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CONLANG  October 2000, Week 1

CONLANG October 2000, Week 1

Subject:

Asian Number Systems (was Re: FYI re: Greenberg's Universals)

From:

[log in to unmask]

Reply-To:

Constructed Languages List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 4 Oct 2000 12:42:05 EDT

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

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text/plain (43 lines)

In a message dated 10/4/00 12:37:15 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
[log in to unmask] writes:

> :-)  And as for numbers--there are
>  two number systems, and I know one's from Chinese (il, i, sam, sa, o,
>  yuk, ch'il, p'al, ku, sip) and one possibly isn't, and I seem to remember
>  being told it's "native" (hana, dul, saet, naet, daseot, yeoseot, ahop,
>  yeol).  I think they're used in different situations--the Chinese?
>  system is sure faster for reciting multiplication tables.  <G>
>
>  han saram = one person (Chinese?)
>  il saram...it sounds odd and I don't ever remember hearing this
>
>  However,
>  sip won = 10 Won (unit of currency) (Chinese?)
>  yeol won...sounds odd and I also don't remember hearing this.
>
>  Maybe one's used with money and the other with people/objects?

Japanese has two sets too. The Chinese set (ichi ni san shi/yon go roku hachi
shichi kyuu jyuu) and a native set (hitotsu, hutatsu, mitsu, yotsu.... seven
is hanatsu....I forget the rest, but you get the idea) They are used in
different situations; as mentioned below for Korean, different "counters"
take different sets. (counters: suffixes such as -ban "number": ichi-ban
"number one"; -hai "glass": ippai "one glass [of a drink]" ...there's some
irregularities in the counters in there, sorry. but anyway, there's lots of
counters.) People are counted with hitori, hutari, sannin, yonnin, for an
extra weird one.

Japanese also has this thing about "shi"="death" (shinu: to die.... the shi
part is written with the "death" kanji). So, in a hospital, you must never,
ever say "shi" (four) or "shichi" (seven).... you have to use "yon" (four)
and "hana" (seven) instead. This may be why "four people" is "yonnin" rather
than "shi'nin"....a) shi'nin might already mean dead people!- I'm not real
sure. b) you don't want to jinx the fourth person or anything. I just know,
for whatever reason, that you don't use "shi'nin" for fourth person/four
people. Even more ways to complicate the number system, aside from all the
pronunciation irregularities (eight: hachi [different romanizations may call
this hati], 100: hyaku; 800: happyaku... [<-- incidentally... look,
nonisolating])

[snip snip]

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