What's so Funny about Numbers?
Numbers are all around us, on bits of paper, on computer screens, in the sky. Well maybe not in the sky, although once I did see a zero as part of a skywriting advertisement, granted though that it might have been an O rather than a zero, but then O is the 15th letter in the alphabet so as you can see you’re never far away from having something to do with a number or two.
But what’s funny about numbers? I think that the funniest thing about numbers is the consistency of the naming. Let me explain.
The words for the numbers 0 to 9, they’re all a different and unique words, zero one two three four five six seven eight nine. All consistent. The namer of numbers is consistent so far and so continues on.
10, it’s going to be some kind of combination of one and zero right, maybe it will be onezero, but no, they’ve chosen to continue giving the words unique names by calling this one ten. Righto, we can live with that.
11, ok we’ve resigned to the fact that it won’t be called oneone, and we are told it’s eleven, ok.
12, well we’ve got a unique word again although this one seems somewhat related to 2, two-elve, so not completely unique, maybe half unique, but in any case breaking the pattern of all the words being named uniquely. Maybe it’s a Friday afternoon and the number namer needs to get off home for the weekend so has just rushed it.
13, hang on a moment, what the heck? Thirteen, Thir is part of the word third which is the placing for when someone is number three in a race, and teen sounds a bit like ten. Now that’s just being lazy, hardly creative at all, you can’t just take two existing numbers, get them a bit wrong then concatenate them. Placing + teen, that’s just not right.
14, following suit it should be forthteen, but no. Ok well maybe there is some logic here, maybe they’re trying to establish a new pattern. We’re ditching using the placing version of the number and just using the word, four, followed by teen, so the formula is number + teen. Maybe this is making more sense. Still strange that teen thing, not quite being ten but nearly. Although it could be argued that they are staying consistent with the teen which was the latter part of thirteen, so some consistency there.
15, ah ok so I must have been wrong, they’ve messed up consistency yet again by going back to the placing thing again by using fif, being part of fifth, then teen, so back to placing + teen. They’re alternating, maybe they can’t make their mind up? Maybe there are two people doing this number naming, having a go each, and they’re not communicating very well.
16, ok so I was right because this one is six and teen, again the proper number six rather than sixth, followed by teen. Obviously I was right about the two people doing this naming as they are alternating consistently between placing + teen and number + teen. Logically the next one should be seventhteen.
17, but no, it’s seventeen, using the number + teen twice in a row rather than going back to the placing of seventh. Has the other number namer had a day off and the guy who named 16 also done 17, using his number + teen formula rather than placing + teen?
18, ok we have three in a row with number + teen now, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, maybe the guy who did thirteen, and fifteen, the placing + teen guy, has been given the sack and is off working at Starbucks making terrible coffee instead.
19, yes it seems I was right, nineteen, the forth consistent number naming using number + teen in a row. This is starting to go well. Still there is the anomaly of using teen instead of ten, but it’s a bit late to go back now, children have already been taught that you use teen rather than ten as a suffix to a double digit number and it would be unfair to ask them to relearn. So be it.
20, so this is obviously going to be twoteen right.. hang on, twenty? What on earth is that? It doesn’t follow any of the patterns at all, well tw is a bit like two, but what is this enty? This is getting ridiculous, I’ve invested too much emotion in this and just when I thought that all was well I’m disappointed again. I’ve had enough, I don’t care if numbers are funny or not, it's over.
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