Bibbity-bee Bitey Bibbity-bee
April 22, 2015 5:12 AM   Subscribe

 
This is like the pool table in Game Center of language.
posted by oceanjesse at 5:18 AM on April 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Still less weird than French numerals.
posted by pseudocode at 5:18 AM on April 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


The French numerals in question actually make sense in base 20. It's surprisingly common, according to this Wikipedia page. English used to count in scores, which is still used on a few occasions...
posted by Spanner Nic at 5:33 AM on April 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Maaaan, I'm trying not to laugh out loud at my desk here, but the result is strangled noises and tears. Probably HR will approach me shortly about taking some time off...
posted by Harald74 at 5:55 AM on April 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Should be some exceptions for already pronouncable numbers. Which is easier, "dickety-e bitey atta-dee halfy bibbity-e bitey ebbity-eff" or "oh-ex deadbeef?"
posted by Foosnark at 6:07 AM on April 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


I thought the correct pronunciation of a hexadecimal number was "here is my Traveller character."
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:20 AM on April 22, 2015 [8 favorites]


Poul Anderson also did this, in his SF novel "Coming of the Quantum Cats". All I remember of the hexadecimal pronounciation system was someone saying that they'd be arriving in 'totter-pole' minutes...
posted by Mogur at 6:21 AM on April 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


DAF1 “dickety-A bitey fleventy-one”

Dee Ay Eff One works better for me. Four syllables instead of ten.

I also just don't like the extra tens sixteens words he has chosen; they are way too similar to each other or other numbers. "Bibbity" is particularly noxious and needs to change. The only decimal word with three syllables is seventy which doesn't have three instances of the same letter and two of the same vowel. And of his six additions to the canon tens, four have three syllables and one, ebbity, sounds exactly like bibbity without its first letter.
posted by localroger at 6:25 AM on April 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


I dunno. "One seven eight three" might work better than "seventeen eighty three" but I'd still expect to hear the latter said more often for a date. And the system he's extending is hardly renowned for clarity and ease of pronunciation etc.

OTOH he seems to have missed an opportunity to use "eleventy".
posted by merlynkline at 6:33 AM on April 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


I love this. I will never have any reason or occasion to use it, and that almost makes me love it more. How can we make mathematicians make this a Thing?

(insert Bibbity Bobbity Boo joke?)
posted by Mchelly at 6:38 AM on April 22, 2015


I like this. But (e.g.) 0x70 is not the same as 70 and shouldn't have the same name.

You might have more luck with something like:

0=zero, 1=one, 2=two, 3=three, 4=four, 5=five, 6=six, 7=seven, 8=eight, 9=nine, A=ay, B=bee, C=see, D=dee, E=ee, F=eff

and then

10=sen, 20=twensen, 30=thirsen, 40=forsen, 50=fifsen, 60=sixsen, 70=sevensen, 80=eightsen, 90=ninesen, A0=aysen, B0=beesen, C0=seesen, D0=deesen, E0=eesen, F0=effsen

and perhaps:

100=bytred
10000=wordion
posted by merlynkline at 7:02 AM on April 22, 2015 [16 favorites]


merlynkline's system is much better than the one in the OP.
posted by localroger at 7:12 AM on April 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


B=bee, C=see, D=dee, E=ee

They should be easier to distinguish when spoken aloud than this. I'd use something like the NATO phonetic alphabet.
posted by peeedro at 7:13 AM on April 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


For discussing code syntax out loud, I enjoy this system of pronouncing the punctuation.
posted by thefool at 7:14 AM on April 22, 2015 [2 favorites]




This is actually a special case of the hobby of "conlanging." Awhile back there was a piece (it was on the Blue) about the guy who made up all the languages for Game of Thrones and I remember him telling the interviewer that if you get interested in comparative language studies one day you'll try to make up your own, and it will always suck.

The OP fails for pretty much every reason first-time conlangers get it wrong. It's a very obvious first draft giving much more attention to sounding cool and slavishly using A, B, C, D, E, and F as the first letter of each new name than to details like how people actually talk.
posted by localroger at 7:32 AM on April 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Way to take a throwaway gag and completey drive it into the fucking ground.
posted by ReeMonster at 7:38 AM on April 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Why should it be a throwaway gag? It's a real number system.
posted by localroger at 7:59 AM on April 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


if you get interested in comparative language studies one day you'll try to make up your own, and it will always suck

Too true, and also said in my field, computer programming - witness PHP (et al). OTOH I see that as an argument for using A, B, C, D, E, and F as the first letter of each new name, and trying to keep the same sense as existing systems...

They should be easier to distinguish when spoken aloud than this. I'd use something like the NATO phonetic alphabet.

...and not worrying too much about that.

Way to take a throwaway gag and completey drive it into the fucking ground.

But this is good harmless fun too! (For some of us :/)
posted by merlynkline at 8:02 AM on April 22, 2015


previously, on Metafilter:
When I was in grad school I decided that I was going to do everything in hexadecimal - I invented a relatively elegant way of saying hex integers, memorised the relevant addition and multiplication matricies, and was all set to really piss everyone off. Sadly I was defeated because for the life of me I can't do scientific notation in hex without resorting to mechanical assistance so in the end I had to fall back to insisting on using SI units for everything including time.
What I did learn from that little adventure is that choice of base is a compromise between compactness of expression and the size of the multiplication table you need to rote-memorise in order to work easily with integers.
posted by overyield at 5:34 PM on June 27, 2013
Apparently they forgot their system though.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 8:03 AM on April 22, 2015


fleventy bitey eff that noise. Only bitty boxes use hex; octal is for Those Who Actually Get Things Done.

Wish I could find the Toothpaste for Dinner that described a 5+/-1 counting system. It could almost work ...
posted by scruss at 8:06 AM on April 22, 2015


Holy crap this is hilarious. Did none of you make a fool of yourself laughing like a maniac in your cubes? I'm reading out random hex strings in my head
posted by savitarka at 9:27 AM on April 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


in the end I had to fall back to insisting on using SI units for everything including time

Oh yeah! Hectoseconds for the win! I did that for a semester. It's easy as long as you're not fussed about precise conversions: a kilosecond is about 15 minutes, so there's about 4 of them in an hour, and thus a hundred kiloseconds is roughly a day (or so). A megasecond is a useful length of time, and so on and so forth. It made calculating acceleration trivially easy and everything else really hard and irritated people, so of course I loved it. (full disclosure: I was an asshole)

Not looking forward to the end of my second gigasecond, though, even though it is still hundreds of megaseconds away.
posted by Mogur at 9:41 AM on April 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Way to take a throwaway gag and completey drive it into the fucking ground.

on the internet this is called "humor".
posted by Ratio at 9:54 AM on April 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


Mogur: you have read Vinge, yes?
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:04 AM on April 22, 2015


0xDEADBEEF
posted by clvrmnky at 10:18 AM on April 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I like to pretend that the Guided By Voices album Bee Thousand actually refers to a number in hexadecimal.
posted by dfan at 10:42 AM on April 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


ReeMonster: "Way to take a throwaway gag and completey drive it into the fucking ground."

It's technically called Shouts & Murmurs Syndrome.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:01 AM on April 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


B=bee, C=see, D=dee, E=ee

They should be easier to distinguish when spoken aloud than this.


Well, we've already got words for these. A, for example, is known as "ten". So A0 can be "tensen" or whatever without trouble. (I'd actually go for "tensy" or the like, ten : -ty :: sixteen : ____)

But digit names like "thirteen" still betray a decimal composition, which we might want to erase. This was the objection of my friend Steve Hansen-Smythe, and he's proposed some names to overcome it — A "ten" and B "eleven" can stay; the composites he gives portmanteau names from their factorization, so C "twix", E "tweven", F "thrive"; and D he calls "bake", from "baker's dozen".
posted by finka at 11:23 AM on April 22, 2015


On Metafilter this is called a plate of beans.
posted by ryoshu at 12:38 PM on April 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd go with a contracted phonetic alphabet, optionally paired in bytes. Explicitly ban reading "0x10" as "ten"; it's "hex one-oh".
"Oh, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, alf, brav, char, del, ek, fox."

0xDEADBEEF = "hex del-ek alf-del brav-ek ek-fox"

One-seven plus nine-alf equals brav-one.

(I am already thinking ways of expanding on this, but that's my proposal for a baseline.)
posted by NMcCoy at 1:12 PM on April 22, 2015


merlynkline's system is much better than the one in the OP.

It is, but it's not as fun. As an excuse to say silly things in serious settings, the sheer amount of fun the article's system provides is enough that I think this stands a chance of actual adoption. Never underestimate the power of nuclear whimsy.

Besides the fact that it allows confusing non-lettered hexadecimal numbers with decimal numbers, another problem is that so many ten's digit number names end with a long 'e' sound, producing confusion when the one's digit is E. So, one ends up having to emphasize the E to distinguish it: "seventy-ee" as opposed to "seventy," which provides opportunities for confusion when speaking quickly or listening carelessly.
posted by JHarris at 1:20 PM on April 22, 2015


and D he calls "bake", from "baker's dozen"

Now this is how you invent new words.
posted by localroger at 1:42 PM on April 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


I am reminded of Malcolm Gladwell's assertion that Asian children are better at math because the numbers are shorter.
Perhaps that explains the accuracy of x'9' * x'F' = x'F5'
posted by MtDewd at 2:33 PM on April 22, 2015


This plate of beans was especially delicious to me because I am engaged in my own micro-conlanging project which requires me to coin about 40 new words to express certain concepts for a fictional religion. In the context of pagan religions words have power, and most of the words these people would be forced to use are either clinical or loaded with baggage or trivilializing.

For reasons that aren't important here I decided to draw as much of the Mo Cura as possible from Haitian Kreyol, avoiding the obvious French and English cognates and running back to Latin and French only when absolutely necessary.

One example of something that almost worked was the word for a church-like space, which I decided to draw from the Kreyol kote which means "place." Since the pronunciation is ko-tay I respelled it so that English speakers would see it and pronounce it right. Perfectly good word, it should have been, but it took writing a few paragraphs of actual dialog to realize that nobody talks like that and the more I heard it in my head the more it sounded like the brand name of a hygiene product. So I broke with canon and repronounced it kota and there it stands, it's even the name of my Chromecast.

Another example is the word I coined for bondage restraints, as in the chains part of whips and chains. All of the remotely relevant Kreyol, French, and Latin words were either dreadful or obvious. After much reflection I retreated to the Latin and coined what remains one of my favorite of the Mo, amplecta. What do you think of my collection of amplecta? That certainly sounds more dignified than "toys." Amplecta is the Latin word for embrace.

The whips part of whips and chains are zouta which is a minor modification of the perfectly good Kreyol word for "tools." As with Kota though it took about a month to realize that the original zouti with that zout-ee final vowel just didn't sound right. People don't talk that way.

I am not a linguist but I took this lesson from the GoT conlanger that languages grow organically by natural patterns of use, damn the rules. This is why I'm so WTF about the OP; I've spent months making the Mo sound natural and it takes about fifteen seconds to realize that nobody is ever going to use those multi-syllable monstrosities that all sound alike. (Note that not only does only one of the canon decimal digit names have two syllables, no two of them use the same vowel sound. This is a natural development considering the importance of not confusing them).

And this is why I find bake for 0xD so delightful. That is a word that people will both remember and use.
posted by localroger at 4:03 PM on April 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


FWIW, there is a long-established typography and pronunciation for dozenals, established first by William Dwiggins in the '40s: the digit corresponding to decimal 10 is χ, pronounced "dek", and the digit correspondig to decimal 11 is ε, pronounced "el". Place value is done with "do" (for dozen), "gro" (for gross), "mo" (for megagross), and thereafter "bimo" (for a megagross of megagross), "trimo" (a megagross of bimos), and so forth.

So we're in the year 11εε, pronounced one mo, one gro, eldo-el (or perhaps do-one gro, eldo el, if you want to emphasise the fact that we're nearing the end of the do-first grossyear).

An astonishing amount of data (including a painstakingly detailed list of proposed symbols for transdecimals in both base 12 and base 16) is here.
posted by jackbishop at 4:39 PM on April 22, 2015


DAF1 “dickety-A bitey fleventy-one”

Dee Ay Eff One works better for me. Four syllables instead of ten.


"Surmount vacancy" if you really want to be confusing, but not mishearable.
posted by ctmf at 9:12 AM on April 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Mogur: you have read Vinge, yes?
- Mars Saxman -


Yep. :) I'm pretty sure that's where I saw the SI time in the first place. Can't remember the name of the story itself, but it'd would have been in the 80's.
posted by Mogur at 11:59 AM on April 23, 2015


I got it. We can eliminate confusion with non-decimal numbers by using a different suffix for sixteens-place values. I suggest using 'xe' instead of 'ty' as the suffix, as a reference to the "0x" coding convention for declaring hexadecimal values and also because x is underused in English and a fun letter to say.

10's place: Twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty, ninety.
16's place: Twexe ("tweks"), thirxe ("thirks"), forxe ("forks"), fixe ("fix"), seex ("seeks"), sevexe ("sev-ekse"), eighxe ("aches") and ninxe ("ninks").

A-F I will leave as an exercise for the reader, seeing as how they aren't necessary.
posted by JHarris at 2:00 PM on April 23, 2015


> An astonishing amount of data

Dozenal advocates make me happy by reminding me that there are people out there who waste their time on far more trivial things than I do.
posted by scruss at 6:50 AM on April 27, 2015


(oh, and I found the Toothpaste for Dinner cartoon that I wish I could have found upthread: new numbers.)
posted by scruss at 8:41 AM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


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