From: | Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...> |
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Date: | Monday, February 22, 1999, 14:01 |

I think that Tj'a-ts'a~n counting system is one of the strangest feature of Tj'a-ts'a~n (at least for Westerners). I don't know if any other conlang or natlang has a system resembling it, and would be very happy to know that. The counting system is based upon two numbers: 8 (the Sky People have 4 fingers per hand) and 7 (as they have 3 toes per foot, one foot plus one hand equals 7 fingers). The basic numbers from 1 to 8 are the names of the elements: 1: sjem /Sem/ (daily sky) 2: bor /bor/ (wood) 3: new /new/ (air) 4 wir /wir/ (water) 5: pi /pi/ (plant spirit) 6: nja /njQ/ (animal spirit) (/Q/ is a back rounded a) 7: sum /Sum/ or /Zum/ (earth) 8: jer /jer/ (fire) You also have 56: pse /pse/ (big, tall), 64: roj /roj/ (human) and 448: pse.roj (56*64!). The Sky People (at the time when I begin their history) have no concept of number zero. The counted object is an attributive at the partitive case, completing a group of juxtaposed nouns corresponding to the numbers. Juxtaposition corresponds to addition, compounding to multiplication (with the multiplier -the smallest number- after the multipliee -the biggest number-). The gender of a number is j- ("quality") except if the counted number is not present. In that case, the number takes the gender of the omitted object. To count beyond 8, you must compound and juxtapose numbers. Here is how it works (compounding is multiplication *, juxtaposition is addition +): 9 = 8 + 1: j-jer tj-sjem 10 = 8 + 2: j-jer j-bor 11 = 8 + 3: j-jer nj-new 12 = 8 + 4: j-jer j-wir 13 = 8 + 5: j-jer tj-pi 14 = 2*7: j-sum.bor /j@-Zum-bor/ 15 = 2*7 + 1: j-sum.bor tj-sjem 16 = 2*8: j-jer.bor 17 = 2*8 + 1: j-jer.bor tj-sjem 18 = 2*8 + 2: j-jer.bor j-bor 19 = 2*8 + 3: j-jer.bor nj-new 20 = 2*8 + 4: j-jer.bor j-wir 21 = 3*7: j-sum.new 22 = 3*7 + 1: j-sum.new tj-sjem 23 = 3*7 + 2: j-sum.new j-bor 24 = 3*8: j-jer.new 25 = 3*8 + 1: j-jer.new tj-sjem As you can see, to name a number, you take the biggest multiple of 7 or 8 smaller than the number and you add the remainder if any. So when you continue you have also: 48 = 6*8: j-jer.nja 49 = 7*7: j-sum.sum /j-ZumZum/ ... 55 = 7*7 + 6: j-sum.sum nj-nja 56 = 56: tj-pse 57 = 56 + 1: tj-pse tj-sjem ... 63 = 56 + 7: tj-pse j-sum 64 = 64: j-roj 65 = 64 + 1: j-roj tj-sjem With bigger numbers, you begin to seek the biggest multiple of 56 or 64 smaller than the number, and then you add the remainder whose name is created with the first rule I explained. 111 = 64 + 6*7 + 5: j-roj j-sum.nja tj-pi 112 = 2*56: tj-pse.bor 113 = 2*56 + 1: tj-pse.bor tj-sjem ... 127 = 2*56 + 2*7 + 1: tj-pse.bor j-sum.bor tj-sjem 128 = 2*64: j-roj.bor 129 = 2*64 + 1: j-roj.bor tj-sjem ... 168 = 3*56: tj-pse.new ... 192 = 3*64: j-roj.new ... 447 = 7*56 + 7*7 + 6: tj-pse.sum j-sum.sum nj-nja 448 (= 8*56 = 7*64): tj-pse.roj (definitely a mistake, as 56*64=3584, but as the order between pse and roj is not the good one -pse: 56 is smaller than roj: 64, we must see that number as immotivated, not really as a compound). For bigger numbers, you take the biggest multiple of 448 and then add the remainder. For instance: 1500 = 3*448 + 2*64 + 4*7: tj-pse.roj.new j-roj.bor j-sum.wir NOTE: the order between juxtaposed terms can be as you want (addition is commutative), but the one I propose is the most used. Well, as usual: what do you think of it? Christophe Grandsire |Sela Jemufan Atlinan C.G. "Reality is just another point of view." homepage : http://www.bde.espci.fr/homepage/Christophe.Grandsire/index.html