French numbers are the unsuspected guardians of entire swathes of French history. Let me clarify. Long ago, when no-one had even created the word “Renaissance”, France was not a nation, however even more of a hotchpotch of warring tribes. These French tribes lived in their separate villages and also domain names, spoke their very own languages, had their very own numbers as well as from time to time participated in strong-arm tactics with their neighbors.
While these undisciplined factions were dealing with among themselves, different pressures were being organized from throughout the boundary.
There were the ancient romans. Undisciplined battling was tantamount to a deadly sin in their eyes. They had many things to art, including military organization, main federal government, cold and hot running water and also numbers. As they overwhelm the various French tribes and imposed the roman way of life, the numbers additionally took root.
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So the french numbers 1 100 “un, deux, trois, quatre …” (one, 2, 3, four …) and more in french today still birth a solid similarity to the latin “unus, duo, tres, quattuor …” made use of by the ancient romans.
However the old French only had time to discover the very first couple of numbers prior to they were overrun once again, this moment by the vikings that came entering from northern Europe. The vikings were not as technologically advanced as the romans. On the other hand they were not as decadent either. They additionally had an interesting feeling of creative thinking.
Rather than counting in 10s like everyone else, the vikings had determined to count in twenties. And half-twenties. Due to the fact that half of twenty is 10, right? Where the notion to count in twenties comes from is something of an enigma. Can we surmise that due to the fact that they were all fitted out with ten fingers as well as ten toes, this is what led them to press the checking envelope?
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Regardless, even in french today, eighty is not eighty as in latin. It is “4 times twenty” (“quatre-vingt”). Blame the vikings. Or at least blame 4 of them standing together with all fingers and also toes fully released, and also glowering at their beat french counterparts.
After that it stuck. As well as it spread out. Today in France, if you want to say ninety, you have to claim “four twenties as well as ten” (“quatre-vingt-dix”). Also seventy endured (“sixty plus ten”, that is “soixante-dix”). A weird state of affairs given the prominence of the latin roots in the french language, instead of the nordic impacts in various other languages such as english.
It just stays to say that in the french-speaking parts of Belgium as well as Switzerland, the “counting-by-twenties” technique was considered unconstitutional (definition silly).
In a great presentation of the “cartesian spirit” that french people claim for their very own, the belgians and the swiss in between them opted for “septante”, “octante” (“huitante” nowadays) and also “nonante” for seventy, eighty as well as ninety. A lot more in accordance with “septuaginta”, “octoginta” and also “nonaginta” in latin. Which in a feeling makes those belgian as well as swiss neighbours a lot more french words than the french.