From: | Thomas Hart Chappell <tomhchappell@...> |
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Date: | Tuesday, January 10, 2006, 1:14 |

http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=author:"Hammarstrom"%20intitle:"Number% 20Bases,%20Frequencies%20and%20Lengths%20Cross-Linguistically" and [PS] Number Bases, Frequencies and Lengths Cross-Linguistically Harald ... File Format: Adobe PostScript - View as Text 2.2 Less Common Bases Frequency data on other numeral systems tends to be very ... a frequency curve not much different from its base-10 neighbour languages ... www.cs.chalmers.se/~harald2/numericals.ps - Similar pages [PDF] Number Bases, Frequencies and Lengths Cross-Linguistically File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML systems is now lost forever. The different-natured body-tally counting systems of ... Chepang: A sino-tibetan language with a duodecimal numeral. base? ... www.cs.chalmers.se/~harald2/utrechtabs.pdf - Similar pages discuss base-and-place systems in the world's languages, among other topics. He mentions the existence of, and provides references to find out about, natlang systems that are (or, in some cases, were) binary, ternary, quaternary, octal, base-six, base-five, base-ten, base-twenty, and base- twelve. He says: "The different-natured body-tally counting systems of Papua New Guinea can have cycles of sizes from eighteen to seventy-four, with twenty- seven the commonest; but it is not clear in what sense they should be equated with 'bases'..." He looks at the "commonest numbers" in several languages (specifically, the frequency of numbers from zero to one-hundred in corpora from 100 different languages). Low numbers and round numbers (powers of bases, and low-number- multiples of powers of bases) tend to be used with greater frequency in every language. He also looks at the "length" (in segments) of number-words in these languages to test his hypothesis that the more frequent numbers tend to be shorter than the less frequent numbers. He looks more closely at a decimal language (English) and a vigesimal language (Danish). Interestingly, he reports that, among the numbers between eleven and nineteen, the most frequently used numbers in seven languages (English, French, Japanese, Kannada, Dutch, Catalan, and Spanish) are twelve and fifteen. Twelve is a "round number" in bases two, three, four, six, and of course twelve; but not in bases five, eight, ten, or twenty. Fifteen is a "round number" in bases three and five; but not in bases two, four, six, eight, ten, twelve, or twenty. I do not know the number systems of any of those languages except English and French (and I or may not remember that much Spanish), so I don't know what bases they use. English is decimal, and French is vigesimal from seventy up to ninety-nine, decimal otherwise. Hints in the manuscript seem to indicate that the other five languages are also each mostly-decimal, at least for most of the range from zero to one-hundred. If a language does not have base three or base five, why is "fifteen" a common numeral? If a language has base five or base eight or base ten or base twenty, why is "twelve" a common numeral? ----- Extant, as opposed to extinct, base-four and base-eight languages, are (says the author) hard to get corpora for; as is the only "bona-fide base- six system" he knows about. He says all of the base-five systems he knows about convert to base-ten or base-twenty for numbers above twenty. He mentions some base-twelve systems that stay base-twelve up to twelve-cubed (1728). ObConLang; Human natlang multiplication-and-addition based numeral systems, seem to have bases of seventy-four or less. Would a conlang for a non- human language work well with a base of eight-four, ninety, ninety-six, one- hundred-eight, one-hundred-twenty, or one-hundred-sixty-eight? What sort of rationale would make this plausible? ----- Tom H.C. in MI

John Vertical <johnvertical@...> |