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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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Query Details


Query Subject:   Subtraction in numerals
Author:   Ivan A Derzhanski
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  General Linguistics
Linguistic Theories
Morphology

Query:   In English the number 19 is called _nineteen_ `9 and 10'.

In Hindi 19 is `1 to 20', but 18 is `8 and 10'.

In Latin 19 is _undeviginti_ `1 to 20', 18 is _duodeviginti_ `2 to
20', but 17 is _septendecim_ `7 and 10'.

In Yoruba 19 is _Okandinlogun_ < _Okan din l-ogun_ `1 to 20', ..., 15
is _EEdogun_ < _arun din ogun_ `5 to 20', but 14 is _Erinla_ < _Erin
l-Ewa_ `4 and 10'.

In what other places do languages draw the line? For instance, is
there a language where 17 is `3 to 20', but 16 is `6 and 10'? How
about one in which 16 is `4 to 20', but 15 is `5 and 10'?

- Ivan A Derzhanski
LL Issue: 13.3102
Date posted: 26-Nov-2002



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