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15 votes
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Why did Japanese borrow words for simple numbers from Chinese?

Besides prestige reasons, there is also the fact that the Old Japanese numeral systems can be seen as inconvenient, especially for higher numbers. Disadvantages compared to the Chinese system are: ...
Dodezv's user avatar
  • 411
14 votes

Which cultures are big-endian?

This is potentially a very interesting question, but it suffers from conflation of “language”, “culture”, and “country”. It is the same sort of confusion that happens when people who do not speak ...
fdb's user avatar
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14 votes

Apparent sound crespondences between Eurasian, Trans-New-Guinean, Pama-Nyungan and Burushaski

I don't see any regular correspondences in the data you've presented. A regular correspondence involves a series of forms in which, whenever language A has sound X, language B has sound Y. For example,...
TKR's user avatar
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12 votes

Why did Japanese borrow words for simple numbers from Chinese?

The reason is similar to the reason why English has borrowed (French) words for beef, pork, mutton even though there are Germanic words for cows, swine and sheep. There is a tendency to borrow words ...
user6726's user avatar
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8 votes
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4 or 5: is thumb a finger? Distribution across languages

What about the idiom “five finger discount” that is popular in at least modern English? Giving someone a “high five” also indirectly refers to the five fingers of one’s hand. To me the “thumb” has ...
Piotr Zielinski's user avatar
8 votes

Can we make a case for Eurasiatic numerals for one and two?

Definitely not. Two words only aren't enough to establish any kind of relationship. The best you can do with it is to use them as seeds for possible sound relations and look of regular sound laws ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
7 votes
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What numeral system is on this Hyderabad banknote?

This is really an extremely interesting question that made me make a little investigation and with the help of @fdb I learned about the unique Siyaq (Arabic سياق siyāq ‘order’) numerical system I had ...
Yellow Sky's user avatar
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6 votes

Have words for numbers changed since the introduction of public schools?

In many Bantu languages of Kenya and Tanzania, numbers are now changing, especially those above 10. For instance, the traditional number for "20" in Logoori is makʊmi gavɪrɪ (lit. 'two tens'), but ...
user6726's user avatar
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5 votes
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(PIE) déḱm̥ vs déḱm̥t (ten)

The only language to preserve both is Sanskrit: dáśa- 'ten' ~ daśát- f. 'a set of ten; decade'. A similar form is Lith. dešimtìs which reflects a Balto-Slavic consonant stem, as shown by gen.pl. ...
Anthony Jakob's user avatar
5 votes

Languages where numbers are read out in a mixed-up fashion

Arabic: 1984 could be read as "one thousand and nine hundred and four and eighty" (the modern reading) or "four and eighty and nine hundred and one thousand" (traditional). I have heard the latter ...
mobileink's user avatar
  • 437
5 votes

Apparent sound crespondences between Eurasian, Trans-New-Guinean, Pama-Nyungan and Burushaski

Below are my comments on the Eurasiatic data, and why I think @Anixx's forms are not Proto-Eurasiatic numerals. As I am not a specialist of Burushaski, Trans-New-Guinean, or Pama-Nyungan, I cannot ...
abhishek's user avatar
  • 159
5 votes

Why did Japanese borrow words for simple numbers from Chinese?

They are pronounced that way, before the importing of the Chinese characters, and even to this day: ひとつ、ふたつ、みっつ、よっつ、いつつ、むっつ、ななつ、やっつ、ここのつ、とお. There even is the shortened way of counting: ひ、ふ、み、よ、い、む、な、...
Jimmy's user avatar
  • 159
4 votes

Have words for numbers changed since the introduction of public schools?

In Norwegian language, the way of counting was changed recently (1951 by declaration of the Norwegian parliament) from a German-style system to an English-style system. See Zahlwörter (Wikipedia). ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
4 votes
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Is the numeral or the noun the head? Does it vary depending on the language?

Yes, I think that it not only varies between languages, but it can vary within a language for different numerals. I think large numerals have a greater tendency to function as heads. I think that the ...
brass tacks's user avatar
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4 votes

What is the name of the category that describes the ways a number can be read?

The rhythmic grouping of numbers is usually called "phrasing", e.g. "4-3 2-1-7 9-1-5-6". Within a "phrase", at least in English, there are still options regarding reading ...
user6726's user avatar
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3 votes
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Devanagari digit variants

They are regional variants: Numerical Notation: A Comparative History, Stephen Chrisomalis (p.198, 199, 211) http://software.sil.org/downloads/r/annapurna/AnnapurnaSIL-features.pdf https://www....
iacobo's user avatar
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3 votes
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Is there a term for cardinal numerals that don't express quantity?

It is a nominal number. It is like a cardinal in writing, but doesn't really express a number. It is kind of like an ordinal in some contexts. For example, 2020 says "the 2020th year after the Birth ...
Number File's user avatar
  • 1,561
3 votes
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Do Urdu Numerals belong to the Persian Script?

I think I understand what you are asking. Urdu, like Persian, is written with Arabic script, with a few extra letters. The numbers are written with the Eastern form of the Arabic (originally Indian) ...
fdb's user avatar
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3 votes

What is the name of the category that describes the ways a number can be read?

I am not aware of any linguistic terminology for this particular kind of conventions. However, there is some applicable terminology from software engineering, particularly from the field of ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
3 votes
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declining numerals in Old English

Quote from An Introduction to Old English by George Leslie Brook, page 51: §132 The cardinal numerals from 4 to 19 generally remain uninflected when they stand before a noun; when they follow a noun ...
Dejan Dimc's user avatar
3 votes

What kind of a word class are numbers?

It seems in English, numbers can be adjectives, determiners, and nouns. (Though I feel the nouns are really just adjectives that have an implied noun.) Types of numbers Ordinals: first, second... ...
Ilana Signal's user avatar
3 votes

Word for eighteen expressed as Twenty Minus Two

Ainu is one of those: (http://www.sf.airnet.ne.jp/ts/language/number/ainu.html) 1 sinep 1 obj. 2 tup 2 obj. 3 rep 3 obj. 4 inep 4 obj. 5 asiknep 5 obj. ...
WiccanKarnak's user avatar
  • 1,251
3 votes

Which modern, spoken languages do not use the decimal number system?

By "modern" do you mean a language that's still spoken by living people nowadays? The most unusual modern example is the Telefol and Oksapmin languages, which use a base-27 counting system ...
Lưu Vĩnh Phúc's user avatar
3 votes

Word form for Number in Ancient Obscure Language

Peina-bumfit is 17 - These are all corruptions of older Brythonic languages once spoken throughout England. Peina is "2", Bumfit is "15", so essentially, '15 and 2'. The older ...
Kavik's user avatar
  • 61
3 votes

Why did Japanese borrow words for simple numbers from Chinese?

It's not only Chinese numerals that were imported to Japanese, but also Chinese counter suffixes (these are akin to units and are specific to the category of object being counted). Now how could ...
tobi_s's user avatar
  • 131
2 votes

Are there languages with indefinite articles but for which the word for "one" is not related etymologically to any of the indefinite articles?

Czech seems to be developing some sort of definite/indefinite articles with definite ones being evolved from demonstrative pronoun "ten" (this), while indefinite ones from the undetermined pronominal ...
Eleshar's user avatar
  • 2,363
2 votes

What is the reason for some languages have non-linear word order for numbers?

My guess would be that it has something to do with rhythm. When you have a couple or a triplet of words on the same level ("X and Y" or "X, Y and Z"), there is a tendency in Indo-European languages to ...
Eleshar's user avatar
  • 2,363
2 votes

Languages where numbers are read out in a mixed-up fashion

Not surprisingly, numbers in Dutch are organized the same way as in German. For example, 634542 written out becomes zeshonderd vierendertig duizend vijfhonderd tweeënveertig Which translates to: ...
user13239's user avatar
2 votes

Languages where numbers are read out in a mixed-up fashion

In Irish numbers are famously messy, putting the three counting systems aside to focus on the system for non-people/inanimate objects to address the question, numbers can be read in two ways, base ten ...
Árón Alsandar de Siún's user avatar
2 votes

What numeral system is on this Hyderabad banknote?

This is a very interesting question. The numbers at the top of the columns on this note, and the other three helpfully supplied by Yellow Sky, are heavily stylised Persian or Arabic words: “Five” is ...
fdb's user avatar
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