How prevalent is the use of Western/Latin Arabic numerals (
0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, hereafter referred to as Latin digits)† as the primary means of symbolically manipulating numeric ideograms in cultures whose native script also uses the Hindu–Arabic numeral system but employs different numerals (hereafter referred to generically as native numerals), such as the CJKV:
〇, 一, 二, 三, 四, 五, 六, 七, 八, 九?
For example: my understanding is that in many regions, the usage of native numerals is roughly analogous to how English speakers use phonetically spelled words ('one', 'two', 'three', etc.). Which is to say, primarily for display or long form writing. However, most literate adults would use Latin digits for even basic symbolic math.
I'm hoping someone can correct my terminology and adjust the question to match how it would be operationalized in academia. Off-the-top-of-my-head, a survey designed to measure this scenario would look something like this:
- Are native numerals or Latin digits used when performing math in people's daily lives?
- Are native numerals or Latin digits displayed on price tags, speedometers, calculators††, etc?
- What is taught and used at different levels of education (primary, secondary, and tertiary)?
- In what ways are usage of native numerals or Latin digits environmentally dependent? Examples:
- Native numerals are the default, with Latin digits only being used in specific business environments (such as banking, programming, etc).
- Latin digits are the default, but tourist areas use native numerals to display cheaper pricing for locals.
PLEASE use the terminology "Latin digits" and not "Arabic numerals".
Similarly, please use "native numerals" or insert
(native) into your first usage (i.e. Thai (native) numerals).
An authoritative answer would be academically oriented and cite either quantitative survey data or a literature review summarizing a large number of cultures.
I would also love individual answers based on personal experiences! Especially those which would break the dichotomy used presented here.
† Confusingly, the term "Hindu-Arabic Numerals" is used to refer to both:
- The Hindu-Arabic Numeral System: a base-10 positional numeral system invented around 500 CE by Indian mathematicians, which has supplanted virtually all other counting systems (typically unary, think Latin numerals:
I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X).
- "(Western/Latin) Arabic numerals", aka ASCII digits (Unicode), aka Latin digits, aka
0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. Which is the Latin/European/Western script/notation/symbols/logograms used to express the ideograms of the Hindu-Arabic Numeral System.
†† Abacus usage being an orthogonal topic, which shall be ignored to spare me from any more counting-system related digressions.