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Re: German words for "number"
Posted:
Feb 18, 1999 10:34 PM


In article <36CB8C36.DF4@uwec.edu>, Ted R Shoemaker (shoematr@uwec.edu) writes: >At least two words in the German language translate the English word >"number": Zahl and Nummer. Can someone please tell me what is the >distinction between them?
"Zahl" is used in more general, scientific or philosophical contexts
Zahlentheorie = number theory Der Zahlenbegriff = the concept of number rationale/irrationale Zahlen
"Anzahl" also means number in the sense of a certain quantity
Eine Anzahl Menschen = A number of people
but "Zahl" can also be used in this way
Eine grosse Zahl Besucher = a large number of visitors
"Nummer" is used for a particular numerical designation
Telefonnummer Zimmernummer = room number
Zimmerzahl if anything would mean the number of rooms.
By a strange coincidence, I've just been checking the documentation for an cash machine where
"Nummer der Einzugsbox" and "Anzahl der Einzugsboxen"
are used. The first refers to a number that is marked on the box and the second to the number of boxes into which notes are drawn.
I did not come across "Zahl der Einzugsboxen"
Lots of prefixes and suffixes can be added to "zahl" to form new words Bezahlung = payment, Anzahlung = down payment"
To number something is "numerieren"
Number in the sense of grammatical number is "Numerus"
A number in the sense of a digit is "Ziffer"
"Zahl" is related to the English "tale" which used to mean a number or a calculation. In German "erzaehlen" means to tell a story. In English a "teller" (Zaehler) is someone who counts votes.
Iain Davidson Tel : +44 1228 49944 4 Carliol Close Fax : +44 1228 810183 Carlisle Email : iain@stt.winuk.net England CA1 2QP



