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Re: Ancient number-encoding formats...
I've been trying to find more sites that are less confusing.
The last one has some interesting info, and says that the finals have the
same numerical attribute as their counterparts. Maybe it's only in actual
words that the finals have the alternate numerical value.
These two seem to be the most informative about actual mathematics and
numbers instead of numerical values of words..
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....