tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Jul 08 08:49:16 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 

Why would it need a root for 3?  It doesn't have one for 10 in its current 
decimal system.  All it really needs is 1 and 2, and then markers to 
indicate powers of three.  In English, we use roots for those base markers, 
but Klingon does not (wa'maH, wa'vatlh, etc.)

1, 2, 3^1
3^1+1, 3^1+2, 3^2
3^2+1, 3^2+3, 3^3

I'm not saying that I agree with Mark's proposed system, I just think your 
argument is invalid; if Klingon gets by without separate roots for ten, 
hundred, etc. now, why couldn't it have done so equally well for three, 
nine, etc. under the ternary system?

Or, if you wish to argue that maH and vatlh are separate roots, and Klingons 
simply are explicit about there being 'one' of them where English speakers 
are not (or at least not always), then under Mark's system, {ej} was the 
root for three.

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