Number Systems of the World

By TAKASUGI Shinji
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Number Systems of the World

I translate words included in number words to English, and I use ‘+’ and ‘?’ for implicit additions and multiplications. For instance, I explain the French words vingt et un (21) and quatre-vingt-dix-neuf (99) as “20 and 1″ and “4 ? 20 + 10 + 9″ respectively.

Please let me know if you find a mistake. A list of numbers in your language is welcome.

Some pages use the character set UTF-8. Latest web browsers automatically choose a proper character set.

Complexity
Rank Language Language Family, Subfamily Native speakers
population Spoken Area
1 Huli
(new) Trans-New Guinea, Main Section 70,000 Papua New Guinea
2 Ndom
(new) Trans-New Guinea, Kolopom 450 Frederik Hendrik Island
(near New Guinea)
3 Nimbia Afro-Asiatic, Chadic ? Nigeria
4 Hindi Indo-European, Indo-Iranian 182,000,000 Northern India
5 Tzotzil Mayan, Cholan-Tzeltalan 265,000 Mexico
6 Ainu (language isolate) 15 Hokkaid? (Japan)
7 Alamblak Sepik-Ramu, Sepik 1,500 Papua New Guinea
8 Nahuatl Uto-Aztecan, Southern Uto-Aztecan 1,377,000 Mexico
9 Malagasy Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian 10,156,900 Madagascar
10 Yoruba Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo 20,000,000 Nigeria, Benin
11 Welsh (Traditional)
(new) Indo-European, Celtic 580,000 Wales (U.K.)
12 Breton Indo-European, Celtic 500,000 Brittany (France)
13 Manx Indo-European, Celtic 0 Isle of Man (U.K., extinct)
14 Scots Gaelic Indo-European, Celtic 94,000 Scotland (U.K.)
15 Georgian South Caucasian, Georgian 4,103,000 Georgia
16 Danish Indo-European, Germanic 5,292,000 Denmark
17 Javanese Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian 75,500,800 Java (Indonesia)
18 Latin Indo-European, Italic 0 Italy (extinct)
19 French Indo-European, Italic 72,000,000 France
20 Zulu Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo 9,142,000 South Africa
21 Basque Basque 580,000 Basque (France, Spain)
22 Arabic Afro-Asiatic, Semitic 0 West Asia, North Africa (ancient)
23 Ganda Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo 3,025,440 Uganda
24 Maltese Afro-Asiatic, Semitic 370,000 Malta
25 Assyrian Afro-Asiatic, Semitic 217,000 Iraq
26 Kurmanji Indo-European, Indo-Iranian 7,000,000 Turkey
27 Dutch Indo-European, Germanic 20,000,000 Netherlands
28 German Indo-European, Germanic 98,000,000 Germany
29 Swahili Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo 5,000,000 Kenya, Tanzania
30 Ojibwa Algic, Algonquian 50,000 Canada, U.S.
31 Italian Indo-European, Italic 37,000,000 Italy
32 Spanish Indo-European, Italic 332,000,000 Spain, Latin America
33 Swiss French Indo-European, Italic 1,272,000 Switzerland
34 Tigrinya Afro-Asiatic, Semitic 6,060,000 Eritrea, Ethiopia
35 Turkish Altaic, Turkic 59,000,000 Turkey
36 Balkan Romani Indo-European, Indo-Iranian 1,000,000 Former Yugoslavia
37 Hungarian Uralic, Finno-Ugric 14,500,000 Hungary
38 Tagalog Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian 17,000,000 Philippines
39 Polari (unclassified) 0 U.K.
40 Scots Indo-European, Germanic 100,000 Scotland (U.K.)
41 English Indo-European, Germanic 322,000,000 U.S., U.K., etc.
42 Norwegian Indo-European, Germanic 5,000,000 Norway
43 Swedish Indo-European, Germanic 9,000,000 Sweden
44 Sukuma Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo 5,000,000 Tanzania
45 Hawaiian Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian 1,000 Hawaii
46 Finnish Uralic, Finno-Ugric 6,000,000 Finland
47 Estonian Uralic, Finno-Ugric 1,100,000 Estonia
48 Romanian Indo-European, Italic 1,500,000 Romania
49 Ancient Japanese Japanese 0 Japan (ancient)
50 Kiribati Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian 67,000 Kiribati
51 Wolof Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo 3,215,000 Senegal, Gambia
52 Croatian Indo-European, Slavic 21,000,000 Croatia
53 Seneca Iroquoian, Northern Iroquoian 200 U.S.
54 Indonesian Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian 17,050,000 Indonesia
55 Mandinka Niger-Congo, Mande 914,500 Senegal, Gambia
56 Wu Chinese Sino-Tibetan, Chinese 77,175,000 Shanghai (China)
57 Tok Pisin Creole, English-based 50,000 Papua New Guinea
58 Vietnamese Austro-Asiatic, Mon-Khmer 66,897,000 Viet Nam
59 Igbo Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo 17,000,000 Nigeria
60 Thai Daic, Tai 21,000,000 Thailand
61 Welsh (Modern)
(new) Indo-European, Celtic 580,000 Wales (U.K.)
62 Aymara Aymaran 2,200,000 Bolivia, Peru
63 Cuzco Quechua Quechuan, Quechua II 1,500,000 Peru
64 Chinook Wawa Pidgin, Amerindian 100 Canada, U.S.
65 Mandarin Sino-Tibetan, Chinese 885,000,000 Northern China
66 Japanese Japanese, Japanese 125,000,000 Japan
67 Cantonese Sino-Tibetan, Chinese 66,000,000 Guangdong (China)
68 Esperanto (artificial) 200 France etc.
69 Tongan Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian 123,000 Tonga

Links:

Numeral Systems of the World’s Languages – an excellent site of a comprehensive list of number systems
Numbers from 1 to 10 in Over 4000 Languages
Numerals in Indo-European Dialects

Surprisingly enough, it’s proven that Chinese-speaking children are better at counting numbers than English-speaking counterparts because of their language. Bilingual children are better at counting when they think in Chinese than in English. The irregularity of the English number system makes it harder for children to count numbers properly.

English words may hinder math skills development
Counting Ability in Bilingual Children
Visualization and Explicit Number Naming as a Foundation for Children’s Early Work in Mathematics
The Mathematical Brain

Copyright(C) TAKASUGI Shinji (tssf.airnet.ne.jp)

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3 Comments

  1. ronald mcdonald says:

    hello mon, i like your stuff

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