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Counting on fingers (was: Re: [CONLANG] A question regarding dictionary entries)

From:Benct Philip Jonsson <conlang@...>
Date:Wednesday, August 1, 2007, 9:29
Roger Mills skrev:
> Sylvia Sotomayor wrote: > >> Hi, >> >> I am redesigning my dictinary for Kelen (yet again), and >> I am planning on having short glosses (one word, maybe >> two) for each stem or base word, and also longer >> definitions for each fully formed and inflected word. My >> question: given that Kelen has a base 8 counting system, >> should I gloss 'āllōr' as 32 or 40? It has the >> functional equivalent of 40 in the language, being 8x4, >> but refers to 32 things. >> > I'd suggest you insert an explanatory comment, like: > "āllōr forty (base 8 = 32 base 10)" That will prevent > IMO any confusion/mistakes on the part of the reader. > > I sometimes have the same problem with Gwr, even though > they adopted the decimal system quite some time ago. But > some old ways persist. > >
Do Kelen and/or Gwr speakers have only four fingers, or do they not use their thumbs when counting? I have thought about how octal and duodecimal counting may arise in a language of five-fingered humans thru either not using the thumbs when counting, or adding the palms to get six positions on each hand. I winder if there is natlang attestation of such systems. The only duodecimal- counting human community I know of are type-cutters and -setters, allegedly because a base 12 system offers more dividends than a base 10 syystem (1 2 3 4 6 12 against only (1 2 5 10). /BP 8^)> -- Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch atte melroch dotte se ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "Truth, Sir, is a cow which will give [skeptics] no more milk, and so they are gone to milk the bull." -- Sam. Johnson (no rel. ;)


Philip Newton <philip.newton@...>
Sylvia Sotomayor <terjemar@...>