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Notya's counting system

From:Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
Date:Tuesday, May 4, 1999, 7:13
        It seems that some people are interested in knowing more about Notya, so I
will continue here with one of the strangest feature of Notya: its counting
system. This counting system functions nearly as if basic numbers were
ordinal numbers, and not cardinal numbers. What I mean will be clearer with
an example. The first thing to know is that this counting system uses a
base 20. The example I'll use is the way you say "one: 1". The complete way
to say "one" is:

aapaasjoacaatyoamiae /aapaazoatsaatjoamiae/ (often pronounced

It can be translitterated as
1-1-20-1-400-1-8000-1-160000-1-3200000-1-64000000 and means exactly:

"the first of the first twenty, of the first four hundred, of the first
eight thousand, of the first one hundred and sixty thousand, of the first
three million two hundred thousand, of the first sixty-four million".

        It means that numbers are counted from their position in the scale, which
is cut in 64 millions, which are cut in 3200000s, themselves cut in
160000s, themselves cut in eight thousands, themselves cut in four
hundreds, finally cut in twenties. Of course, when we are in the first one
of these parts, we can omit them, so "one" can also be said:

'aapaasjoacaatyoami', or 'aapaasjoacaatyo', or 'aapaasjoaca', or
'aapaasjo', or 'aapa', or even simply 'a'. The longer forms are in fact
nearly never used, except in formal contexts (in fact,
'aapaasjoacaatyoamiae' has even a nearly religious meaning, being used
sometimes to refer to everything, the whole Universe (or all universes)
from past to future, the whole Infinity that is One, that some religious
Noli consider identical to God).

        Here are other examples of numbers in this system, which will make you
understand better how it works:

paapa: "the twentieth of the first twenty": twenty (or simply 'pa')
atopa: "the first of the second twenty": twenty-one.
pjapjupa: "the tenth of the third twenty": fifty.
papapa: "the twentieth of the twentieth twenty": 400 (you can also say
simply          'sjo')
aapatosjo: "the first of the first twenty of the second four hundred": 401.
                (also more simply 'atosjo', as 'apa' can be omitted)
papapatosjo: 800.

With this system, 64,000,000 can be called simply 'e', or in a longer
fashion 'papapapasjopacapatyopami'. The first one would be used in nearly
any context, the second having a "mathematical" flavour. To mean
64,000,001, you'd say 'atoe', omitting everything between, as I already said.

        This system can seem complicated, but in fact it's just a matter of
training and after a short moment, you are able to count in this system
nearly as easily as in the one we're accustomed to.

        To end this post, I must add that you can't use numbers on their own
(except in rare cases or in mathematics). You have to use counters (not
like in Japanese, but only words to mean that you count in quantity, rank,
number of times, etc...).

        Do you know any other conlang or natlang that uses a system like that? I'm
curious to know whether it's really an original invention, or if, as usual,
I just reinvented something already existing.

                                                        Christophe Grandsire
                                                |Sela Jemufan Atlinan C.G.

"Reality is just another point of view."

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