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Why Goblins Suck at Math
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numbering system for goblinkin
This public article was written by [Deactivated User], and last updated on 7 May 2020, 10:26.

[comments] Goblin numbers are, to most other races, backwards and confusing to understand. There is no such thing as ‘equal' in the goblin mindset; there are several ways to construct goblin numbers. The first person singular derives from the number one, go. Similarly, the 2nd person indefinite singular drives from the number two, mu. In a technical sense, the number two can also be expressed goko, though a goblin will question your intelligence. The beauty of goblin numbers comes when self-referencing, where a go or ko places the self in the proper place within a group- e.g. a group of three where you are the leader is enumerated gomu. Note in this case, being first or last is typically more important than being in the middle somewhere.

The basis of goblin numbering is agglutinative, with seven distinct rules:

1. Two go(1+1) is read mu(2), not *goko.
2. A mu and go(2+1) is read ba(3), not *muko.
3. Two mu(2+2) is read vu(4), not *momu.
4. Two ba(3+3) is read fa(6), not *bapa.
5. If the construction is three or more syllables long, the first vowel promotes u<o<a.
6. If the construction is three or more syllables long, the second vowel is lost.
7. If after rule 6 the construction is still three or more syllables long, the construction is not used.

Note the second syllable mutation g→k, b→p (and lack of mutation m, v, f).

The bolded version is considered the most 'simple' form.
1 go (1)
2 mu (2)
3 gomu (1+2), ba (2+1)
4 gopa (1+3), vu (2+2), bako (3+1), mu məl (two twos)
5 govu (1+(2+2)), gapgo (1+3+1), mupa (2+3), vuko ((2+2)+1), bamu (3+2)
6 gamba (1+2+3), gavgo (1+(2+2)+1), gapmu (1+3+2), vumu ((2+2)+2), mopgo (2+3+1), bakmu (3+1+2), fa (3+3), mu fəl (two threes), fa məl (three twos)
7 gofa (1+3+3), gavmu (1+(2+2)+2), mopmu (2+3+2), vokmu ((2+2)+1+2), vupa ((2+2)+3), bakba (3+1+3), bavu (3+(2+2)), fako ((3+3)+1), lu (7), wægo (great one)

Numbers higher than 7 are possible, but increasingly complex. There is a multiplication particle, -əl, that indicates at least a rudimentary understanding of mathematics.

8 lu paku go (seven and one), mu vəl (two fours), etc.
9 lu paku mu (seven and two), ba bəl (three threes), etc.
10 ba bəl paku go (three threes and one), mu vəl paku mu (two fours and two), etc.
11 ba bəl paku mu (three threes and two)
12 mu fəl (two sixes), ba vəl (three fours), vu bəl (four threes)
13 ba vəl paku go (three fours and one), bænd (from band or group)
14 mu ləl (two sevens)
15 ba govəl (three fives)
16 vu vəl (four fours)
17 vu vəl paku go (four fours and one)
18 ba fəl (three sixes), mu ləl paku vu (two sevens and four)
19 wæmu (great two)
20 wæmu paku go (great two and one), mu govul (four fives)
37 wæba (great three)
61 wævu (great four)
91 wægovu (great five)
127 wæfa (great six)
169 wælu (great seven)
217 wæægo (very great one)

Wait, what? Why???
Why do goblins have such a convoluted scheme, seemingly without reason? Draw your own conclusions, but the answer can be perhaps hinted at by this random picture:

Typically, only the simplest constructions are used in ordinals. They are suffixed with -hɪdk and most often used as adjectives.
gohɪdk first, primary
muhɪdk second, secondary
bahɪdk third, tertiary
vuhɪdk fourth, more than three. There is little call for ordinals above this, and vuhɪdk can also mean ‘and the rest’. When it is necessary:
govuhɪdk fifth
fahɪdk sixth
luhɪdk seventh

The more intricate constructions can be useful to define within a group- with go meaning the self, for example:
gomuhɪdk’ gab means ‘I am the first of these three’

One of the nice things about -hɪdk is that it can be suffixed to other words. For example, barhɪdk gab would place a goblin in the ‘hunter’ band and place him above a keŋhɪdk gab or ‘cook’ band.

One suffixes -p’ to the numerator (of) and -ld to the denominator to make a fraction. This derives from the Locative verb ‘to disassemble or divide’, -dul. The lack of a numerator assumes a gop’.
muld one half
gop’ muld one half
bap’ govuld two fifths
gop’ mopgold one part of an unequally divided thing (2+3+1). Note here that gop’ refers to the smallest part. The other parts would be called mup’ mopgold (2+3+1) and bap’ mopgold (2+3+1).

You're Basic
So, assuming at some point that goblins someday settle on one word per number, how do we write it down? Here is a perfectly logical method, using the hex grid above in a way it was never intended (or maybe it was? I did say it was random):
Using the hex grid above, assume the center is one. Every time One pulses, we move clockwise on the next level outward-
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Seven marks the completion of the First Order (for lack of a better term, the 'Ones' column). It is the "great One". Goblin doesn't have a zero (No zero? MADNESS!) so we can't write a "great One" as 1 0.

Every time the great One pulses, we move clockwise on the next level outward-
8 is "One great-One and One", written "1 1"
9 is "One great-One and Two", written "1 2" and so on.
So far, it looks like it's shaping up to be base 7(ish), but if you look at the hex grid... there are more hexes available to fill this Order. Twelve in total. The Second Order goes to 12 (hello dozenal... but not really)
Eventually, we get to-
91 is "Twelve great-Ones and Seven", written "C 7" (using alphanumeric for higher numbers). This marks the completion of the Second Order. It is the "very great One".

Every time the very-great-One pulses, we move clockwise on the next level outward, and here we run into a problem. Zero has to emerge (I think), because-
92 is "One very-great-One and One", written "1 ? 1" (one vg1, zero g1, one). Looking at the grid, there are eighteen hexes in the Third Order. The Third Order goes to 18.


Unless we adopt a more Roman system? The Romans did fine without zero... 2020 is MMXX. We just need a symbol or group of symbols for the higher orders. And I've already used it above in my shorthand 'one vg1 & one.'
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