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Re: Ancient number-encoding formats...
One thing that that site doesn't take into account is that the double
letters in Hebrew (The Finals), such as Kap (Kaph) - 20, Mim (Mem) - 40,
Noon (Nun) - 50, Pe - 80, and Sadhe (Tzaddi) - 90, have two different
numerical values depending on their location in the word you're checking.
If they are the final letter in the word, their value is actually higher
Kap - 500, Mem - 600, Nun - 700, Pe - 800, Tzaddi - 900.
This only happens when they're at the end of the word. Check out this link
for more info
Thanks for the link - but now I'm even more confused than before (though I
guess that's Kabbalistic writing all over).
What I understand from the page is: the five double letters each have two
possible ways of being written down, a simple (child) one (the 10s version)
and a complex (adult) one (the 100s version).
So: both versions are pronounced the same, but are written differently.
This gives 22 letters + 5 double letters (extra versions) = 27 different
letters = 3 * 9, enough to handle 1..9, 10..90, and 100..900.
Also: to represent 1000, you use Aleph (as if the number were 1), but
instead pronounce it "Eleph" rather than "Aleph".
So: both versions are written the same, but are pronounced differently. :-)
No wonder people loved Arabic numbers so much. :-)
Cheers, ....Nick Pelling....