POLL: Why isn't the number 11 pronounced onety one?

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  • 8 years ago

    For starters, there is no "onety" because it all BEGAN with a counting system based on "ten". The terms "twenty", "thirty" etc. are derived from compound words meaning "two tens", "three tens", etc. There was hardly a need to begin with a term meaning "one ten" when we already had the simple word "ten".

    The question then is why we have this odd system from eleven to nineteen. Actually, thirteen to nineteen aren't so odd, since they simply mean "three and ten", "four and teen", etc. The order may be different from "twenty three", but the principle is the same.

    So, what of "eleven" and "twelve"? The first part isn't too hard. "Eleven" goes back to Middle English "en-leven", whose first syllable is a relative of "an/ane" meaning "one", and the "tw-" of "twelve" gives away its connection to "two". So we can sort of see that these two have something to do with the system of counting by ten. In fact, the original meaning of these two words was "one left" and "two left" (after counting to ten).

    As for why "eleven" and "twelve" did not end up simply conforming to the "teen" pattern. Simple -- these were COMMON, well-established forms. And ordinarily in ANY language, it is precisely the common, everyday words that are LEAST likely to submit to "rules". (That's why the "irregular" past tense verb forms -- had, were, went, etc-- and irregular plural forms --men, mice, geese-- are almost always found with simple, common words.)

    Of course, there were some alternative forms out there. We still use an alternative word for twelve -- "do-zen" itself shows us that (compare German "zehn")-- though it has gained its own special use (for a GROUPING of twelve). In fact, the fact that many things were divided into units of twelve also helps explain why eleven and twelve were treated differently.

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    There is this a thing called a "Councillor", not a "Councky I Lor" I think you need to see him.

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    most people are not two years old any more

  • 8 years ago

    Good Point, makes sense :)

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  • Juan
    Lv 5
    8 years ago

    Just hear yourself....thats why

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