Числительные на английском языке. Numerals

Nowadays there exist two systems of numeration: the Roman’s numerals based on the counting and widely used the Arabic numerals founded on the angles presented in each number:

The origin of our modern decimal or base 10-number system can be traced to ancient Egyptian, Babylonian (Sumerian) and Chinese roots.

Base 60- number system also goes back to the Babylon of ancient times.
The traces of it can be found in dividing an hour and a degree (градус) into 60 minutes and in a minute – into 60 seconds.
In the ancient Rus the numbers were represented by letters from Slav alphabet, simple letters being used for small numbers (А – 1; В – 2 etc) and the letters with special signs (titles) above were used for greater quantitives:

Since the Dark Ages Roman’s numerals were used in Europe and Russia for counting decimal digits: I — 1, X — 10, C — 100, M — 1000 and their halves: V — 5, L — 50, D — 500.

Since the 9th century AD alphabetic letters also served (and serve now) in mathematics as numerals, Latin and Greek letters being most frequently used.
Latin and Greek letters in mathematics are the same in different languages as international signs, but they are read differently in different languages.
If they are used in English they must be read as the English people used to read them.
In Russian these letters are pronounced as in Latin, but in English they have their English pronunciation because of the similarity of English and Latin alphabets. So in Russian a is [a], but in

Greek alphabet

 ! «  alpha  [' жl f " ]  альфа
 # $  beta  [' b e I t d , 'bi: td]  бета
 ’ (  gamma  [' gж md ]  гама
) *  delta  ['d e l t d ]   дельта
 + g  epsilon   ['ep 's " Ildn]  эпсилон
 - .  dzeta  [' z e I t d , zi: td]   дзета
 / 0  eta  [' e I t d , ' i: t d ]  эта
 1 h  theta  [' › e I t d , ' › i : t d ]  тэта
 3 4  jota  [" I ' outd]  йота
 5 6  kappa  [k ж p d ]  каппа
 7 8  lambda  [lжmd d ]  ламбда
 9 :  mu  [mju:]  ми, мю
 ; <  nu  [nju:]  ни, ню
 = >  xi  [ksi : ]  кси
? @  omicron  [ou ' m" I k r d n ]  омикрон
 A B  pi [pI]  пи
 C D  rho  [rou]  ро
 E F  sigma  [' s I g md]  сигма
 I J  tau  [t" u ]  тау
 K L  upsilon  [ju: p' s" I l on]  ипсилон
 M N  phi  [fi:]  фи
 O P  chi  [hi:]  хи
 Q R  psi  [psi:]  пси
 S T  omega  [ou ' mi: g d ]  омега

 

Binary number system is used now in some electronic computers, every number being expressed by means of two digits – 0 and 1.

Concerning English units of measurements it should be said that it stands aside from International Metric System. The International decimal system of measures (Metric System) is based on the metre and kilogramme. Thus, distance
and length are usually measured in millimetres, centimetres, metres, kilometres; mass is measured in gramms, kilogrammes, centners and tons.

This Metric System (metre – kilogramme – second – MKS) was proposed by France and was accepted universally in science by many countries. Its main advantage is the decimal nature, i. e. all metric units can be divided into 10,
100, 1000 etc. parts. And that is why all fracional measures may be expressed as decimals and they are certain to be manipulated much easier in mathematics.

The English System of measurements is much more complicated notwithstaning the fact of accepting International Metric (decimal) System some twenty years ago. Up till now the English System uses: foot, yard, and mile as units of distance and length; ounce, pound and ton as units of weights and force.

This system is called Foot-Pound-Second (F.P.S.) and it is used in Great Britain and the United States of America. But still the units of measurements in England and USA are not always quite the same. For instance, British units include:
barleycorn (8.47 mm), line (2.12 mm), skein (109.7 m), rope (6.096 m), fathom (1.8 m), ell (1.14 m), pace (1.14 m) etc. and the American system of measures has not got them.

The numeral meaning of one and the same unit may be different: in Britain a cable’s length – 219 metres, while in the USA it is 183 metres. The same difference may be found in other units of measurement. So it is necessary to look up the numerical meanings of units in the English-Russian Polytechical Dictionary to distinguish between British and American measures.

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