Counting by 10s vs. 20s

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Aug 23 15:01:40 UTC 2013

On Aug 23, 2013, at 10:44 AM, Amy West wrote:

> On 8/23/13 12:03 AM, Automatic digest processor wrote:
>> Date:    Thu, 22 Aug 2013 11:48:58 -0400
>> From:    "Joel S. Berson"<Berson at ATT.NET>
>> Subject: Counting by 10s vs. 20s
>> What is the received wisdom why English counts the God-given natural
>> numbers by tens,
> We didn't always. Like Old Norse, in Old English there is the long
> hundred, which is actually 120.

And we still have dozens of eggs, donuts, etc. (unless we're bakers).  Plus there are all those divisions of (clock and calendar) time into 12-based (duodecimal) intervals.  And geometric degrees.  One for each finger and one for each foot, no doubt.  It's only when you take the shoes and socks off that you get to the twenties.


> And yes, I think there's evidence for
> ten = 12 in OE. (I am more certain of this in Old Norse).

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