I seem to recall hearing that French francophones say the French equivalent of "in three days" where anglophones say "in two days". (I don't speak French, and can't vouch for it.) That, coupled with a discussion in the Talmud (M'nachos 77:1), makes me wonder:

Is there a language of which the following is known? In such a language, wording equivalent to "to add a fifth" or "ten percent more" or the like means the fraction is computed as a fraction of the total (including the fraction). Thus, for example, "add a fifth to 100" would yield 125 and "ten percent more than ninety" would be 100.


I don't know about your percentages, but Latin treated numbers differently from English (or for that matter Greek) but a bit like French. Julius Caesar's first attempt at introducing leap years in 46 BC was a disaster. Sosigines of Alexandria instructed Julius Caesar (in Greek) to make every 4th year a leap year. This was misinterpreted in Rome, counting as you indicate, so between 46 BC and 10 BC there was a leap year every three years; it wasn't until Augustus Caesar conquered Egypt (remember Cleopatra and the asp?) that he realised his predecessor's rather glaring and obvious error. He cancelled all leap years from 8BC to 4AD and then reintroduced them every 4 years.

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