Forums > FIRST Members

Numbers - Why do the teens exist?

Posts (10)

  • Devon

    Devon FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

    #16553203 - 5 years ago

    Why don't thirteen through nineteen have unique names like eleven and twelve?

    And on the contrary, why are they "eleven" and "twelve" instead of "oneteen" and "twoteen"?


    Not looking for Superfactsâ„¢ here, just fun discussion. :)

  • FoUAnubis

    FoUAnubis FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

    #16553534 - 5 years ago

    "While you may think that the words emerged from a base-12 numbering system — think months of the year, hours in half a day, or inches in a foot — it turns out that this simply isn’t the case. â€Eleven†is actually a base-10 term. The word “eleven†is derived from the Old English word “endleofan†(pronounced “end-lih-fenâ€) which itself comes from the Germanic “ainlif,†a compound word: “ain†means “one†and “lif†was a version of the word “left.†(The word “leave†has the same root.) Combined, “ainlif†means “one left.†Imagine a Germanic goat herder from the early Middle Ages counting his flock, putting them in units of ten — but missing his estimate and ending up with one left over. That last one is “ainlif†— “eleven.â€

    The word “twelve†follows a similar construct, from the terms “twelf†in Old English and “twalif†at its Germanic routs. Again, the word “ten†is assumed and the math still works: “eleven†is really “ten plus one†and “twelve†is “ten plus two.†There is nothing duodenary about their names.

    For 13 to 19? “Teen†simply means “ten more than,†and of course, the prefix is self-explanatory. And no, we do not know why there is a linguistic split after twelve. Both the “teen†and “lif†terms developed at roughly the same time — probably around the year 900. The antiquity of these terms makes it impossible to determine the reason for certain."

    Source = nowiknow.com/oneteen-and-twoteen/

  • geekyscotty

    geekyscotty

    #16554052 - 5 years ago

    In reply to Kisi, #3:

    I don't get it ... /myfail

  • SickDemon

    SickDemon

    #16554361 - 5 years ago

    In reply to geekyscotty, #4:

    tumblr_lma45ioIBD1qfxvcxo1_500.gif

  • Devon

    Devon FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

    #16554472 - 5 years ago

    In reply to FoUAnubis, #2:

    Heh, well that's certainly interesting... Though I specifically said I wasn't looking for just a bunch of facts, but a good discussion. smiley8.gif

  • LoZelda

    LoZelda FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Supposedly An Adult

    #16554781 - 5 years ago

    My interpretation: way back when you didn't really have a need for a number beyond 10. Then suddenly someone had eleven or something, so they made up a new word for it. Then suddenly there was another thing, so they made up a new word again. By the time the next thing showed up they said "fuck it, this is too hard."

  • JoeyBeanz

    JoeyBeanz FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

    #16554789 - 5 years ago

    Such things are not meant to be asked or known.

  • FoUAnubis

    FoUAnubis FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

    #16555229 - 5 years ago

    Now ya have both. Plus since my name is Jason i was a lil weirded out at first by that comment, haha.

  • Roburgh

    Roburgh

    #16555861 - 5 years ago

    What I find interesting is that eleven and twelve exist in other languages as independent from the other teens and it others they don't. Example is in german "Elf" and "Zwolf" mean 11 and 12, while 13-19 are represented by the german word for the number followed by "zehn" (german for 10) However in spanish it doesn't start the repeated for of the number and then 10 until 16...Language is weird.

  • Devon

    Devon FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

    #16561317 - 5 years ago

    In reply to LoZelda, #7:

    That's certainly the most likely scenario.


    In reply to roblvb15, #10:

    This is certainly peculiar. I wonder how people decided some of that stuff. Because obviously larger numbers had been around(in use) longer than most of these languages, right? (I would hope...?)