Counting Sheep the Traditional Way
Date: 10/13/2003 at 13:50:42 From: Brittany Subject: Old English math I'm doing an ancient civilizations project in algebra and I have to do mine on the Old English civilization (from about 400 to 1200 AD), but I'm having trouble finding information.
Date: 10/13/2003 at 14:50:08 From: Doctor Edwin Subject: Re: Old English math Hi, Brittany. I did a few Google searches for things like "ancient British" and "numeral" and things like that. One thing that I found, Weights, Money and Other Measures Used by Our Ancestors http://www.rootsweb.com/~wiilbig/RevFiles/v3n2r2.htm is a reference to a book that sounds like it would have what you need: Weights, Money and Other Measures Used by Our Ancestors by Colin R. Chapman. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 1995. USA edition 1996. Apparently, the ancient British counting system was still in use for counting sheep even up until about the Second World War. Take a look at this website: Counting Sheep: The Traditional Way http://www.slaidburn.org.uk/counting_sheep.htm It has tables that show the sheep counting system that was in use in various parts of Britain. It seems from the text that the British system didn't have any numbers above 20 (1 score). Instead, they would count scores, so 100 would be 5 score. Also, the counting system varies a LOT among different regions. And (in some regions more than others), the counting is somewhat based on 5. For an extreme example, in Weardale, 1 is "yan", 5 is "tic", 6 is "yanatic", 10 is "bub", 11 is "yanabub", and 16 is "yanaticabub" and so on. Definitely look at the charts. I'm really glad you asked this question, because I had never heard of this. I think it's fascinating that this method of counting survived for many hundreds of years, and only for counting sheep. - Doctor Edwin, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
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