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Topic: German words for "number"
Replies: 25   Last Post: Feb 25, 1999 7:55 AM

 Messages: [ Previous | Next ]
 Iain Davidson Posts: 189 Registered: 12/6/04
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.win-uk.net
England
CA1 2QP

Date Subject Author
2/17/99 Ted R Shoemaker
2/17/99 Benjamin P. Carter
2/18/99 Helmut Richter
2/18/99 Ingrid Voigt
2/18/99 Helmut Zeisel
2/18/99 Dik T. Winter
2/18/99 Victor Eijkhout
2/18/99 Helmut Zeisel
2/18/99 David Seaman
2/19/99 Brian M. Scott
2/20/99 G. A. Edgar
2/20/99 Brian M. Scott
2/21/99 Paul Miller
2/21/99 Benjamin P. Carter
2/21/99 Robin Chapman
2/21/99 Jake Wildstrom
2/21/99 Steven Pigeon
2/21/99 Steve Leibel
2/22/99 Edward C. Hook
2/22/99 Ken.Pledger@vuw.ac.nz
2/25/99 Timothy Murphy
2/22/99 Keith Ellul
2/22/99 Keith Ramsay
2/18/99 Horst Kraemer
2/18/99 M. Doerfner
2/18/99 Iain Davidson