> Particularly interesting about them is that numbers seem to have > been associated with what they counted or measured. Thus in the earliest > versions of the abacus one could add (using the right tokens) two goats to > three goats to get five goats, but not two goats to five bushels of wheat. > The pure abstraction of number seems to have been a later development, > perhaps around the end of the third millennium BC > > A number of Asian languages require "units" or "measures" to be applied to the objects being counted. The most commonly quoted example is Chinese, but the feature also exists in Indonesian and elsewhere.
E.g. in Indonesian to say "three people" we can't have "tiga orang", as a literal translation might go; correct is "tiga orang orang", the 1st "orang" being the unit "people", the second the noun "people".