5th European Conference on Speech Communication and Technology

Rhodes, Greece
September 22-25, 1997

"Four-and-Twenty, Twenty-Four". What's in a Number?

Knut Kvale (1), Arne Kjell Foldvik (2)

(1) Telenor Research and Development, Kjeller, Norway
(2) Dept. of Linguistics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Dragvoll, Norway

This paper investigates "what's in a number", i.e. how natural numbers are pronounced in several European languages. As regards reading numbers above 20, 29 languages read the decade first and then the digit, e.g. twenty-four, and 10 languages read the digit before the decade, e.g. four-and-twenty. Two languages, Norwegian and Czech, use both systems, and 9 languages use (partly) a vigesimal system. An analysis of the Norwegian part of the European SpeechDat database showed that reading the decade first is used more in formal than in non-formal (spontaneous) speech and that typographic layout of digits influenced the reading of them.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Kvale, Knut / Foldvik, Arne Kjell (1997): ""four-and-twenty, twenty-four". what's in a number?", In EUROSPEECH-1997, 729-732.