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    Re: language and spatio-temporal orientation
    From: Peter Fogg
    Date: 2010 Jul 27, 07:43 +1000
    Marcel Tschudin wrote:
    It's not only the names between 80 and 90 but also those between 70
    and 79 in France 79 would be 60+19 in Switzerland and possibly also
    some other French speaking parts (Belgium?) it would correspond to 79.
    In proper French their are no names for 70, 80 and 90. In some French
    speaking parts they have at least names for 70 and 90.

    But why?   This appears to be a regression, in that as late as the early twentieth century in France the simpler form was favoured, although modern French has gone (what seems to me to be) backwards in using, when speaking, the more convoluted form, while linguistic satellites like the relevant parts of Switzerland and Belgium, and Canada too have declined to follow (well, why would they?).

    I have personal evidence of this.  My wife tells me that her grandfather, born in the late nineteenth century and never educated beyond a primary-school level, always referred to nonante and never said quatre-vingt-dix as everyone else did, and as my wife was taught in school.

    She thought it was quaint and old fashioned, part of the old chap's charm, but it appears to me to be quite the other way around.  I've been consulting the modern oracle and have learned much about how these words for French numbers may have originated, but nothing about why France changed these spoken numbers in what seems like such an illogical way.




       
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