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Re: numerals

From:Andreas Johansson <and_yo@...>
Date:Thursday, April 5, 2001, 17:31
YHL wrote:
>On Wed, 4 Apr 2001, Andreas Johansson wrote: > > > Hm, I'm working on Tairezazh's numbers sytem. I've not even managed to > > conjure up a word for "zero" yet, but I've made a system that's quite > > simple: > >Er...since in the history of math zero is usually the latecomer, I'd say >you're fine. :-)
Well, seeing that this conlang is suposed to be spoken around 25,000-30,000 AD, I fear I'll have to conjure up a word for it eventually ...
> > > The base is ten, uncreatively enough. To create the numbers 11-19, you >just > > add the name of the relevant unit to the word for ten. Eg, _thel_ "ten" >and > > _dza_ "one" gives _thel-dza_ "eleven". Add _vef_ "three" instead and you >get > > _thel-vef_ "thirteen". To express multiples of ten, you add the unit >before > > instead - _sei_ "two" gives _seithel_ "twenty", _vef_ gives _vefthel_ > > "thirty" etc. This works nice up to _trafthel-trav_ "ninety-nine" >(notice > > assimilation _vth_>_fth_. Normally you'd expect >_vdh_ instead, but the > > stress is on _thel_ in these words). Now, **_thelthel_ wouldn't do, >instead > > we have _ksád_ "hundred". The same system can be applied to this - >[snip] >Mathematicians in Tairezazh must have a lot of fun rolling the syllables >off their tongues when discussing the larger numbers. :-) > >YHL
Sure, about as fun as we have saying nine-hundred-ninety-nine-million-nine-hundred-ninety-nine-thousand-nine-hundread-ninety-nine (999,999,999). There's nine (!) syllables /nain/ in that ... For really large numbers, the Tairezazh system is actually more economic than ours. We need words for every 3rd power of ten (plus for 10^1 and 10^2), but the numbers in between are expressed by adding a number up to 999 before the nearest smaller integer power. Tairezazh only need words for the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 8th, 16th, 32th etc power of ten. Thus they need fewer (different) words to express numbers greater than 1000, tho' the difference is small up to a few more powers of ten. Andreas PS The reasoning above assumes we'll stick to "milliard" or "billion" to express 10^9. If we accept things like "thousand million" or "million trillion" (assuming a European trillion, that's one quadrillion or 10^24), we can of course cut down on the number of needed words. If we accept "million million million ... million" we can get inifinitely big numbers with a finite number of words, but this process of elimination quickly leads to expressing 999.999.999 as "nine-nine-nine-nine-nine-nine-nine-nine-nine", which's less than helpful. _________________________________________________________________________ Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at


Yoon Ha Lee <yl112@...>