From: N. Ganesan (email@example.com)
Date: Wed Apr 06 2005 - 20:06:49 CST
Ken Whistler's reply to Phillip
on Malayalam zero made me look
into some books.
Georges Ifrah, The universal history
of Numbers from prehistory to the
invention of the computer,
John Wiley, 2000. This book is a classic.
Pages 356-510 deal with Indian numbers.
Page 373 is on Malayalam numbers,
These figures are used by the Dravidian
people of Kerala state, on the ancient
coast of Malabar, in the southwest of
India. They have the same name as the
form of writing used in the area.
Like the Tamils, the people of Kerala
did not use zero in their notation
system for many centuries: Malayalam
figures are not based on the place-value
system, and there are specific figures
for 10, 100 and 1,000. It was only since
the middle of the nineteenth century, under
the influence of Europe, that zero was
introduced and combined with the symbols
for the nine units according to the
Thus the Tamil and Malayalam figures were
the only ones in India that did not include
zero and were not based on the positional
principle relatively recently.
So, the question that the Malayalam digit
Zero glyph is in error remains. I quite
doubt in about 150 years or less, the
zero's glyph has innovated to such a degree.
Usage samples of 1 and 1/2 can be
looked into. Also, is not zero (0)
used in Malayalam? Is it the major use?
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Apr 06 2005 - 20:08:50 CST