[Localization] localization question about numbers

Edward Cherlin echerlin at gmail.com
Mon Jan 14 00:47:44 EST 2008

On Jan 8, 2008 9:30 AM, Kent Loobey <kent at uoregon.edu> wrote:
> I am developing an activity for pre-literate number acquisition.  I have
> several questions.

Your questions and many more are answered quite extensively in the
Unicode Common Locale Data Repository (CLDR). http://unicode.org/cldr/

> 1.  Do you use a number system other than base 10 (0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9) in
> your locality?

Extremely rare. Mayan used base 20, and Babylonian base 60. There is
at least one culture that uses base 8. Geeks use hex. ^_^ Really old
geeks use octal.

> 2.  Do your numbers have attributes like gender or type or use?

Gender in most languages. I don't know that you mean by type or use

> 3.  Are your numbers displayed in Aribic (0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9) or are they
> displayed in your local language?

That's Westernized Hindu-Arabic numerals, or local. You can find all
of the alternative number characters in the Unicode Standard,
including Arabic, Indic, Chinese, Tibetan, and others.

> 4.  Is there anything else about numbers in your area that I need to know?

Yes, it's quite complicated. The CLDR documentation explains about
alternative decimal marks (3,14159), thousands separators (1.000.000)
and other groupings (e.g. 1,00,000 = 1 lakh in India), and gives some
guidance about which countries and languages use which. There is Free
Software for a dialog box that allows users to set all of the
parameters to their liking.

> Thank you very much for considering my questions.  I hope, with your help, to
> make an activity that is easily localized to your area.

Little do you know how little you know of the little you do know.
(Goon Show, 1950s, by Spike Milligan)

> Kent
> _______________________________________________
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> Localization at lists.laptop.org
> http://lists.laptop.org/listinfo/localization

Edward Cherlin
Earth Treasury: End Poverty at a Profit
"The best way to predict the future is to invent it."--Alan Kay

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