- Originally posted by KewpieThe 'consistent' or 'derived' group of number names should be as large as possible, even if it remains a minority.
In the "times 10" tables
one - ten
two - twenty
three - thirty
four - forty
five - fifty
SIX - SIXTY
SEVEN - SEVENTY
eight - eighty
NINE - NINETY
there are twice as many "irregular" as "regular". Maybe it's the "regular" group which are irregular.
- Originally posted by KewpieNot really. In French, for example, "onze" is just as (ir-)regular as "seize", and it's "dix-sept" where it changes.
Ever noticed that the "teens" only start after two irregularly-named ones - 11 and 12? And the same applies in German. Were the ancients counting to a base 12?
There is evidence for many languages starting out with words for "one", "two", and "many", with "three" and higher coming later, but how far that went is not quite clear. It's quite possible that leftovers from that period made themselves felt when "eleven" and "twelve" came to form. There is also evidence for the first predecessors to scientists measuring in twelves (hence the division of the day in hours, and the circle in degrees), but that's mainly because it's so nicely divisible.
- Originally posted by SwissGambit"Thirty" is indeed a "changed" word according to dictionaries -- the Old English form was "þritig" -- but I don't think it can be said about "twenty".
Twoty and threety don't exactly roll off the tongue. I can understand why they were changed. That's also why I left them out of my examples. But consistency should be maintained if possible.
- I have a theory that one of the reasons the Chinese children do better at maths in school is that in Chinese the counting is more logical. The Chinese have a few months head start and can do proper maths while we are still learning to count. As an example, I find Mandarin very difficult but it took me 10 minutes to learn count up to 9999 (including 250 which is irregular as it sounds like a term of abuse ).
So my proposal to improve maths skills in the English speaking world is to change to onety, twoty,threety etc.
- This is what wiki says: Alternative idiomatic sayings such as could not sleep a wink provide the mental picture of a wink being the shortest type of sleep available and "forty winks" therefore gives an indication of an appropriate short sleep. Indeed the saying appears to have developed in relationship to 40 being an indefinite term for a large number that has almost sacred or magical quality. For example the use of the word 40 is reflected in numerous biblical references for example Moses was on Mount Sinai for forty days and forty nights, Elijah was fed by ravens for forty days, Noah and his animals endured flooding rains for forty days, and then waited another forty days before he opened the window of the ark, and finally that Jesus Christ fasted for forty days, and then was seen forty days after his resurrection.