Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Wiley-Blackwell Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info


New from Oxford University Press!

ad

Language Planning as a Sociolinguistic Experiment

By: Ernst Jahr

Provides richly detailed insight into the uniqueness of the Norwegian language development. Marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Norwegian nation following centuries of Danish rule


New from Cambridge University Press!

ad

Acquiring Phonology: A Cross-Generational Case-Study

By Neil Smith

The study also highlights the constructs of current linguistic theory, arguing for distinctive features and the notion 'onset' and against some of the claims of Optimality Theory and Usage-based accounts.


New from Brill!

ad

Language Production and Interpretation: Linguistics meets Cognition

By Henk Zeevat

The importance of Henk Zeevat's new monograph cannot be overstated. [...] I recommend it to anyone who combines interests in language, logic, and computation [...]. David Beaver, University of Texas at Austin


Summary Details


Query:   Sum: Subtraction in Numerals
Author:  Ivan A Derzhanski
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   General Linguistics
Linguistic Theories
Morphology

Summary:   A fortnight and a day ago, in (Linguist 13.3102), I asked:

> In English the number 19 is called _nineteen_ `9 and 10'.
>
> In Hindi 19 is <unnIs> `1 to 20', but 18 is <aThArah> `8 and 10'.

[Latin draws the line between 17 and 18, Yoruba between 14 and 15.]

> 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'?

Adam Werle <werle@olypen.com>
C.A.M. Williams <camw3@hermes.cam.ac.uk>
Ece Wayne <linguist_ics@hotmail.com>
Hannele Nicholson <hannele@ling.ed.ac.uk>
John Lawler <jlawler@umich.edu>
John Lynch <lynch_j@VANUATU.USP.AC.FJ>
Keira Gebbie Ballantyne <ballanty@hawaii.edu>
Mark Chamberlin <malichii@mail.com>
Martin Weikmann <weikmann@gewi.kfunigraz.ac.at>
R?my Viredaz <remy.viredaz@bluewin.ch>
Yiwola Awoyale <awoyale@unagi.cis.upenn.edu>

wrote to me in the following days.

The responses to the general question (where do languages draw
the line between addition and subtraction?) suggest that if a
language uses subtraction at all, it is likely to do so already
in the first decade, usually starting from 7 (Titan and Buin in
Papua New Guinea, Yapese in Micronesia, etc.) or 8 (the Finnic
branch of the Uralic family, Nuuchahnulth (Nootka) and its close kin).
More examples can be found by analysing the data in Mark Rosenfelder's
collection of numerals up to 10, http://www.zompist.com/numbers.shtml

No one addressed the specific questions (are there languages that
draw the line between 15 and 16? between 16 and 17?), so I conclude
that the existence of such languages is quite unlikely. However,
some Romance languages do change the pattern in precisely those
places, switching from `ones-teen' to `ten-ones': Spanish _quince_
`15' but `dieciseis' `16', Catalan _setze_ `16' but _disset_ `17'.

- Ivan A Derzhanski <http://www.math.bas.bg/ml/iad/>

LL Issue: 13.3329
Date Posted: 17-Dec-2002
Original Query: Read original query


Back

Sums main page