On Thu, 21 Sep 2000, taliesin the storyteller wrote: >A classic question is: how do you count to ten in your conlang? Talarian is interesting in that, although it is an Aryan (Indo-European) language, it has no Aryan numbers [though many gramarians argue that pamtra (5) is Aryan]. It is bas twelve and has two types of numeric characters. The official are unwieldy ideogrammes; the usual are derived from Indian models. I suppose I should note that Indian mathematics are quite hot in the world now. The numbers have been known and used in the East since about the 12th century or so; in Persia from the 11th century; and in the West only in the last 3 centuries or so. 1: shatla; 2: rila; 3: hohoc; 4: limtla; 5: pamtra; 6: rimtloc; 7: matlar; 8: pretlar; 9: amtloc; 10: rapamtra; 11: hacra; 12: himtroc; 13: shatla-wa-himtroc, etc. >Generalizing: > - do you form ordinals from cardinals? how? if not, how? Yes. The ordinals are quite intersting, though. Their ordinals aren't really understood in quite the same way as ours. First of all, there are two kinds, the "ordinary" and the "enumerative". The ordinary so pretty much the same work as our ordinal numbers, but they are really numeric pronouns. Thus ilimtla, fourth, can mean "those four" or "that fourth one". For those keeping track of the grammar, the cardinal number is prefixed with the pronominal stem i- in order to get the ordinal. As such, ilimtla can be used in any way a pronoun can be used: Hohe ilimtla-mat? [whose(dat.) those_four(nom.) - interrog_ptc.]; or Meke italimtla taahto! [me(dat.) those_four(acc.) give(imper.)] The enumerative do the work of distributives and other minor types of numbers. Thus limtlame [four(loc.)] can mean "by fours", or "fourth of four" in combination with an ordinary: limtlame ilimtlahe [four(loc.) i- + four(gen.)] > - do you have a zero? Two of em. The counting zero is tlaram, and is used like any other cardinal number. The mathematical zero is safra, borrowed I think from Persian, and is used in various branches of mathematics, accounting, etc. > - can numbers be negative? In mathematics, yes. Though Talarians in general have little use for maths. > - fractions? percentiles? if it's not a decimal system, is there > something instead of percentiles? There are _certain_ fractions in common use, but I don't know how this system works yet. Interest is paid is thousandths; and indeed higher mathematics is done in decimal because the Indians have a base ten system. > - how do you add, subtract, multiply and divide? (if you know how) With a shrowampar, or ciphering board! The most common kind in use now is an engraved bronze plate with figures embossed in it, and it has glass or brass beads that slide up and down on wooden or (very expensively) iron rods. This one is of Roman design, and generally has fractional parts to the right side. The older kind is a wooden frame, with clay or brass discs that slide on wooden rods. Some people (usually wealthy or eccentric merchants) own a rotapraxashrowampar, a "wheel-and-lever ciphering board"; which is a brass box with little windows and dials that can be used to cipher mechanically. A full counting table, as one might find in the offices of a trader or merchant, is a good stout wooden table that has a recess for the shrowampar near the edge where the clerk sits. Beyond that there is a place where the money is put (usually on the left side of the table) while on the other side are a series of long narrow boxes where jetons are thrown, in order to keep track of the money counted. > - what about raising to the nth power and n-roots? Don't remember how to do that in English! Padraic. >t.