Math Naming System Simplified
Here we go. Pronounce the names as written.
1 = Poh
2 = Toh
3 = Rih
4 = Foh
5 = Fih
6 = Sih
7 = Seh
8 = Tih
9 = Nih
10 = Teh
0 = Noh
= = Kih
+ = Dah
- = Suh
/ = Dih
* = Muh
Construct words and sentences from those names to express numbers and equations.
1987 = Poh Nih Tih Seh = poh nitiseh or ponih tiseh = one thousand nine hundred eighty seven or nineteen eighty seven
2012 = Toh Noh Poh Toh = toh nopotoh or tomih potoh = two thousand twelve, or toteh potoh for twenty twelve
2012 - 1987 = 25
tonopotoh suh ponitiseh kih tofih = 5 words / 12 syllables / 29 letters
two thousand twelve minus nineteen eighty seven equals twenty five = 9 words / 19 syllables / 57 letters
In this simplified math naming system, all numbers and the five basic functions are named with a single syllable from combinations of one consonant and one vowel, ending with an H to emphasize the vowel pronunciation. It uses the 26 letters alphabet. The words can be pronounced in any language as long as the convention is followed with regard to pronunciation. In effect, this makes written and spoken math a universal language. It's simplified by virtue of having as few words and syllables for any given number and equation. To eliminate the need for conjugation when explaining certain math expressions in spoken language (i.e. the multiplier of, divided by, etc), all math expressions become statements one merely recites from one end to the other. In essence, it simplifies even the conceptualization of math.
10 = Teh
100 = Tah
1,000 = Mih
1,000,000 = Mah
1,000,000,000 = Bih
Two thousand becomes tomih. Five hundred becomes fitah. The convention for non-exponent numbers requires full naming of all digits so that 2,731 becomes toh seripoh or toseh ripoh. 507 becomes finoseh or fitaseh. It keeps conventional 3-digit comma-separation so that long numbers become sentences of 3-syllable words. Like so: 2,765,394 = Two million seven hundred sixty five thousand three hundred ninety four, becomes toh sesifih rinifoh.
Examples of every day usage.
When a teacher asks "what's twenty multiplied by twenty five", he asks instead "what's tonoh (or toteh) muh tofih". And the student answers "fitah" instead of "five hundred".
When a customer asks "how much", he still asks "how much", but now the shop keeper answers "ponih nifih" instead of "nineteen ninety five".
Contractions are used for exponents. One hundred thousand becomes tamih. Seven hundred thousand becomes setamih. Twelve million becomes potomah. Fifty nine million six hundred thirteen becomes finimah siporih. These are silent contractions of the Muh and Dah functions proper when writing out at-length all the numbers and functions. Tamih for tah muh mih. Setamih for seh muh tah muh mih. Finimah siporih for finih muh mah dah siporih. The Suh and Dih functions must be explicit to distinguish them from the Muh and Dah contractions. Negative exponents can be written as the contraction MuSuXX where XX is the number to be multiplied, followed by the exponent. Ten to-the minus nine (10 exp -9) becomes musuteh nih. Or the number to be multiplied, followed by the negative exponent function musuh, the the exponent. Teh musuh nih. Positive exponents are expressed muXX where XX is the number to be multiplied, followed by the exponent. Mutoh teh (2 exp 10), murih rih (3 exp 3). Or like the negative exponent expression, the number to be multiplied, followed by the positive exponent function mudah, followed by the exponent. Toh mudah teh. The "square root" is expressed "dimuh" preceded by the number (XX dimuh) so that the full solution becomes (ex. 9 sr = 3) "nih dimuh kih rih" instead of "the square root of nine is three".
This number and digit naming system borrows from the Chinese naming system where digits have single-syllable names. But here it's even more simplified by eliminating inflections like ing, ai, ian, iu, for the basic digits and functions. It also eliminates the tone requirement so that it can be adapted to all languages and all moods without losing its precision. All names have only one consonant and one vowel. It uses the 26 letters alphabet so that there's ample reserve for more complex functions and symbols to simplify advanced math and physics as well. And if that's not enough, we can then begin to use inflections and combinations of vowels and consonants to get things like chi, phi, kra, tiu, puy, zian, further expanding the number of possible names while keeping everything as simple as possible.
I thought of this after I read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. He explained that the Chinese are typically better at math not because they understand math better, but because their naming system makes math easier to learn and use. In other words, the tools the Chinese use for math is more ergonomic - it fits our brain better - than say the English or French systems for example. For students who find it hard to learn math, this could help them by making it easier and simpler to learn, remember, and finally use math. By shortening the words used when written at length, it would lighten the weight and length of math works, both in digit and word forms. Writing checks has never been simpler. Essentially, it compresses the spoken and thought math language to its simplest form possible down to the lowest inherent limits of our spoken language, yet keeping each name unique.
It borrows from the Roman numerals system too. Standard exponents have their own names. They are multiplied by preceding digits in contractions.
The numerical and symbolic expressions can still use the current system. However, the naming of those digits, numbers and symbols is simplified so that when spoken and thought, everything becomes shorter, simpler and easier to express verbally and in thought. For example, "square root of" is now "dimuh", "equals, equals to" is now "kih", "multiplied by, times" is now "muh", "exponent (minus) XX" or "to-the-(minus)-XX" is now "muXX" or "musuXX", etc.
I'm not saying that the words I used here should be the final version of this simplified naming system. This is just a rough outline of the basic idea. It needs to be refined, I'm sure. For example, in its final form, it could shed the H at the end since I only use it here to emphasize the pronunciation of the vowels. Advanced functions should get their own names or we'll get into trouble when trying a simple multiplication teh muh suteh (10 * -10), but get an exponent instead teh musuh teh (10 exp -10). In the end, this will make the naming of digits and numbers only slightly longer than writing out the digits and numbers themselves. So instead of using long and complicated names like "thousand" to describe "1,000", we now use "mi".
To put things in perspective, write a hypothetical check for your rent with the words we use now, then write it again but use this simplified naming system and compare.
Finally, phone numbers become 2 words / 7 syllables / 14 letters. Area code for Montreal becomes 1 word instead of 3, fipofo instead of five one four.
What say you?
20:13 2012-11-08 Copyright 2012 (tomi poto) Martin Levac