# Re: Baseless (ahem) speculation about ternary counting

• From: Andrew Strader <[email protected]>
• Subject: Re: Baseless (ahem) speculation about ternary counting
• Date: Mon, 8 Jul 2002 11:12:21 +0000
• Organization: Decode

```Mark Reed wrote:
>wa'         =  1[3] = 1[10]
>cha'        =  2[3] = 2[10]
>wa'ej       = 10[3] = 3[10]

"Klingon originally had a ternary number system; that is, one
based on three. Counting proceeded as follows: 1, 2, 3; 3+1,
3+2, 3+3; 2*3+1, 2*3+2, 2*3+3; 3*3+1, 3*3+2,
3*3+3; and then it got complicated." (TKD 5.2)

As much as I like your current hypothesis, it's unlikely that "wa'ej" was
related to the notation for 3, given that the Klingon system needed to have
native roots for one, two, and three. If anything, "wa'ej" should have meant
4.

According to Okrand, Klingon had basic counting numerals thru 3. When they
converted to decimal, they probably just borrowed 4-8 from their music, and
nine from somewhere else, maybe from Hutlh because nine was lacking, or else
from Hu' because they wanted their number system to get up. :)

All this is pure, unbridled speculation. Or maybe Okrand has said more about
it, and I've missed out.

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