Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Family & RelationshipsSingles & Dating · 2 months ago

Why do the French count like "four twenties and eighteen" when they mean 88?

So much words...

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  • Anonymous
    2 months ago
    Favourite answer

    German's say - eight and eighty.

  • 2 months ago

    That would be 98, and it is funny that you should ask because I saw an explanation for that, just yesterday.  It derives from the germanic (gaulic) counting system, which in contrast to Roman counting (which is decimal) was a system based on twenty.  Why exactly the more common lower number counts came to conform to the Roman system but not the higher value numbers (60-99) is not super clear but is likely a frequency of use thing.

    We have relicts of our germanic origins in English, still, even.  eleven and twelve, for example.  It is interesting that the French retained that up until 16 (16 is the first number that uses the "teen" designation).

    soixante et dix or quatre-vingt are historical holdovers, basically.  Not any really good explanation why some word forms descend from one precursor language but other similar forms come from another precursor language, but it is a very common sort of thing just the same. This is just one example of it.

  • 2 months ago

    You described 98 not 88

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