How to Count in Barsoomian


As the fans of John Carter settle into what will inevitably be a long struggle to win their battle for a sequel, we will begin drilling down into some of the esoterica of Barsoomiana.  Today’s offering: how to count in Barsoomian.

First, the numerals.  This is based on the original ERB books, as developed by Paul Frommer for Disney’s John Carter.

Next, the rules:

  • The digits that have been given are: ay [1], tor [4], ov [7], and bar [8].
  • The tens are formed by suffixing the multiplier unit with the word for ten (tee), except for ten itself: tee [10], tortee[40], ovtee [70], and bartee [80].
  • The compound numbers are formed by stating the ten, then the unit with no space (e.g.: teeay [11], torteetor [44],barteeov [87]).
  • The hundreds are formed by prefixing the word for hundred (tan) with the multiplier digit, with no space, except for one hundred itself: tan [100], tortan [400], ovtan [700], and bartan [800].
  • The thousands are litteraly tens of hundreds, hence formed by prefixing the word for hundred (tan) with the multiplier number, with no space: teetan (although another form, dar, is also possible) [1,000], teeaytan [1,100], teetortan[1,400], teeovtan [1,700], teebartan [1,800]. However, ten thousand is mak [10,000].
  • One million is dur.

For more, go to Language and Numbers: How to Count in Barsoomian


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