Hallo conlangers! On Friday 08 July 2011 13:00:20, R A Brown wrote: > I can barely keep with this thread - but a few points: > > [PRIME-BASED SYSTEM] > [...] > On 07/07/2011 20:15, Jim Henry wrote: > > On Wed, Jul 6, 2011 at 11:15 AM, Alex > > > > Fink<[log in to unmask]> wrote: > >> The original gjax-zym-byn system was prime-based; Jim > >> has told here a few times about finding it impractical > >> and therefore supplanting it with base systems. > > > > Yes; I still use the primes-based system for counting > > small numbers of things (up to around 31), including > > hours of the day (gzb uses a 24-hour clock). > > > > 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? > > 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 :) There are indeed infinitely many prime numbers, which is easy to prove. Assume there were only finitely many primes. Then you can form the number (2*3*5*...*p)+1, wherein p is the largest prime, and the product contains every prime number. This number divides by none of the primes, it always leaves a remainder of 1. So it must either be a prime number itself, or it must have other prime factors not on the list. This contradiction shows that there are infinitely many prime numbers. So in a prime-based number system, you can't just go by multiplication, because for that you'd need infinitely many basic numeral words. (Of course, you can use a prime number as a base the same way you could use 10, 12 or whatever, but where is the point in that?) > [snip] > > > I think Joanna Russ had, in _And Chaos Died_, an implied > > conlang which, if it wasn't primes-based, at least had > > root words for every number up to a fairly largish prime. > > 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. It is. -- ... brought to you by the Weeping Elf http://www.joerg-rhiemeier.de/Conlang/index.html "Bêsel asa Êm, a Êm atha cvanthal a cvanth atha Êmel." - SiM 1:1