Print

Print


At 11:34 AM 11/4/03 +0200, you wrote:
>On 4 Nov, Ray Brown wrote:
>
> > Ordinals seem favored by people when they reach that time when they no
> > longer try to hide their age but rather wish to boast of their longevity.
> > Certainly IME nongenarians are likely to say "I'm in my 93rd year" rather
> > than the tamer "I'm only 92".   :)
>
>Interesting. Yet little children who boast about how big
>they are use cardinal numbers (in English and Israeli Hebrew).
>Even earlier, when they can barely count, little kids who
>hold up fingers to tell how old they are, are also using
>cardinal numbers. Possibly because kids learn cardinal
>numbers before ordinal numbers. Would this be a
>language universal?

Speaking of universals, how common are each of the ways of reckoning age in
natural languages/cultures?  Does one predominate over the other, or is it
close to 50/50?  What sort of distribution does it have across and within
language/culture families, i.e. if one member of a family reckons age with
ordinals, do all the other members of that family as well?

Isidora