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February 11, 2012
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Helfametl Number System

Double Base – 3/9

Numbers are grouped by both 3's and 9's, in both speech and symbols. This has its roots in the people's observation of the planet's two moons, one of which rises and sets 9 times in a day, and the other other of which rises and sets 3 times in one day (for reference, one day of Cigglai time is equal to a little over 19 Earth days).


Unary means that their numeral symbols work like tally marks. Positional means that the symbols are arranged in columns that denote powers, such as 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, &c. For example, in base-10, you have the ones place (100), the tens place (101), the hundreds place (102), &c. In Helfametl, numerals are positional, that is, arranged by powers, but unary is used to denote numbers below 9 in each position, e.g., two groups of 81 would be marked by two "tallies", or dots over the bottom dash, in the 92 position.

The number given on the left is how the notation would read in Helfametl; Base-10 equivalent numbers are given on the right, in parentheses, where needed)

0   œ   (literally: none) ** The Helfametl notation would use an "empty" numeral, i.e., a dash with no dots above it.
1   em
2   dim
3   tarn
4   em tarn em   (literally: one three plus one)
5   em tarn dim
6   dim tarn
7   dim tarn em
8   dim tarn dim
10   em math   (32 : one three of threes, or 9 base-10 equivalent)

11   em math em   (one nine plus one, or 10 base-10 equivalent)
12   em math dim   (11 base-10 equivalent)
13   em math em tarn   (12 base-10 equivalent)
14   em math em tarn em   (13 base-10 equivalent)
15   em math em tarn dim   (14 base-10 equivalent)
16   em math dim tarn   (15 base-10 equivalent)
17   em math dim tarn em   (16 base-10 equivalent)
18   em math dim tarn dim   (17 base-10 equivalent)
20   dim math   (two nines, or 18 base-10 equivalent)

30   em tarn math   (33 : one three of nines, or 27 base-10 equivalent)
100   yei   (92 : one nine of nines, or 81 base-10 equivalent)
500   em tarn dim yei   (one three of nine-nines and two nine-nines, or 405 base-10 equivalent)

1000   chei   (93 : one nine of nine-nines, or 729 base-10 equivalent)
10000   sop   (94 : one nine-nine of nine-nines, or 6561 base-10 equivalent)
100000   mit   (95 : one nine of nine-nines of nine-nines, or 59049 base-10 equivalent)
1000000   yel   (96 : one nine-nine of nine-nines of nine-nines, or 531441 base-10 equivalent)


2723162 :
Dim yel dim tarn em mit dim sop em tarn chei l'em yei dim tarn math dim
1491671 (base-10 equivalent)
I tried to explain it as well as I could.. A picture of the numeral symbols is here: [link] The numbers are across the top.
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far-from-earth Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2012
Do you think eventually, in colloquial speech, the use of the initialem would eventually fall off for numerals 4-18?
Radishes Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
It most certainly would :) Good eye
ImaginaryMdA Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I love the fact that you thought outside of the base-box!
One problem I see though, is that it easily gets quite long, and also maybe you could lose some spaces or is helfametl a totally non-concatenating language?
Radishes Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I guess I don't see it as being that long XD It's comparable to "one million four hundred ninety-one thousand six hundred seventy-one" .. but I do see your point.

The only concatenation I could really see happening (as they don't usually concatenate words into contractions besides the use of the liaison "l") would be the "em" turning into a syllabic m added to the end of the preceding word, e.g., sop em [Sopɛm] turning into sop'm [sop˺m̩]; and also with dim yel [dimjɛɫ] turning into [dimʲɫ̩]. But that's mostly just phonetics, not true concatenation.

In text though, the numbers would not be written out in words, they would be in numerals, so the "concatenation" would be purely phonetic.

Thanks for the comment!
ImaginaryMdA Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
You're probably right about that, and indeed if it doesn't fit the language, then you really shouldn't try to change the system for numbers.

Ahh yeah, I totally forgot about that, because really we don't write, number words either, clever.
MPT0922 Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Hmm, do you think maybe "yei" and "yel" might be too close together?

I could imagine a humorous situation where somebody says "I'll bet you 'tarn yel' dollars" when they meant "tarn yei" instead :P

Also, is there any way to know what higher powers of 9 are, or do they just not exist?
Radishes Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I just haven't thought the higher powers up yet, lol. I'm sure there'd be a few more, such as billion, trillion, etc.

As far as "yei" vs "yel" goes, the way that the diphthong is pronounced in "yei" (like yay-ee) would make it fairly easy to distinguish from "yel", which ends in a dark L (velarized). That would be a funny mix-up though, with horrible consequences! XD
MPT0922 Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Eventually, though, you just run out of words to be useful. :P
Radishes Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Do you mean as far as the higher powers are concerned?
MPT0922 Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah. Who actually uses the term 32 sextillion? By then it's more convenient to use scientific notation. :P
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