translated as `a dozen'). You may have noticed that the numerals from 3 to 11 all have front vowels in their root syllables. This is of course to be expected as the /i/ of the plural suffix umlauts the preceding vowel. Indeed, for some of them, forms with back vowels are well attested in dialects or derivations, and the phoneme /ø/ is a product of i-umlaut anyway. So, we have the following roots: *sam- 1; *tov- 2; *thar- 3; *latv- 4; *phand- 5; *tothr- 6; *hesph- 7; *tolt- 8; *tharthr- 9; *tophn- 10; *sand- 11; *rast- 12. Of these, *sam-, *tov- and *thar- are unanalysable, but resemble their Indo-European counterparts *sem-, *duw- and, less perfectly, *trei-. It is tempting to interpret the element *-tv- in *latv- as a kind of zero grade of *tov-; but what then is *la-? A possible connection is to _lothu(m)_ `pair' which is of course *lath-u(m). So *latv- could be from *lath-tv- `a pair of 2s'? The numeral root *phand- `5' distantly resembles PIE *penkWe-, but only the first three segments match, and *phand- is generally considered related to _phañ_ `hand', apperently via *phañ-d- > *phand- with assimilation of the velar nasal. The root *hesph- `7', in contrast, has so far defied analysis. `6', `8' and `10' form an interesting group. They all begin with *to-, which, as all these numerals are even, could be related to *tov- `2'. If we split off this initial *to-, we get the remaining forms *thr-, *lt-, *phn- which could be interpreted as zero grades of *thar-, *latv- (with loss of the semivowel at the end) and *phand- (with loss of *d), hence, these are `2*3', `2*4' and `2*5'. Similarly *tharthr- `9' < *thar-thr- `3*3'. Remain *sand- `11' and *rast- 12. The latter is not analysable, but *sand- might be from *sam-da- `one off [twelve]'. Finally, there is the word _stala_ `0'. This is a new formation connected with the invention of the zero in Classical times, derived from the word _stal_ `empty'. Greetings, Jörg.