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The Number Concept: Its Origin and Development Part 38

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The meanings for 70, 80, 90, are not given by Father Pet.i.tot, but are of such a form that the significations seem to be what are given above. Only a full acquaintance with the Tchiglit language would justify one in giving definite meanings to these words, or in a.s.serting that an error had been made in the numerals. But it is so remarkable and anomalous to find the decimal and vigesimal scales mingled in this manner that one involuntarily suspects either incompleteness of form, or an actual mistake.

TLINGIT.[359]

10. djinkat = both hands?

20. tle ka = 1 man.

30. natsk djinkat = 3 10.

40. dak'on djinkat = 4 10.

50. kedjin djinkat = 5 10.

60. tle durcu djinkat = 6 10.

70. daqa durcu djinkat = 7 10.

80. natska durcu djinkat = 8 10.

90. gocuk durcu djinkat = 9 10.

100. kedjin ka = 5 men, or 5 20.

200. djinkat ka = 10 20.

300. natsk djinkat ka = 30 men.

400. dak'on djinkat ka = 40 men.

This scale contains a strange commingling of decimal and vigesimal counting. The words for 20, 100, and 200 are clear evidence of vigesimal, while 30 to 90, and the remaining hundreds, are equally unmistakable proof of decimal, numeration. The word _ka_, man, seems to mean either 10 or 20; a most unusual occurrence. The fact that a number system is partly decimal and partly vigesimal is found to be of such frequent occurrence that this point in the Tlingit scale need excite no special wonder. But it is remarkable that the same word should enter into numeral composition under such different meanings.

NOOTKA.[360]

10. haiu.

20. tsakeits.

30. tsakeits ic haiu = 20 + 10.

40. atlek = 2 20.

60. katstsek = 3 20.

80. moyek = 4 20.

100. sutc'ek = 5 20.

120. nop'ok = 6 20.

140. atlpok = 7 20.

160. atlakutlek = 8 20.

180. ts'owakutlek = 9 20.

200. haiuk = 10 20.

This scale is quinary-vigesimal, with no apparent decimal element in its composition. But the derivation of some of the terms used is detected with difficulty. In the following scale the vigesimal structure is still more obscure.

TSIMSHIAN.[361]

10. gy'ap.

20. kyedeel = 1 man.

30. gulewulgy'ap.

40. t'epqadalgyitk, or tqalpqwulgyap.

50. kctoncwulgyap.

100. kcenecal.

200. k'pal.

300. k'pal te kcenecal = 200 + 100.

400. kyedal.

500. kyedal te kcenecal = 400 + 100.

600. gulalegyitk.

700. gulalegyitk te kcenecal = 600 + 100.

800. tqalpqtalegyitk.

900. tqalpqtalegyitk te kcenecal = 800 + 100.

1000. k'pal.

To the un.o.bservant eye this scale would certainly appear to contain no more than a trace of the vigesimal in its structure. But Dr. Boas, who is one of the most careful and accurate of investigators, says in his comment on this system: "It will be seen at once that this system is quinary-vigesimal....

In 20 we find the word _gyat_, man. The hundreds are identical with the numerals used in counting men (see p. 87), and then the quinary-vigesimal system is most evident."

RIO NORTE INDIANS.[362]

20. taiguaco.

30. taiguaco co juyopamauj ajte = 20 + 2 5.

40. taiguaco ajte = 20 2.

50. taiguaco ajte co juyopamauj ajte = 20 2 + 5 2.

CARIBS OF ESSIQUIBO, GUIANA

10. oween-abatoro.

20. owee-carena = 1 person.

40. oko-carena = 2 persons.

60. oroowa-carena = 3 persons.

OTOMI

10. ra-tta.

20. na-te.

30. na-te-m'a-ratta = 20 + 10.

40. yo-te = 2 30.

50. yote-m'a-ratta = 2 20 + 10.

60. hiu-te = 3 20.

70. hiute-m'a-ratta = 3 20 + 10.

80. gooho-rate = 4 20.

90. gooho-rate-m'a ratta = 4 20 + 10.

100. cytta-te = 5 20, or nanthebe = 1 100.

MAYA, YUCATAN.[363]

1. hun.

10. lahun = it is finished.

20. hunkal = a measure, or more correctly, a fastening together.

30. lahucakal = 40 - 10?

40. cakal = 2 20.

50. lahuyoxkal = 60 - 10.

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The Number Concept: Its Origin and Development Part 38 summary

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