"That would be the French."

For those of you who are unfamiliar with French numbers, I thought I would enlighten you as to their odd nature, at least, the odd nature of the upper two-digit numbers. (And no, I haven't just now learned my numbers, nearly halfway through the semester.) Some literal translations:

70. Soixante-dix. Sixty-ten.
75. Soixante-quinze. Sixty-fifteen.
80. Quatre-vingt. Four-twenty.
90. Quatre-vingt-dix. Four-twenty-ten.
97. Quatre-vingt-dix-sept. Four-twenty-seventeen. (Though seventeen, dix-sept, is literally ten-seven, so I guess you could say ninety-seven in French is four-twenty-ten-seven.)

Amusing, no? The funny part to me is that it's just some of their numbers that get the weird end of the stick. To say "four-twenty" for eighty is perfectly logical, but I just don't understand why they couldn't give eighty its own word -- huitante, or something like that -- when they were willing enough to do so for ten through sixty.

The Korean numbers are rather like that -- par exemple, eighty-eight is eight ten eight. But then there's the small nightmare of the Sino-Korean numbers versus the Korean numbers. Yes, they have two different words for every number, and you have to memorize which uses require which numbers. E.g., Korean numbers are good for age in years and when counting persons, but to say what grade in school you're in, it's the Sino-Korean number you want.

4 comments:

Q 2/25/2008 1:49 PM  

I like Spanish numbers. They are easy, and for the most part act just like English numbers.

Bohae 2/25/2008 3:29 PM  

*grins at how different languages tend to work out* ;)

Felicity 2/25/2008 5:15 PM  

I love french numbers! We learned them last year in french 1. In french 3, we had to listen to a song about counting. Crazy. You'll get used to the numbers...

Ellenboro 3/03/2008 2:18 PM  

I love French. And all other languages for that matter. I'm determined to take all four years of French during high school (I'm in the first year now), learn Italian (I sing), Greek (I love it), and Irish Gaelic (It sounds awesome and it's so mystifying). I already am fluent in Spanish, but that's what you get when you grow up in a Spanish-speaking commonwealth. And Japanese would be great to learn, too. Korean sounds amazing, too. (I just watched Winter Sonata).

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