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History of number question

  1. Jan 26, 2009 #1
    My first post here, so please humor me. I have found no one in my life who can explain this to me:

    My question is about the base 10 number system. It arises from the rate at which new NAMES are attributed to numbers as they increase. To illustrate, please consider -

    10 x 1 unit = 10. - This is significant as this is the point at which a new NAME is attributed to subsequent numbers (ie from units to tens)

    10 x 10 = 100. (moving from tens to hundreds)

    10 x 100 = 1000 (hundreds to thousands) - noting new names thus far have been attributed in accordance with multiples of 10

    10 x 1000 = 10 000. - No new name..

    Why this lack of continuity?
    Why are new names given in accordance with multiples of 10 prior to reaching 1000, (or 10 000), and not after?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 26, 2009 #2

    CompuChip

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    I think there is some sort of historical reason, these names being given in a time when there was no urgency to express numbers greater than, say, 1 000 (though actually, Archimedes had invented a scheme for writing down very large numbers, for a very specific purpose). Besides, it gets kind of complicated to speak about tentens, tententens, etc.

    I think in general we prefer not to have names like thousand-x:
    100: "tenten" is given a name: hundred
    110, ...: can be expressed as hundred + ten
    1000: could be called "tenhundred" but is for obscure reasons called thousand
    1100, ...: can be expressed as thousand + hundred, although some languages (like Dutch :tongue:) also say "elevenhundred, twelvehundred, ..." instead of "one thousand one hundred, - two hundred, ..."
    10 000: ten thousand
    100 000: hundred thousand
    1 000 000: thousand thousand -- eek, let's make a new name (million)
    1 100 000: one million one thousand - that's fine
    10 000 000: ten million, fine
    100 000 000: hundred million, ok
    1 000 000 000: thousand million, but we prefer milliard (or billion)
    10 000 000 000: ten milliard/billion
    100 000 000 000: hundred milliard / billion
    1 000 000 000 000: thousand ... - no, let's give it a new name: billion (or trillion)
    etc.

    Note that some countries prefer to increment the "Latin" counter every 1 000 (million, billion, trillion, quadrillion, ...) while some do it every 1 000 000 (million, milliard; billion, billiard; trillion, ...)
     
  4. Jan 26, 2009 #3
    agree
     
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