By Ferdinand von Mengden
The ebook embeds an research of the previous English numeral process and its particularities right into a broader, cross-linguistic dialogue and gives a theoretical framework for the final examine of numeral platforms. a unique viewpoint at the morphosyntactic behaviour of numerals permits the writer to check and refine a few lengthy status tenets within the research of numerals.
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Extra resources for Cardinal Numerals: Old English from a Cross-linguistic Perspective
It is due to a particular feature of the nowadays universally used Hindu-Arabic system of written numeral signs, which makes the difference: the symbol for an empty place. In fact, other written numeral systems share this disadvantage with linguistic numeral systems. Roman numerals do not have an empty element with the consequence that, for each power of ‘10’, a new simple symbol needs to be introduced: 〈X〉 for ‘10’, 〈C〉 for ‘100’, 〈M〉 for ‘1,000’. Of course, all this is not to say that no language has an expression for the numerical value ‘zero’.
Most natural languages have a set of words that meets the requirements for being used as numbers, a conventionalised sequence of counting words. Just like, for instance, the Hindu-Arabic numerals, Roman numerals, or a conventionalised sequence of body parts, the expressions used in the conventionalised counting sequence are (linguistic) instances of numbers. Once we assign them to a particular cardinality, that is, once we employ these tools for specifying a cardinality, they are used as cardinal numerals.
What makes numbers so powerful is exactly the fact that they relate to a small set of fundamental features for their tasks, and to no more. … this view acknowledges [numbers] as powerful, efficient, and highly flexible devices with many possible instances. If our number assignment is to be intersubjectively comprehensible, it is merely relevant that the sequence we are using is one that is conventionally acknowledged as a number sequence, such that the relations holding in our numerical relational structure are clear.
Cardinal Numerals: Old English from a Cross-linguistic Perspective by Ferdinand von Mengden