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eleven ... one elf
twelve ... two elves
thirteen ... three and ten
fourteen ... four and ten
fifteen ... five and ten
sixteen ... six and ten
however, given that 20, 21, 22 is twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two
it seems 11 ... 19 should be ten-one, ten-two, ten-three, ..., ten-nine
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One to twelve have special words because that's how a lot of things were counted in ye olde days. There's still hangovers from this in buying eggs and measuring things in inches ... almost everything discrete used to be measured in dozens. It might even predate the adoption of Arabic 10-based number writing, but I'm not sure about that.
And in fact we used to count the other number like in English like 'two and
twenty' 'three and twenty' etc (like in Dutch today, 'twee an twentig' etc
It’s the same in my language but our “and” is only one sound, not a whole syllable like in English which makes things easier. Other Slavic languages like the Russian use the same construction like the English i.e. “twenty three” instead of “twenty and three”.
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Actuallly, in this respect there is a vast difference. Dutch food is total sh*t. Seriously, utter crap.
My god, first time I went there I always asumed the UK was bottom of the leader board in cusine, but the Dutch! There ONLY propper dish is endives in cheese sauce! Everything else is just unhealthy fried meat: Gehakt balletjes, Bitter Ballen.
Having said that that is their national food, one of the best meals in my life was in a Dutch restaurant in Vlissingen., man alive it was good.
> However, it occurred to me that English is pretty strange too. Why seventeen instead of ten seven
You have that in German, too. Siebzehn instead of zehn sieben.
I theorize - and this is not founded by any research, etymology or even slight trace of knowledge beyond friday evening conjectures - that this format simplifies adding up two two-digit numbers in your head, because from the 100 position you may have a carry over.
Why only for two digits? It's the more common problem, everything above 73 was left to the big headed monks with pocket protectors and awkward stare anyway.
However, it occurred to me that English is pretty strange too. Why seventeen instead of ten seven (or perhaps tenty seven)?
i'm gonna go with: as often happens in English, frequently-used words are the most irregular because they are the oldest, and were created long before the rules we use today came about. there were probably rules in place when the names for common numbers were created, but we don't follow those rules any more, so the names seem odd.