13 as "one three" etc

Jakub Cejka Visitor-Sanskrit jakub at unipune.ernet.in
Fri May 23 23:34:05 UTC 1997

On Fri, 23 May 1997, Jacob Baltuch wrote:

> You should distinguish the digit 3 and the digit "three". One is a
> graphical-symbolic object, the other is a linguistic object.
> It should be obvious that the two do not coincide, and neither is
> a representation of the other. You don't read "13" as "one three"
> but as "thirteen".

I know this remark has not much to do with the discussion, yet I find it
interesting that:

Many people in India actually do often say "one three" for thirteen (e.g.
as an answer to "How much is it"), perhaps to make it distinct from thirty
(which distinction is not clear in the pronunciation of many)

Recently, I saw kids in one family learning numerals. With beautiful
(almost mantra-like :-) intonation they were repeating to learn by heart:

"five three fifty three, three four thirty four" etc. for hours long.
(May be this is common elsewhere too, but I never learned numbers like

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