"and" in numerical expressions

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu May 14 13:48:06 UTC 2009

At 8:32 AM -0400 5/14/09, David Bowie wrote:
>From:    "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
>>At 5/13/2009 03:04 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>>>Joel S. Berson(?) wrote:
>>>>I do this without "and"s:
>>>>One hippopotamus
>>>>Two hippopotamus
>>>>Three hippopotamus
>>>Hmmm.  We always did it with "One Mississippi, Two Mississippi,...",
>>>which like "one thousand and one" has 5 syllables.  But "one
>>>hippopotamus" has 6.  Did you just say it more quickly?  Sure it
>>>wasn't "One rhinoceros, two rhinoceros,..."?
>>(Seven rhinoceros has 6 syllables, though. Let alone the teens.)
>>I think the hippopotamus notion (wasn't he a Greek philosopher? Or am
>>I mixing this up with Euclid?) was that one said it as fast as one
>>can, and people generally could say it at the same speed, whereas
>>with other mantras people could speak them at various speeds.  How
>>true this is I have no idea.  Also, I don't have any association with
>I grew up with Mississippi as the time-filler of choice. It was most
>usually used in games of tag football[1] after church, when everyone
>would agree on a particular time lag (usually 3-Mississippi or
>5-Mississippi) from the snap before the quarterback could be rushed. The
>person (usually just one--there was no offensive line, these were games
>with usually between four and seven on a team) doing the rushing tried
>to count off as quickly as possible, but wasn't allowed to skip
>syllables (i.e., no 1-Miss'ippi, 2-Miss'ippi).
>The quarterback also wasn't allowed to scramble unless rushed, which
>actually added a bit of strategy to the defense's plans.
>[1] You know, if i'd thought about it a while before typing i'd've
>called it "touch football", but this is what came out naturally. Go figure.
Yup, same on all counts (NYC, 1950s) except that we didn't play
touch/tag football after going to church, but after not going to


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