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Number systems (was: Picto & Dil)

From:Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Tuesday, April 19, 2005, 18:11
On Monday, April 18, 2005, at 01:36 , Henrik Theiling wrote:

> Hi! > > Ray Brown <ray.brown@...> writes: >> ... >> In other words, just add the plural ending to the units - just like >> Schleyer's Volapük! Arie de Jong's reformed Volapük is better than Dil in >> this matter. He introduced the word _deg_ for 10, and the other tens are >> formed in the same way as Esperanto (and modern Welsh :) by combining the >> words for 2, 3, 4 etc with 10, thus: >> teldeg = 20, kildeg = 30, foldeg = 40 etc. > > And what's '200' in this lang? I suspect it is tel + another special > word (teltum maybe like in Volapük)?
Yep - same in both versions of Volapük.
> What's '2000'? Again tel + > another special word (maybe 'telmil')? But '20000' is totally > different (like 'teldegmil')?
> And the next level of base words is 'a > million', 'a billion', etc? (balion, kelion, ...)?
I have no information about this - I presume that this was left the same in reformed Volapük. Also I assume _kelion_ was 'billion' in the older German & British use of 'a million millions', and not the American (and now IME contemporary British) use of a 'thousand millions'.
> I still don't like this specialised treatment of a few exceptional > bases (like 10, 100, 1000 in many IE langs and 10, 100, 1000, 10000 in > most East Asian langs) with a second level of special bases (e.g. a > million in English or '100 million' in Japanese). It introduces an > asymmetry and makes translation of large numbers between, say, > Japanese and English were hard. Try translating '123,456,789' from > English into Japanese. That's very painful.
I know - but I do not think either Fr Schleyer not Arie de Jong were familiar with counting in east Asian langs :)
> My approach that originally for Tyl Sjok uses a base and exponent > representation. Much more symmetry there: > > (zero ten) three = 3, > (one) ten three = 30, > two ten three = 300, > three ten three = 3000, > four ten three = 30000 > etc. > > Stuff in () is optional. > > It's quite simple to translate between this and English, I think. > Unfortunately, there is no empirical data about this claim. :-) > > (The above number would be > 'nine ten one two three four five six seven eight nine' > in Tyl Sjok, BTW. Erm, with all words directly translated, of > course. :-))
In other words: 0.123456789e9 :-) or, in Tyl Sjok: {exponent} ten {mantissa} It's neat, but how easy this is the 'person in the street' I don't know - as you say there is a lack of empirical data :-) I guess if the exponent is greater than 9, then we'll have 'ten' expressed twice, for example ten one two ten three four five six seven = 0.34567e12
> Errrm, all this is not an auxlang argument for me, but a purely > artistic, esthetical issue.
So I have understood.
> I only feel that auxlangs, with their > special design goals, are one class of langs thot should have some > similar ideas.
They should certainly be aware of the problem if they are supposed to global. But the prefixes for SI units are based on the 1000 division: ... pico-, nano-, micro-, mili-, kilo-, mega-, giga- etc and that might suggest keeping a similar system in an auxlang - but I'll leave that to that other list ;)
> OTOH, I also feel that highly abstract artlangs like > Ithkuil should do better than natlangs ('better' = 'symmetric') > instead of using complex but asymmetric number systems.
Conlangs can do all sorts of things with numbers (and indeed some do) - they do not even have to stick with base 10. Indeed, if I ever get around to designing an artlang, I suspect I would not use boring ol' base 10 :- ) Ray =============================================== =============================================== Anything is possible in the fabulous Celtic twilight, which is not so much a twilight of the gods as of the reason." [JRRT, "English and Welsh" ]


Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>