Spelling out numbers in different languages

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wraith
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Spelling out numbers in different languages

Postby wraith » Sun Sep 07, 2014 9:37 pm UTC

A couple of friends and me played a game where we tried to imagine if we had all the integers spelled out and sorted in a lexicographical order, which would be the first and last in the list. We're Bulgarian and we played the game in Bulgarian, but we had fun playing it in other languages too.

So here's what we have if we count "space" as a character lexicographically smaller than every other.

Bulgarian: "Гугол" (Googol) and "Шестстотин шестдесет и шест хиляди шестстотин шестдесет и шест" (666,666)
English: "Eight" and "Zero"
German: "Acht" (8) and "Zweitausend zweihundert zwei und zwanzig" (2,222) "Zwölftausend zwölf" (12,012) (thanks to osroot for pointing this out)
Russian: "Восемь" (8) and "???" it seems that there's no last number in Russian because you can theoretically add "центи-" (centi-) forever to form bigger numbers. So the last number would be something like
Шестьсот шестьдесят шесть центицентиценти...лионов шестьсот шестьдесят шесть тысяч шестьсот шестьдесят шесть" (666 centicenticenti...lion 666,666)
Finnish: "biljoona" (1,000,000,000) and "yksitoistatuhattayhdeksänsataayksitoista" (11,911) (thanks to Envelope Generator)

So, let's find such numbers for other languages, shall we? Are there any other languages other than Russian that don't have a last number?

<edit> I'm editing this post with info from the posts below. </edit>
Last edited by wraith on Wed Sep 10, 2014 10:42 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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osroot
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Re: Spelling out numbers in different languages

Postby osroot » Mon Sep 08, 2014 3:20 pm UTC

In German, there is 12 = zwölf = zwoelf > zwei

Also, in the (low (10^(3n) range, such as million, billion, trillion (!!!)), in German we have (10^18=)Trillionen>Trilliarde>Tausend
I don't know the names for greater than Quintillionen, so I have to assume that this is the upper bound.

So, the upper-bound-number would be ...

Zwölftrillionen zwölftausend (und (spricht man nicht immer mit)) zwölf
12.000.000.000.000.012.012


Question to better English speaker:
how is 1.000.000.000 pronounced? "one billion" or "billion"?



edit: ok, wikipedia says, that 10^600 is called Zentillionen and 10^120 is called Vigintillionen in German, so the upper-bound-number would consist of 12*(10^600+10^120+10^18+10^3+1), the name respectively to the example above

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Re: Spelling out numbers in different languages

Postby Deva » Mon Sep 08, 2014 3:31 pm UTC

osroot wrote:Question to better English speaker:
how is 1.000.000.000 pronounced? "one billion" or "billion"?

One billion.
Changes its form depending on the observer.

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Re: Spelling out numbers in different languages

Postby wraith » Mon Sep 08, 2014 3:53 pm UTC

osroot wrote:In German, there is 12 = zwölf = zwoelf > zwei

Also, in the (low (10^(3n) range, such as million, billion, trillion (!!!)), in German we have (10^18=)Trillionen>Trilliarde>Tausend
I don't know the names for greater than Quintillionen, so I have to assume that this is the upper bound.

So, the upper-bound-number would be ...

Zwölftrillionen zwölftausend (und (spricht man nicht immer mit)) zwölf
12.000.000.000.000.012.012

edit: ok, wikipedia says, that 10^600 is called Zentillionen and 10^120 is called Vigintillionen in German, so the upper-bound-number would consist of 12*(10^600+10^120+10^18+10^3+1), the name respectively to the example above


Indeed but are trillionen and zentillionen also combined with the previous number as tausend? Isn't the correct spelling "zwölf trillionen" (making it smaller than zwölftausend due to the space)?

Source: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Million
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Re: Spelling out numbers in different languages

Postby Vo2max » Tue Sep 09, 2014 12:06 pm UTC

In Welsh, dau (2) and wyth (8). Beyond 10 there are spaces.

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Re: Spelling out numbers in different languages

Postby Envelope Generator » Tue Sep 09, 2014 3:21 pm UTC

In Finnish, biljoona (1.000.000.000) and yksitoistatuhattayhdeksänsataayksitoista (11.911). Curiously, the alphabetically dead last number word in the language, integer or not, is the one for infinity (äärettömyys).
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Re: Spelling out numbers in different languages

Postby jano » Tue Sep 09, 2014 6:03 pm UTC

Deva wrote:
osroot wrote:Question to better English speaker:
how is 1.000.000.000 pronounced? "one billion" or "billion"?

One billion.

Or less frequently "one thousand million" or "one milliard" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1,000,000,000)
Spoiler:

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Re: Spelling out numbers in different languages

Postby speising » Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:26 pm UTC

wraith wrote:
osroot wrote:In German, there is 12 = zwölf = zwoelf > zwei

Also, in the (low (10^(3n) range, such as million, billion, trillion (!!!)), in German we have (10^18=)Trillionen>Trilliarde>Tausend
I don't know the names for greater than Quintillionen, so I have to assume that this is the upper bound.

So, the upper-bound-number would be ...

Zwölftrillionen zwölftausend (und (spricht man nicht immer mit)) zwölf
12.000.000.000.000.012.012

edit: ok, wikipedia says, that 10^600 is called Zentillionen and 10^120 is called Vigintillionen in German, so the upper-bound-number would consist of 12*(10^600+10^120+10^18+10^3+1), the name respectively to the example above


Indeed but are trillionen and zentillionen also combined with the previous number as tausend? Isn't the correct spelling "zwölf trillionen" (making it smaller than zwölftausend due to the space)?

Source: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Million


that's right.

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Re: Spelling out numbers in different languages

Postby wraith » Wed Sep 10, 2014 9:16 am UTC

Envelope Generator wrote:In Finnish, biljoona (1.000.000.000) and yksitoistatuhattayhdeksänsataayksitoista (11.911). Curiously, the alphabetically dead last number word in the language, integer or not, is the one for infinity (äärettömyys).


Is bilijoona correct on its own? In English (and many other languages) you must say "one billion" with a "one" and because of that "eight" is the first in the sequence in English and not "billion".
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Re: Spelling out numbers in different languages

Postby wraith » Wed Sep 10, 2014 9:22 am UTC

Vo2max wrote:In Welsh, dau (2) and wyth (8). Beyond 10 there are spaces.


Shouldn't there be numbers lexicographically bigger than wyth, then? 8000? 88?
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Re: Spelling out numbers in different languages

Postby Xenomortis » Wed Sep 10, 2014 9:24 am UTC

A billion. :D

Spoiler:
Ok, not really.
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Re: Spelling out numbers in different languages

Postby Envelope Generator » Wed Sep 10, 2014 10:36 am UTC

wraith wrote:Is bilijoona correct on its own? In English (and many other languages) you must say "one billion" with a "one" and because of that "eight" is the first in the sequence in English and not "billion".


It's correct. With an explicit one I'd take it as translationese.


wraith wrote:
Vo2max wrote:In Welsh, dau (2) and wyth (8). Beyond 10 there are spaces.


Shouldn't there be numbers lexicographically bigger than wyth, then? 8000? 88?


Probably not 88 since Welsh is vigesimal.
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Re: Spelling out numbers in different languages

Postby Lawrencelot » Wed Sep 10, 2014 11:43 am UTC

In Dutch I think it would be acht (8) and zeventriljoenzeventigmiljoenzeventigduizendzeventig (7*10^18+70*10^6+70*10^3 + 70), using common language. Apparently there also exists Vigintiljoen (10^120) and Quinquagintiljoen (10^300) which can be used with 'zeventig' in front of it, but I have never heard of those words.

Edit: apparently in the official spelling spaces are used for numbers above 10000, so the biggest number would be zeventriljoen (7*10^18).

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Re: Spelling out numbers in different languages

Postby Vo2max » Thu Sep 11, 2014 1:47 pm UTC

wraith wrote:
Vo2max wrote:In Welsh, dau (2) and wyth (8). Beyond 10 there are spaces.


Shouldn't there be numbers lexicographically bigger than wyth, then? 8000? 88?


wyth mil or wyth deg wyth.

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Re: Spelling out numbers in different languages

Postby mathmannix » Fri Sep 12, 2014 3:42 pm UTC

In English, the names for '0' are the beginning and end:

Wikipedia wrote:Aught ... Zero, Zilch, Zip.


I like the symmetry.
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Re: Spelling out numbers in different languages

Postby goofy » Tue Sep 16, 2014 1:01 pm UTC

Hindi

अट्ठाईस aṭṭhāīs twenty-eight
सोलह solah sixteen

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Re: Spelling out numbers in different languages

Postby obfpen » Sat Sep 20, 2014 3:31 am UTC

Vo2max wrote:In Welsh, dau (2) and wyth (8). Beyond 10 there are spaces.

Wouldn't cant (100) and chwech (6) also sort before dau? I'd imagine (though don't know for certain and have probably confused myself somewhere along the line) that wyth triliwn wyth miliwn wyth mil wyth cant ac wyth (8,000,008,008,808) would sort last.

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Re: Spelling out numbers in different languages

Postby Aiwendil » Sun Sep 28, 2014 9:49 pm UTC

In Latin, I suppose they would be centum (100) and no bound at the other end because one can keep adding 'milia' to viginti unus milia milia... (21,000,000,...).

mathmannix wrote:In English, the names for '0' are the beginning and end


I'll be cold in my grave before I accept 'aught' as a synonym for 'naught' (i.e., 'not aught').

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Re: Spelling out numbers in different languages

Postby gilan » Sun Mar 15, 2015 9:42 am UTC

A sample of numbers in Hebrew:

אחד - one
אלף - (one) thousand
אלפיים - two thousand
אפס - zero
ארבע - four
חמש - five
טריליון - (one) trillion
מאה - (one) hundred
מאתיים - two hundred
מיליון - (one) million
מליארד - (one) billion
עשר - ten
שבע - seven
שלוש - three
שמונה - eight
שש - six
שתים - two
תשע - nine

There's no last/largest number, because if your first digit is nine, you can continually add more digits arbitrarily and it will be a larger number that comes later.
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Re: Spelling out numbers in different languages

Postby gilan » Sun Mar 15, 2015 9:44 am UTC

Now I'm curious if any languages other than Hebrew have "one" as the first number alphabetically.
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