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On Tue, Jan 13, 2004 at 09:57:28AM -0800, David Zitzelsberger wrote:
> Not just traditional typography (I'd be curious which langauges this was
> true), but English.
>         ten, eleven, twelve, thir-teen
> dozen   (10 in base twelve)
> gross (100 in base twelve)
>
> Any other languages with a language pre-disposition to another base?

Undoubtedly, although most of the ones I know have the same
predisposition to base 12.  This is no doubt due to the influence
of the ancient Babylonians, who I believe had two counting systems,
base 12 and base 60 (which adds five to the list of factors).
This is why we have 360 degrees in a circle, 60 seconds in each of
60 minutes of both arc and time, a 12-hour clock, etc.  And
in ancient Rome units were divided up into twelfths for convenience;
our word "ounce" comes from "uncia" which means 1/12, and in the
Troy system a pound is indeed 12 ounces, although in the avoirdupois
system it has grown to 16, matching the 16 fluid ounces in an (American
and old British wine) pint, which is supposed to be hold a pound of water
and is where the whole idea of a "fluid ounce" comes from.

Wow.  Let me catch my breath after that run-on.  Whew.

On the other hand, those same ancient Babylonians also gave us the seven-day
week, which is a prime number.  Go figure.

-Mark