Accounting History - Latin Roots of Numeration

History of Accounting > Latin Roots of Numeration

The names of the cardinal numbers in French are derived from the corresponding Latin names transformed more or less regularly according to the laws of phonetics.

The numbers 17, 18,19 were in classical Latin septemdecim, octodecim, novcmdecim, but in popular Latin they were decent et septem, decent ct octo, decent et novcm, and these popular forms have given rise to the French terms dix-sept, dix-huit, dixneuf. Among the multiples of 10, the first five are formed regularly from the Latin, but the usual names for 70, 80, 90 are not septantc, octante, nonante, but soixante-dix, quatrevingts, quatre-vingt-dix. The name septante occurs in La Version dcs Septantc, the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible, called by us the Septuagint; along with octante and nonante it is found in certain provinces of the north and east of France, and in some parts of Belgium.

The forms soixante-dix, &c., are vestiges of the vigesimal system which was in use among the ancient Gauls. This vigesimal system and the Roman decimal system were used concurrently during the Middle Ages; thus 32 was either trente et deux or vingt et douze, 43 either quarante et trois or deux vingts et trois, 158 either cent cinquante et huit or sept-vingts et dix-huit. In the seventeenth century six vingts was a common expression for 120, and at the present day there is an hospital in Paris for three hundred blind people called Les Quinze-Vingts.

The same adoption of the popular Latin words for 17, 18, 19 is seen in Italian didassette, didotto, didannove, and for 16, 17, 18, 19 in the Spanish diez y seis, diez y siete, diez y ocho, diez y nueve. The names for 70, 80, 90 in Latin become settanta, ottanta, novanta in Italian, and setenta, ockenta, noventa in Spanish.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

Enter you Email and Win!

Sign up for our drawing for an Apple IPhone to help you organize your business contacts, calendar events, and more, by subscribing to our periodic newsletter. Simply add your email below and you will be enrolled. We will never, ever sell or spam your email, and you can cancel at any time!

Cite this page:

Contribute meaningful comments to the Accounting community...