Are diacritics NOW irrelevant ? (Re: [INDOLOGY] the koti

Dominik Wujastyk wujastyk at GMAIL.COM
Wed Dec 1 14:31:21 UTC 2010

I have personal experience of living and thinking in a duodecimal system,
since I grew up largely in Sterling currency areas before decimalization,
when there were 12 pence in a shilling and 240 pence in a pound, and so on.
Most of my early school maths examples were about £sd., i.e., pounds,
shillings, and pence, and hence duodecimal maths (expressed in decimal base
counting :-( ).  Having a shilling (which was actually worth quite a lot)
that you could divide in whole-number halves, quarters or thirds was a great
daily convenience.   So were the lush possibilities offered by 240 pence.  A
glance at this table<>shows
how much more convenient the 12 base was, especially for
small-denomination coins.


Some old ruminations of mine on related topics of zero and counting systems
are here <>
and here<>

On 1 December 2010 01:34, Thrasher, Allen <athr at> wrote:

> "I very much like Chrisomalis' opening criticism aimed at those who praise
> our current internationalized counting system as being in some sense a
> pinnacle of achievement.  Chrisomalis argues that it is possible to imagine
> other counting systems that would serve us just as well, if not better."
> Maybe it is not directly relevant to Indology, but there is a marvellous
> little book "New numbers; how acceptance of a duodecimal (12) base would
> simplify mathematics," by F. Emerson Andrews. (New York, 1935, unrevised 2nd
> ed. 1944), which as I remember from reading it long ago gives a pretty good
> argument.  Inter alia it points out the conveniences of 12's having 4
> factors besides 1 and itself, instead of 10's mere 2 factors. I see just now
> there is an interesting article "Duodecimal," which I have not yet read
> carefully, that discusses this, cites Andrews' book, and has links to
> societies favoring a reform.  Alas, it's rather late in the day.
> Allen
> Allen W. Thrasher, Ph.D.
> Senior Reference Librarian and Team Coordinator
> South Asia Team
> Asian Division
> Library of Congress
> Washington, DC 20540-4810
> tel. 202-707-3732
> fax 202-707-1724
> The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Library of
> Congress.

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