**From:** Marco Cimarosti

**Message:** 1358

**Date:** 2003-03-28

Nicholas Bodley wrote:

These presentation conventions are more linked to the language than to the

geographical location.

Moreover, the symbol used for separating the decimal part of the number is

often dependent on what is being counted. The generic dot (or comma) it is

often substituted with a symbol for the relevant unit of measure (e.g., "m"

for "meter" or "$" for "dollar").

the "scale" of the number), the so-called "grouping separator" only has the

linguistic purpose of making it easier to translate of written number into

linguistic units, so it is even more strictly connected to language.

Most Western languages group digits in group of *three* because their basic

lexemes to express numbers represent powers of 10 where the power is a

multiple of *three*: "thousand" = 1000 = 10^3; "million" = 1000000 = 10^6;

"billion" = 1000000000 = 10^9, etc.

E.g., Americans write 12345678901 as "12,345,678,901" because, in American

English, the number corresponds to this phrase:

"Twelve (12) billions

three hundred forty-five (345) millions

six hundred seventy-eight (678) thousand

nine hundred and one (901)"

Languages using different lexemes use correspondingly different groupings.

E.g., Indian languages (including Indian English) use:

"thousand" = 1,000 = 10^3; "lakh" = 10000000 = 10^7; "crore" = 10000000000 =

10^10, etc.

Consequently, Indians write 12345678901 as "1234,5678,901" because, in

Indian English, the number corresponds to this phrase:

"One thousands two hundreds thirty-four (1234) crores

five thousands six hundreds seventy-eight (5678) lakhs

nine hundreds and one (901)"

just a sort shorthand for a particular kind of phrases that it would be too

fatiguing to spell out in letters.

_ Marco

> Europe would show [decimal 1/4] as [0,25] ; the USA, as [0.25].This is not exact. English-speaking European countries use the dot as well.

These presentation conventions are more linked to the language than to the

geographical location.

Moreover, the symbol used for separating the decimal part of the number is

often dependent on what is being counted. The generic dot (or comma) it is

often substituted with a symbol for the relevant unit of measure (e.g., "m"

for "meter" or "$" for "dollar").

> I understand that India subdivided large integers into groupsWhile the decimal separator has a mathematical significance (it establishes

> of four, but I think we've discussed that briefly, already.

the "scale" of the number), the so-called "grouping separator" only has the

linguistic purpose of making it easier to translate of written number into

linguistic units, so it is even more strictly connected to language.

Most Western languages group digits in group of *three* because their basic

lexemes to express numbers represent powers of 10 where the power is a

multiple of *three*: "thousand" = 1000 = 10^3; "million" = 1000000 = 10^6;

"billion" = 1000000000 = 10^9, etc.

E.g., Americans write 12345678901 as "12,345,678,901" because, in American

English, the number corresponds to this phrase:

"Twelve (12) billions

three hundred forty-five (345) millions

six hundred seventy-eight (678) thousand

nine hundred and one (901)"

Languages using different lexemes use correspondingly different groupings.

E.g., Indian languages (including Indian English) use:

"thousand" = 1,000 = 10^3; "lakh" = 10000000 = 10^7; "crore" = 10000000000 =

10^10, etc.

Consequently, Indians write 12345678901 as "1234,5678,901" because, in

Indian English, the number corresponds to this phrase:

"One thousands two hundreds thirty-four (1234) crores

five thousands six hundreds seventy-eight (5678) lakhs

nine hundreds and one (901)"

> Topic for another time: Mathematical notation is often akin to slang!Numbers written grouping digits are hardly mathematical notation: they are a

just a sort shorthand for a particular kind of phrases that it would be too

fatiguing to spell out in letters.

_ Marco