Re: hexadecimal notation in non-Western languages

From: Antoine Leca (Antoine10646@leca-marti.org)
Date: Thu Feb 16 2006 - 04:12:46 CST

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    Kit Peters wrote:
    > Does anybody use hexadecimal, or other non-base-10, notation in
    > anything besides Western characters?

    Sinhalese is rumoured to have (to have had?) a base-20 numerical system;
    actual evidence of the usefulness of encoding it in 10646/Unicode was never
    presented AFAIK, however.

    Of course, it is well known that Babyloneans used various numerations, the
    most proeminently known being base-60 (with an inner articulation at 610).
    I do not know what is the state of the Cuneiform script(s), but I see in the
    pipeline a "Cuneiform Numbers" block (116 codepoints) that looks promising.

    Similarly, Mayan is well known to have complex numeration systems, using
    many bases (including 260 and 360) but NOT base 10 ;-). I expect any Mayan
    encoding to have separate codepoints for (at the very least) 19 digits.

    I do not have done an exhaustive survey (nor even open any bibliographic
    opus), but I would be VERY surprised to learn there are NO other invented
    systems with 20 digits ;-).

    Then, we have base 12 (obviously, they are not real <<digits>> any more).
    At the very least, I have seen mentions of it being used for Tengwar (nor
    sure if this counts as "Western"; at least, it was used also by those
    Sindars that do not cross the ocean ;-)).

    As far as I know, hexadecimal is a pretty recent "invention", of course
    dependent on computer technology and Boole algebra. This creates a high bias
    toward the current set of characters (from two scripts, which you
    collectively name as "Western", whatever this means).

    Antoine



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