© 2018 by Sinéad  Quirke Køngerskov

'Four score and seven years ago': learning the Danish counting system

February 9, 2016

I came across this on a friend’s Facebook wall – and laughed (mind you, the Danish one is not completely correct).

 

 

 

When I started learning Danish, I could not figure out the counting system at all! But then two things happened:

 

I asked my husband about it – turns out he’s one of the few Danes I know, who can actually explain the Danish counting system and knows the full names of all the numbers – cos it ain’t just syvoghalvfems (7 and half fifth); it’s syvoghalvfemsindstyvende (7 and half-fifth-times-twenty)!

 

And secondly, I was doing an English lesson, ironically enough, about the English language, and I was using the Gettysburg address: ‘Four score and seven years ago’ – a light bulb moment: English had a similar vigesimal system of counting based on twenty, but it changed to a 10-based (decimal) system.

 

Interestingly, though Danish never officially changed to a decimal system – it has a decimal system, which it uses for some banking transactions: femti (50), seksti (60), syvti (70), otti (80), niti (90). This system is almost identical to the Swedish and Norwegian counting systems.

 

By the way, the full numbers are:

 

10. Tiende

20. Tyvende

30. Tredivte

40. Fyrretyvende

50. Halvtredsindstyvende

60. Tresindstyvende

70. Halvfjerdsindstyvende

80. Firsindstyvende

90. Halvfemsindstyvende

 

Happy counting!

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Please reload

Please reload

Archive

March 13, 2017

Please reload

Recent Posts