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Need an Excuse for Bad Math?

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  Quote Cywr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Need an Excuse for Bad Math?
    Posted: 05-Sep-2004 at 17:30
Hmm yeah true, a hybrid system, then 
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  Quote Beylerbeyi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Sep-2004 at 02:09

The ancient Mesapotamians used a 60-based system. That's why we have 60 minute hours and 60 second minutes. I think division of a circle into 360 degrees is also a Mesapotamian idea. Since 60 has many dividents, it's allowed them to perform some mathematical tasks relatively easily. I actually think that it is better than our 10/100-based system. But I think they also counted by 10s until 60. Probably a 6 or 12 based system would be ideal. Interesting thing is all peoples everywhere use decimal (10-based) systems because everyone has 10 fingers!

Some languages are more rational in counting than others, as you've written. French is very bad with its special numbers up to 16, then different name for twenty, thirty etc. up to 60, then sixty-eleven etc. and even four-twenty-thirteen... German is also bad, with basically the same system as English (with teens) and then starting to say the numbers the wrong way around (the Danish have this too) five and twenty, etc. Turkish is better, without teens (ten-two, ten-three, etc.), but with different names for twenty, thirty, etc. up to 100, like English.

The best system I've ever seen is the Japanese one (I think is based on the Chinese as mentioned). They have no teens, and for 20 or 30 they say two-ten, three-ten. The only curious thing is that they have a special name for 10000 (man), so they don't call it ten-thousand. And for larger numbers they use 10000 as a base, 1 million is hyaku-man (hundred-tenthousand).

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  Quote Mast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Sep-2004 at 02:37
The Persian numberical system is exactly like in English.
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  Quote Cywr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Sep-2004 at 08:12
The ancient Mesapotamians used a 60-based system. That's why we have 60 minute hours and 60 second minutes. I think division of a circle into 360 degrees is also a Mesapotamian idea.


Babylonian in particular i thought, its because they assumed there were 360 days in a year.

Probably a 6 or 12 based system would be ideal.


The British Imperial system (aka, medival measurement) works on a 12 based system.

The best system I've ever seen is the Japanese one (I think is based on the Chinese as mentioned). They have no teens, and for 20 or 30 they say two-ten, three-ten.


Also used in Welsh, i posted an article earlier in this thread which looked at how this might affect school grades (welsh language schools are known for getting better maths pass resluts).


Edited by Cywr
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  Quote Styrbiorn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Sep-2004 at 12:11
Try the Danish system - it's based on twenty. 63 for example, is "three and three times twenty". It gets better though, 70 is 'half four times twenty' and 50 is 'half three times twenty' (a 'half three' is 2 and 'half four' is 3). Of some reason or another though, 40 is 'four twenty'...

Edit: don't know from where they got it though, since the Old Norse system was like the modern English.

Edited by Styrbiorn
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Mar-2005 at 20:38
Note: The Pirah lack higher numbers, yes, but it is believed that that is an effect of the language having been slowly dying for some time, its speaker population diminishing, and lexical and grammatical components falling out of use. Presumably, the language once had higher numbers like the rest of us.
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