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Weeks (was Re: Opinions on English)

From:Nik Taylor <fortytwo@...>
Date:Monday, September 18, 2000, 0:52
Yoon Ha Lee wrote:
> Obconlang: how are units of time handled in conlangs? And I've been > wondering how many natlangs have 7-day "weeks," and what other > day-groupings are common.
Well, most of the cultures of the Old World have 7-day weeks, but that's probably because of cultural diffusion. For instance, the Egyptians used to have a 10-day week, but replaced it with one borrowed from the Babylonians, the Greeks got their week from the Egyptians, and then the Romans got theirs from the Greeks, and we got ours from the Romans. The Maya had *two* weeks, one of 13 days, and the other of 20 days. Thus, there was a 260-day cycle called the Tzolkin, of when those two weeks coincided. The French, after their Revolution, used a calendar with 12 30-day months (with 5 or 6 at the end of the year), divided into 3 10-day "décades". It was abandoned after something like 12 years. Conculturally: The Kassí use a 6-day week, each day having an element associated with it. The whole month also has an element associated with it, the element of the day that it begins with, and the year had an element associated with the first day. IOW, if we had a similar system, this would be a "Friday month", and a "Saturday year", because September 1 was a Friday, and January 1 was a Saturday. The Traders used a "5/6 day" week. What this means is that they had a 6-day week, but those 6 days were divided into 5 "sacred days". Details are unknown. Even this information only leaked out by accident, and the one who leaked it has since been executed. They are a very secretive people, especially about their religion. -- Dievas dave dantis; Dievas duos duonos God gave teeth; God will give bread - Lithuanian proverb ICQ: 18656696 AIM Screen-Name: NikTailor