There are similarities in different words in languages. But the word for “2” is very similar in most of languages. Why this number is so special?

By: | Post date: 2016-09-11 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Other Languages

To build on Matthew McVeagh’s answer and comment:

Go to the renowned Zompist Numbers List.

Two and Three, *duwō and *treyes, are reasonably similar across Indo-European.

One gets conflated with Single/Same, *oynos / *sem, and ends up looking different.

Four and Five have a *kw, which went different ways in different languages, and get affected by analogy: *kwetwores *penkwe

More analogy kicks in with higher numbers, and they are less frequent to begin with as Matthew pointed out. (We have a long-standing suspicion that 7 is a loan from Akkadian, and 10 is somehow related to the word for fingers.) (EDIT: “two hands”.) But they’re still surprisingly consistent.

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