Ontem durante a aula do Toefl me deparei com a primeira informação, digamos assim interessante no meio de tantos textos que francamente, não interessam muito a ninguém. Mas esse texto me chamou atenção por ter a explicação para a revolta de todo o estudante de francês quando começa a aprender os números, afinal porque raios oitenta não pode ser oitenta e tem que ser quatro vezes vinte?
"Examples of base-20, or vigesimal, systems, which most likely developed from couting by making use of all the digits, are more common than are those of base-5 systems. A number of early cultures, including the Mayans, the Aztecs, and the Celts, developed numerical systems that involved couting by 20s. The Mayan calendar had 20 months of 20 days each, and the Mayans counted years in terms of 20-years periods rather than decades; study of the Aztec numbers for 1 through 20 shows that the names of the first five numbers are related to the fingers of one hand, the names of the next five numbers are related to the fingers of the other hand, the names of the numbers 11 through 16 are related to the toes on one foot, and the names of the numbers 16 to 20 are related to the toes on the other foot. In Celtic languages maintain remnants of this characteristic. In French and Latin, the words for 20 are clearly remnants of a vigesimal system in that they are distinct words not derived from words for "two-tens", which would occur in a purely base-10 system, and the way of expressing the number 80 is by couting by 20s and saying "four-twenties". In English, the way of couting by 20s was to use the word "score"; this method of couting was commonly used by Shakespeare and was still in use at the time of Abraham Lincoln, who opened his famous address at Gettysburg by saying "Four score and seven years ago..."
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