Datapoint for feature 131A and language wals_code_fre

Discuss WALS Datapoint for feature 131A and language wals_code_fre.

3 Responses to “Datapoint for feature 131A and language wals_code_fre”

  1. miacomet Says:

    French is very clearly a hybrid system. Numbers from 60-79 are built by adding 0-19 to 60, and numbers from 80-99 are built similarly from 80, whose name is literally four-twenties. Because of the irregular forms used from 11-16 (and thus 71-76 and 91-96), this can’t be synchronically reanalyzed as base ten either, unlike, for example, the Danish system, which is marked as mixed, even though it is at its core a base ten system where several words for multiples of ten are historically derived from words relating to multiples of twenty.

    Overall I love WALS, but this is the fourth error I’ve found with French today. It makes me wonder what errors there might be on the pages for all the languages I’m not fluent in…

  2. Matthew Dryer Says:

    This is not an error. In the chapter, the author explicitly explains why he classifies French the way he does:
    http://wals.info/chapter/131.

  3. miacomet Says:

    @Matthew Dryer

    In the section, the author states that numbers from 80-99 are expressed vigesimally. In fact, in Metropolitan French numbers from 60-99 are expressed using a vigesimal system (for example, the word for 72 is soixante-douze which means “sixty-twelve”). When 40% of two digit numbers are represented using a vigesimal system, I think it is reasonable to consider it a mixed system.

    Danish on the other hand, although historically vigesimal, could now be analyzed as just having words for multiples of ten, some of which happen to derive from words meaning things like 3.5 times twenty.

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