It is probably overdue that we revisit the numerical system of Diinlang.

My first attempts in this direction were admittedly Eurocentric. This was partially done to have some connection with the SI system of prefixes. One objection to this is some of these prefixes have more general and less specific uses. Some of these are only partially related to their numerical use. A mega-city has ten million people, not a million. A microwave wavelength can be anything from a millimetre to a metre. Uses such as microscope, microchip and micro-surgery have little to do with the numerical value. In Diinlang mu may be used instead of micro for units of 0.000001.

I was watching reruns of QI recently, and there was mention of the idea that the Chinese and Japanese languages made mathematics easier. (I have also come across suggestions that the Chinese names for geometric shapes were easier to learn, not being based on Greek. That is a topic for another day!)

“Because as human beings we store digits in a memory loop that runs for about two seconds…Chinese number words are remarkably brief. Most of them can be uttered in less than one-quarter of a second (for instance, 4 is ‘si’ and 7 ‘qi’) Their English equivalents—”four,” “seven”—are longer: pronouncing them takes about one-third of a second. The memory gap between English and Chinese apparently is entirely due to this difference in length.”

Using short words for Diinlang numbers may have advantages.

The number system of Chinese and Japanese is logical and easy to learn. Eleven translates as “ten-one”, twelve as “ten-two”, Twenty one as “two ten-one” and so on. This system also has advantages:

“Gladwell dares, “Ask an English seven-year-old to add thirty-seven plus twenty two, in her head, and she has to convert the words to numbers (37 + 22). Only then can she do the math: 2 plus 7 is nine and 30 and 20 is 50, which makes 59. “Ask an Asian child to add three-tens-seven and two tens-two, and then the necessary equation is right there, embedded in the sentence. No number translation is necessary: it’s five-tens nine,” he asserts.”

Ordinals are created by just prefixing the number with “bi” (sequence). First = sequence one, thirds = sequence three and so on.

Fractions have the form “Of x, take y”, so three fifths is “of five, take three”.

For SI compatibility, Diinlang numerals would be based around thousands rather than the Asian system of ten-thousands. Arabic numerals will be used.

The article quoted from above seems to suggest Cantonese numbers are quicker than Mandarin. These may prove a good place to start for Diinlang. Some Chinese number names are renamed for clearer phonetics. In Mandarin these are 0 (ling): renamed 洞 (dòng) 1 (yi): renamed 幺 (yāo) 2 (er): renamed 两 (liǎng) 7 (qi): renamed 拐 (guǎi) 9 (jiu): renamed 勾 (gōu).
0: 零 (ling4) lihng Diinlang zeru, oh

1: 一 (jat1) yaat Dinlang un

2: 二 (ji6) yih Diinlang biy or by. Possible alternate: “dua”

3: 三 (saam1) saam Diinlang tri (short terminal -i, so sounds like tree). Tre may be more practical

4: 四 (sei3) sei Diinlang tet

5: 五 (ng5) ngh Diinlang fy, if not too similar to by. f looks like 5? Possible alternate: “senk”

6: 六 (luk6) luhk poss. sis memory aid: s looks a little like 6

7: 七 (cat1) chaat Diinlang hep

8: 八 (baat3) baat Diinlang either baa or baat. memory aid B looks like 8

9: 九 (gau2) gau Diinlang gau memory aid g looks like 9

10: 十 (sap6) sahp Diinlang dek

100: 一百 (jat1 baak3) Possible alternative “sto”, already used by a number of languages. Since Diinlang does not use “c” a word beginning with “h” might be better. Hek from Hekto?

1000: 一千 (jat1 cin1) Diinlang: should begin with K. for correlation with SI. The word Kilo is already well established as a unit of mass.