tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Jul 08 06:26:48 2002

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Re: Baseless (ahem) speculation about ternary counting

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 

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.

Andrew Strader

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