Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Ebisedian numbers: an epilogue

From:H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>
Date:Tuesday, July 23, 2002, 3:43
One of the issues that came up with the Ebisedian number system was
whether to inflect number words for number or not. Well, I've made a final

<cue drumroll> :-P

The answer is, *both*.

The explanation is:

There are *two* kinds of number words: those that denote the actual
quantity, and those that refer to the numerical entity that represent that

The former, the "quantity nouns", are fully inflected for number--for
example, the *quantity*, zero, is _y'i_, which is a nullar noun that does
not have a singular/plural form; the *quantity*, 1, is _kei'_, a singular
noun without nullar or plural forms; and the *quantity*, 2, is _3jei'_,
which is a plural noun that doesn't have a nullar/singular form. And so

OTOH, the latter, the "entity nouns", are *singular* nouns that refer to a
single instance of the mathematical object representing that quantity. For
example, _ivei'_ is a singular noun representing the number 0. Its plural,
_hivei'_, denotes multiple instances of the mathematical object "0".
Similarly, _ijei'_ is a singular noun denoting the *number* 2. Its nullar
form, _my'jei_, refers to the absence of the mathematical object "2".

I don't know how to better explain this difference in English; but the
Ebisedi certainly draw a distinction between the numbers everybody use
(i.e., the quantity nouns) and the weird numbers that only mathematicians
use (those abstract entity nouns that happen to represent numerical
quantities). ;-)


Mediocrity has been pushed to extremes.