On 8 July 2011 13:00, R A Brown <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> >
> > gzb nominally has root words for all the primes up to
> > 113,
> Yes, that's the problem, it seems to me, in using a system
> based on primes? What happens after 113?
Multiply and add? :P

> In our system we can, in theory, express any number to
> infinity (and beyond?). Obviously, _in theory_ one could the
> same in a prime-based system *as long as one knew the full
> set of prime number* which, I guess, is also infinite   :)
Yes, if your prime-based system consisted of naming each number according to
their factorisation. If you allow additive compounds, you can easily name
all numbers without having an infinite amount of primes. It'll be unwieldy
and complex, but not impossible.

> Yes, with an _implied_ conlang anything is possible.
> Certainly a theoretical prime-based system is fine
> for an implied conlang - but when it comes to actually
> putting it into practice it seems to me that, as Alex says
> above, one is likely to find it impractical.


> ==============================**==========================
> > Cognitively, last is also a salient position...
> Yes, least salient, as Adam says    :)
Is it? I thought humans had a predilection for units rather than
higher-order numbers.

> > The
> > rationale for the Livagian scheme is that for each digit
> > you know the value of n, where the digit is to be
> > multiplied by the base to the power of n. In neither
> > English/Lojban nor Livagian do you know the total size of
> > the number until you reach the end, but in the Livagian
> > system you can process the digit string incrementally
> > with addition:
> {etc snipped]
> Yes, yes - with a master's degree in computing and a
> specialism (now, alas, getting a bit rusty in retirement),
> I am well aware of all this as far as _machines_ are
> concerned.  But when I see 1783 I do _not_ process each
> digit separately and calculate the number, i.e. it simply
> isn't true that ...
> > [I] have to store the entire digit sequence in memory and
> > then either count the number of digits, in order to work
> > out what each digit is a multiple of, or incrementally
> > process the digit string backwards.
> I know more do that than I break down "thousand" into
> individual sounds in order to process the word and know
> what it is! I read of 1783 as a single unit.  Humans can
> with whole chunks like this and as they can with written
> words.
Exactly. The human brains works absolutely not like a computer. It's
massively parallel, rewires itself constantly, functions on a holographic
principle (even when damaged, parts can take over the functions of the
non-functional parts) and works by deduction, induction and pattern-matching
rather than algorithmically. Any comparison with an algorithmic behaviour
will necessarily be a flawed one.

That's also why I don't find it so weird that "quatre-vingt" wouldn't
automatically be parsed by a French speaker, despite it being so
transparent. "quatre-vingt" is just directly associated with the quantity,
as a label, not as a formula that needs parsing each time. It wouldn't make
sense for a computer that is more efficient at algorithmic behaviour, but
makes complete sense for the brain, which is more efficient at memory
recovery and pattern-matching.

> [snip]
> As Adam remarked:
> >> They are some odd folk, those Livies!
> >
> > They are odd, yes.
> I'm left wondering whether the Livies are human at all and
> not rather a race of robots.
Indeed. I've wondered myself for quite a while now. If they indeed think as
And is describing, their brains are definitely not human at least.

> On 08/07/2011 09:42, Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets wrote:
> [snip]
> > Actually, the weirdest part about writing numbers in
> > Arabic is that they tend to be written *left-to-right*!
> > It makes sense neither when comparing to the normal
> > writing direction of Arabic, nor when comparing to how
> > they actually pronounce numbers! If they just wrote
> > numbers right-to-left in the order of pronunciation they
> > would still end up with the same figures, and they
> > wouldn't have to change writing direction in the middle
> > of a line...
> >
> > I'm not sure if they do that in the whole Arabic world,
> > but I've seen it with my own eyes in Oman at least, with
> > the actual Arabic numerals (their version, not ours).
> That's very interesting - it does seem to indicate that the
> human tendency to work from MSF down to the LSF is a strong
> one, which IMO does make Adam's question "Why would the Livagians choose to
> list the least salient number first?" a
> reasonable one.
Actually, I would be careful with making such an inference. The reason could
be different: contamination from Western methods of teaching maths, for
instance (I was talking about Oman, which has a lot of Western influences. I
don't know how Arabic people write numbers in other countries). What would
be nice to know is whether this direction of writing numbers has always been
like that, or whether it is a (relatively) modern development.

In any case, Arabic people read numbers from right to left, which fits
neatly with how they actually pronounce them. So for reading there is no
inversion necessary (unlike, say, Germanic languages, including Old and
Middle English, which put the units before the tens in speech).

The Danish system is fascinating - but I'll leave my two
> or three cents/pence worth at just the two points above  :)
It is. If only Danish was actually *pronounceable*! :P
Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets.