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5 posts tagged with numbers and language. (View popular tags)
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Why do some people write "1950ies", "1980ies", etc?

I would write "1950s" or "1980s", and this is universal among native English speakers, so far as I am aware. In international contexts, however, I sometimes observe that people whose English spelling is otherwise flawless will consistently write "1950ies" or "1980ies", which reads to me like it has an extra syllable. Where does this convention come from, and what linguistic background makes it sound like a reasonable way to contract these numbers? [more inside]
posted by Mars Saxman on Jun 19, 2014 - 11 answers

Where did numbers get their names?

Where did numbers get their names? I'm asking particularly of English, but I'm guessing the answer goes back pretty far linguistically.
posted by squaregear on Jan 16, 2012 - 19 answers

What is bigger than alot or a shitload?

My son asked me how many trees there are in the world. I know there are a finite number, yet I also know that it is not practical to count them. Same with grains of sand. When the set cannot be measured because it goes on forever we say the set is infinite. Is there a single word to express the concept of a countable, finite number too large to actually count? [more inside]
posted by JohnnyGunn on Nov 30, 2007 - 42 answers

The Various Workings of a Cube-Shaped Gallery

Imagine a cube-shaped building, with ten cube-shaped rooms along each side (10 rooms long, 10 high & 10 deep). Each cubular room has 4 walls, 1 ceiling and 1 floor. Each of the 6 interior surfaces in all 1000 cubular rooms is decorated with a different piece of art. The rooms can be moved around the building, as if it were an enormous Rubik's cube, but they can also be spun on their axes, so all 6 walls of all 1000 cubes is capable of touching all the others (if the cube is so arranged). How many combinations of art within the 'Cube Gallery' are possible? If you can run me through the workings of the maths I would be extra grateful. Also, what technical words/phrases/language are useful/interesting in expressing this concept? [more inside]
posted by 0bvious on Apr 24, 2007 - 25 answers

Billion. Trillion. What's twenty zero's?

I am looking for the word that describes a the number 9 with twenty zero's after it. I was able to determine that 9 with 18 zero's after it is quintillion and 9 with 21 zero's is sextillion but nothing for 9 with twenty zero's after it.
posted by tirebouchon on Jan 5, 2005 - 23 answers

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