#### Posers and Puzzles

1.  SwissGambit
Caninus Interruptus
09 Jul '12 15:24
Originally posted by Kewpie
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.
The 'consistent' or 'derived' group of number names should be as large as possible, even if it remains a minority.
2. 09 Jul '12 20:44
Talking about irregular numbers, I still hope that one day eleventeen (and maybe also eleventy) get discovered by mathematicians...
3.  Kewpie
chess dummy
10 Jul '12 00:56
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?
4. 10 Jul '12 12:28
Originally posted by SwissGambit
"Fifty" needs to be changed.
Take it up with fifteen centuries of real Englishmen, colony-boy!

Richard
5. 10 Jul '12 12:34
Originally posted by Kewpie
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?
Not really. In French, for example, "onze" is just as (ir-)regular as "seize", and it's "dix-sept" where it changes.
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.

Richard
6.  SwissGambit
Caninus Interruptus
10 Jul '12 14:14
Originally posted by Shallow Blue
Take it up with fifteen centuries of real Englishmen, colony-boy!

Richard
We didn't ask their permission when they were still alive. Why should we start now?
7. 18 Aug '12 23:10
Originally posted by SwissGambit
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.
"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".
8.  deriver69
Keeps
21 Aug '12 02:10
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.
9. 26 Aug '12 02:17
What do 1 and 40 have in common.

Kewpie said:

"I dreamed it up during an insomniac episode - and the damn thing woke me up!"

I have have not had One wink of sleep.

But later on I had forty winks.

10.  Kewpie
chess dummy
26 Aug '12 11:36
Originally posted by greenpawn34
What do 1 and 40 have in common.

Kewpie said:

"I dreamed it up during an insomniac episode - and the damn thing woke me up!"

I have have not had [b]One
wink of sleep.

But later on I had forty winks.

[/b]
I should have thought of that myself.
11.  mikelom
Ajarn
01 Sep '12 05:11
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[3] 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.[4][5]

Source(s):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forty_winks

-m.
12. 02 Sep '12 03:31
On 40 being the magic number.

In the Fischer - Spassky '72 match the time control was:
40 moves in 2½ hours.