Non-decimal number systems in conlangs

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Non-decimal number systems in conlangs

Post by Informer »

I'm planning on having a conlang with a base 12 number system due to the speakers counting with their thumbs as a pointer on the right hand and to count dozens on the left hand (this can get up to 144, I stole the idea from a method used parts of the middle east), what about your conlang(s)?
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Re: Non-decimal number systems in conlangs

Post by Arayaz »

Yoshó *shudders at speaking its name* was base 8, counting the non-thumb fingers and spaces between them with the thumb. (Eight hand positions including zero = base 8.) With two hands, they could count up to 63.
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Re: Non-decimal number systems in conlangs

Post by WeepingElf »

I plan to have a base-12 system in Old Albic (based on the thumb against the segments of the other four fingers mode of counting), but I am not sure yet because I don't know how much sense that makes in an Indo-European language of Bronze Age Britain.
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Re: Non-decimal number systems in conlangs

Post by Knox Adjacent »

I would totally be for vigesimal if I could be bothered to add more numerals to the latest. I usually do.
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Re: Non-decimal number systems in conlangs

Post by Man in Space »

Most languages on Íröd count in base-six (the Tim Ar are the odd ones out for counting in base-ten). There are some with base-eight, base-twelve, and base-24 or base-25, in addition to systems that fall outside these bounds (such as the atomic four of Tm and body-part systems).
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Re: Non-decimal number systems in conlangs

Post by Khemehekis »

A number of the sapient species who live in the Lehola Galaxy are not pentadactylous like a typical human, and as a result there are many different bases across my Leholangs. The Reds are tetradactylous, so Hapoish is octal. The ilti, the bansak, and the an~ak are sexdactylous, so Javarti, Palang, and Quispe are duodecimal. The hyper-intelligent chais have a hexadecimal lingua franca called Achel. And Domeheads have five fingers on each hand and four toes on each foot, with an octodecimal system.
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Re: Non-decimal number systems in conlangs

Post by Arayaz »

Khemehekis wrote: 23 Feb 2024 21:39Domeheads have five fingers on each hand and four toes on each foot.
Huh, so do Mark Rosenfelder's Almeans. Some of them use octodecimal too.
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Re: Non-decimal number systems in conlangs

Post by Khemehekis »

Arayaz wrote: 23 Feb 2024 22:20
Khemehekis wrote: 23 Feb 2024 21:39Domeheads have five finges on each hand and four toes on each foot.
Huh, so do Mark Rosenfelder's Almeans. Some of them use octodecimal too.
The Almeans? [O.O] I never knew that!
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Re: Non-decimal number systems in conlangs

Post by Arayaz »

Khemehekis wrote: 23 Feb 2024 23:27
Arayaz wrote: 23 Feb 2024 22:20
Khemehekis wrote: 23 Feb 2024 21:39Domeheads have five finges on each hand and four toes on each foot.
Huh, so do Mark Rosenfelder's Almeans. Some of them use octodecimal too.
The Almeans? [O.O] I never knew that!
Yeah, I think Kebreni has had, historically a base-18 system. 18 is raida. I read his grammar for Kebreni once (it's in the back of one of his books) so i remember bits like that.

I think one language has an idiom "touch the middle toe" for "do something impossible."
Last edited by Arayaz on 24 Feb 2024 02:56, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Non-decimal number systems in conlangs

Post by Khemehekis »

Arayaz wrote: 23 Feb 2024 23:29 I think one language has an idiom "touch the middle toe" for "do something impossible."
This sounds vaguely familiar . . .
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Re: Non-decimal number systems in conlangs

Post by lurker »

Informer wrote: 22 Feb 2024 16:22 I'm planning on having a conlang with a base 12 number system due to the speakers counting with their thumbs as a pointer on the right hand and to count dozens on the left hand (this can get up to 144, I stole the idea from a method used parts of the middle east), what about your conlang(s)?
Commonthroat also uses a base twelve number system, although it's because the yinrih have six digits per paw (an inner thumb, four fingers and an outer thumb.) I suppose some yinrih languages would use a base 24 number system because the yinrih use their rear paws almost as much as their front paws for grasping.
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Re: Non-decimal number systems in conlangs

Post by _Just_A_Sketch »

Arayaz wrote: 23 Feb 2024 23:29
Khemehekis wrote: 23 Feb 2024 23:27
Arayaz wrote: 23 Feb 2024 22:20
Khemehekis wrote: 23 Feb 2024 21:39Domeheads have five finges on each hand and four toes on each foot.
Huh, so do Mark Rosenfelder's Almeans. Some of them use octodecimal too.
The Almeans? [O.O] I never knew that!
Yeah, I think Kebreni has a base-18 system. 18 is raida. I read his grammar for Kebreni once (it's in the back of one of his books) so i remember bits like that.

I think one language has an idiom "touch the middle toe" for "do something impossible."
Just checked the LCK, Kebreni uses decimal, but does have remnants of base 18 from its ancestor Meṫaiun, so you're not too far off. And you are correct the raida is 18.
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Re: Non-decimal number systems in conlangs

Post by Arayaz »

_Just_A_Sketch wrote: 24 Feb 2024 02:17
Arayaz wrote: 23 Feb 2024 23:29
Khemehekis wrote: 23 Feb 2024 23:27
Arayaz wrote: 23 Feb 2024 22:20
Khemehekis wrote: 23 Feb 2024 21:39Domeheads have five finges on each hand and four toes on each foot.
Huh, so do Mark Rosenfelder's Almeans. Some of them use octodecimal too.
The Almeans? [O.O] I never knew that!
Yeah, I think Kebreni has a base-18 system. 18 is raida. I read his grammar for Kebreni once (it's in the back of one of his books) so i remember bits like that.

I think one language has an idiom "touch the middle toe" for "do something impossible."
Just checked the LCK, Kebreni uses decimal, but does have remnants of base 18 from its ancestor Meṫaiun, so you're not too far off. And you are correct the raida is 18.
Ah right, it was Met̂aiun. I'll edit my post to clarify. Thanks!
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Re: Non-decimal number systems in conlangs

Post by lsd »

for universal language, base 5, what else...
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Re: Non-decimal number systems in conlangs

Post by Shemtov »

The current plan for Zeigouŋdeizese is base-20 with a subbase of 5.
So, 1-5 have unique names
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5+2
5+3
5+4
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Half-completeness+3
Half-completeness+4
3 5s (15)
3 5s+1
3 5s+2
3 5s+3
3 5s+4
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Re: Non-decimal number systems in conlangs

Post by Glenn »

My primary conlang, Chusole, and its relatives are intended to have a base-12 number system, although I have not worked out all the details.

I have vague notes on another three conlangs; of these, one definitely uses base-10, while for the others, I had flirted with using non-decimal systems, either base-20 or (less likely) base-5. One of them has had long contact with, and partial political domination by, the speakers of Chusole, so it might be interesting to imagine the interaction between, say, a base-20 system for them and Chusole’s base-12 system, and what numbers or other features might or might not be borrowed.
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Re: Non-decimal number systems in conlangs

Post by Informer »

Shemtov wrote: 29 Feb 2024 07:01 The current plan for Zeigouŋdeizese is base-20 with a subbase of 5.
This vaguely reminds me of how roman numerals worked but with a spoken form as well (pardon me if roman numerals were actually spoken in a way like this in Latin), pretty interesting

Edit: I think its the way that numbers between subbases are represented with the last subbase plus a number, like how between groups of five in roman numerals there are 1s added to it
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Re: Non-decimal number systems in conlangs

Post by Pabappa »

All of my languages use base 10. Glyphs for the numbers are taken from the first ten glyphs of the Late Andanese syllabary, a language with only thirty syllables. But there is a strong secondary base-30 system that uses the full syllabary: these are used like we use our letters A-Z. The two systems cannot be combined because they would be ambiguous; thus, each is used in its own context.

Math education is not very developed .... most students don't stay in school beyond age 10, and even in those years what they learn is less academic than what we learn, so the parallel number systems don't present as much of a problem as they would in our world.
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Re: Non-decimal number systems in conlangs

Post by Frislander »

Asta is base-5. I don't really have more to say on that other than that they have numerals for 1-5, 25 and 125, the last of which can also be used with a kind of 'myriad'-like sense of just 'a large number'. Reduplicate the last root and you get 1252, which can likewise mean 'very numerous'.
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