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Re: [Fwd: dozenal and hexadecimal digits]

From:Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Sunday, May 14, 2000, 11:41
At 2:31 pm -0400 13/5/00, John Cowan wrote:
>Raymond Brown scripsit: > >> I never coined words for 12^3 (a dozen gross), but Wells' "dozand" _looks_ >> attractive; however, would it _sound_ different enough from 'dozen"? > >I was thinking that "douzand" would be better.
Much better - nice portmantaeu of 'dozen' & 'thousand' :)
> >> But now, of course, it's hexadecimal [took me a time to get used to >> misformed Graeco-Latin compound!] > >Blame IBM marketing. The technical folks used "sexidecimal" quite >properly, but it wasn't allowed out of the lab due to the supposed >prurient implication.
<groan> - tho maybe 'sextidecimal' is better. Indeed, as Tacitus actually used the adjective 'sextadecimani' (plural) to denote the soldiers of the 16th legion (sexta decima legio) and the Latin for 1/16 is 'sexta decima (pars)', one could well argue IMO for 'sextadecimal', and this is the form I give below.
>W.v.O. Quine, the philosopher, objected to "binary"; he claimed the >proper equivalent of "decimal" was "dimidial". Sounds good to me.
He is, of course, strictly correct about his claim - but I disagree about his objection. Yep - 'decimal' is derived from 'decima (pars)' = 0.1 or 1/10. It describes a number system where is place rightwards is 1/10 the value of its left-hand neighbor. Thus a system where each place rightwards is 1/2 the value of its left-hand neighbor is strictly, as Quine says, 'dimidial' <-- dimidium = 0.5, 1/2. Tho I hesitate to disagree with Quine, I see no objection to 'binary' (<-- bi:na:rius = "containing two, consisting of two" <-- bi:ni" = "two each, two at a time"); it's properly derived & fits well with ternary, quaternary, etc. One could well argue IMHO that 'denary' (<-- de:na:rius), as some use, is not a better name for for base-10 numbers. But 'dimidial point' is IMHO a far, far, far better term for the point in, say, 1011.101 (= 11.625) than "bicimal" - actually pretty well any term is better than that! The truth is we use a mixed system with some words derived from the 'fraction' word (decimal <-- decima) and some from , and same quite improperly formed, e.g. octal. And, of course, there's always the Greek derived adjectives one could use: dyadic, triadic...decadic etc :) The properly derived forms would be: FROM LATIN FROM LATIN FROM RADIX DISTRIBUTIVES FRACTIONS GREEK 2 binary dimidial dyadic 3 ternary/trinary tertial triadic 4 quaternary quartal tetradic 5 quinary quintal pentadic 6 senary sextal hexadic 7 septenary septimal heptadic 8 octonary octaval octadic 9 novenary nonal enneadic 10 denary decimal decadic 11 undenary undecimal hendecadic 12 duodenary duodecimal dodecadic . .... .... .... 16 senidenary sextadecimal heccaedecadic 20 vicenary vigesimal icosadic 'vicesimal' would be more correctly derived from Latin 'uicesima (pars)' = 1/20. But, tho my dictionary does give 'vicesimal' as an alternative to 'vigesimal', I fear the latter is too entrenched in the language now. 'heccaedecadic' would be /hEksIdI'k&dIk/ and spellt/ spelled 'heccedecadic' in north America, I assume :) But, hey, natural languages are not meant to be consistent, are they? And English is certainly not. When all's said and done, 'hexadecimal' is probably no more an 'unnatural' mix of Greek & Latin than 'television'; and if I can live with the latter, I guess I can live with 'hexadecimal'. Anyone for teleorasis? :) Ray. PS - I _know_ 'hebdomadic' & 'ogdoadic' are alternative Greek derivatives for based 7 & 8. But IMHO to say that they are "better" than 'heptadic' & 'octadic' is pedentary gone mad. ========================================= A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language. [J.G. Hamann 1760] =========================================