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Re: Cardinal vs Ordinal Age

From:Isidora Zamora <isidora@...>
Date:Wednesday, November 5, 2003, 17:30
At 11:34 AM 11/4/03 +0200, you wrote:
>On 4 Nov, Ray Brown wrote: > > > Ordinals seem favored by people when they reach that time when they no > > longer try to hide their age but rather wish to boast of their longevity. > > Certainly IME nongenarians are likely to say "I'm in my 93rd year" rather > > than the tamer "I'm only 92". :) > >Interesting. Yet little children who boast about how big >they are use cardinal numbers (in English and Israeli Hebrew). >Even earlier, when they can barely count, little kids who >hold up fingers to tell how old they are, are also using >cardinal numbers. Possibly because kids learn cardinal >numbers before ordinal numbers. Would this be a >language universal?
Speaking of universals, how common are each of the ways of reckoning age in natural languages/cultures? Does one predominate over the other, or is it close to 50/50? What sort of distribution does it have across and within language/culture families, i.e. if one member of a family reckons age with ordinals, do all the other members of that family as well? Isidora