Guild of Linguists

Click here to edit subtitle

Forums

Post Reply
Forum Home > The Language Room > D'ni Mathematics

KathTheDragon
Site Owner
Posts: 381

I've recently had some ideas on this topic, so I'll sketch out my ideas for D'ni mathematical words and notation in this thread. Feel free to chip in.

 

So, let's start with the two most basic concepts - addition and subtraction. Etymologically, these seem to derive from augmentation and pulling down or removing respectively. On that basis, it's not inconceivable that D'ni would use a height metaphor here, giving elonin te 'Y added to X' and zithonin te 'Y subtracted from X' (Y being the number headed by te).

 

Equality seems to derive from levelness or flatness - but we already have pekey, with a tentative meaning of 'similar', and I can't find fault with Kh'rees' analysis and subsequent application to equality.

 

The only etymology I have for multiplication is from Latin, meaning 'fold many times' - we could use this, though I suspect there's something better. Division is easier - separation or sharing is the metaphor employed, and we may have an adjective leeahni 'separate' (from the Lara Documents. Also from the Lara documents, fractions are expressed as 'parts of a whole' - division is likely 'into X parts').

 

Notation-wise, I like the idea that D'ni would abbreviate its words, or mandala them. As for direct mathematics, I doubt they'd use infix notation like we do - there are far better alternatives for a civilisation as ancient as they to explore. The choice made in the Lara Documents is postfix notation (also called Reverse Polish Notation - Polish Notation is prefix), and there's nothing wrong with it beyond the difficulty for us to learn.

I have doubts that the D'ni would use an analogue to decimal notation, probably preferring a notation that utilises 'parts of a whole'. If they can vary the number of parts that make up a whole, we have an analogue to our own fractional notation.

--

Moula KI: 00005310
DI KI: 00205116
deviantART: kathaveara
tumblr: kaththedragon

Grand Master of the Guild of Linguists


August 17, 2014 at 5:53 AM Flag Quote & Reply

KathTheDragon
Site Owner
Posts: 381

The Lara Documents give a nice direction for how higher mathematics could have been developed - through stone-working and surveying. For example 'square-/cube-side' corresponding to 'square/cube roots', a 'horizon' function corresponding to the obsolete 'chord' trig function. Taking this on to cover more advanced topics would be *very* interesting.

--

Moula KI: 00005310
DI KI: 00205116
deviantART: kathaveara
tumblr: kaththedragon

Grand Master of the Guild of Linguists


August 17, 2014 at 1:33 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Korov’ev
Member
Posts: 160

While we’re at it: in a recent thread in the MOULa forums, the word “her” was used with the meaning of “number”. The cited wordlist it came from doesn’t mention its source. I’m inclined to think it’s just a misreading of “hev”, but perhaps there’s more to it.

--

  46116   —  D’ní notesFontsGoodies
.fa  mEstav  Kat  Kenen  xanril  fUru

August 18, 2014 at 5:55 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Korov’ev
Member
Posts: 160

Hev is also present here (http://www.dpwr.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=5104) (a repetition of the GoAr list) and here (http://web.archive.org/web/20060313180926/http://users.owt.com/leelan/web/Riven/rivndict.htm) (an older list). Still no source.

--

  46116   —  D’ní notesFontsGoodies
.fa  mEstav  Kat  Kenen  xanril  fUru

September 3, 2014 at 7:36 AM Flag Quote & Reply

KathTheDragon
Site Owner
Posts: 381

Hmmm... Since it's been around for over 8 years, I'm inclined to accept it as tentative.

--

Moula KI: 00005310
DI KI: 00205116
deviantART: kathaveara
tumblr: kaththedragon

Grand Master of the Guild of Linguists


September 3, 2014 at 9:07 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Ainia
Member
Posts: 10

Shorah folks, haven't checked in here in a long while... But...


I've been wondering about a D'ni linguistic/numeric conundrum lately and was interested to see if anybody here has already investigated, discussed or thought about this.


The hood classroom tilework connects the dots between the D'ni alphabet and numbering system for us (though it took explorers many long years to put that together). So I've been pondering what this tells us about the D'ni at a deeper level and what the history might be with this letter/number relationship.


For instance, would one of them (the alphabetical system or the numerical system) have been developed before the other? Or might they have diverged over time from a common ancestral form of written communication? Does this indicate that the D'ni perception/world view saw language and mathematics as deeply intertwined? And how would this fit into their spiritual views? We know their relationship with Yahvo was a foundation of their culture, as was their relationship with the Art.


It makes a certain kind of sense that mathematics and the D'ni language would be closely related since BoA records Anna attempting to explain to Atrus the deep, detailed, intricate nuances of the D'ni language; that as a language, it seems to have been incredibly specific in its meanings.


At any rate, the more I think about this, the more I suspect this interrelationship is a core part of the D'ni culture and a powerful means of understanding their group mind. So I'd be very interested to hear what others have to say about this. :)


(Kath, if this should be a separate topic, please feel free to move it accordingly ;) )

--

November 22, 2014 at 1:49 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Korov’ev
Member
Posts: 160

I think both derived from a common ancestor (the old GoL site had a similar hypothesis). It should be mentioned that letters used as numerals, often in more complex ways than the roman system, were present in many ancient civilizations (hebrew, arabic and greek, to name a few), usually accompanied by an elaborate symbology.

The cursive form is probably more recent: since the medium influence the shape of the letters (cuneiforms with clay tablets, strokes with brushes, round shapes with quills), it’s possible that a boxy (like the chinese system?) alphabet evolved with the introduction of the quill while numbers, possibly always spelt out for cultural reasons, were written as numerals only in specific situations, thus retaining their old shapes.

A bigger mystery here I think is why did they choose a pentavigesimal system :)

--

  46116   —  D’ní notesFontsGoodies
.fa  mEstav  Kat  Kenen  xanril  fUru

November 22, 2014 at 7:35 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Talashar
Member
Posts: 30

The shapes of the D'ni numbers follow a logical pattern, but there's no such pattern to the values of the letters, so I suspect then the numbers were developed first and only later used with sound values. This is the reverse of the common Earth situation that Korov'ev mentions, though ogham with its tally-like letters might be a parallel. The use of numbers to indicate degree (b'fah, b'bree) is another example of unusual numerical prominence.


Regarding base 25, I wonder why it isn't more common on the surface! 5 is a common base and 25 is just the square of 5. Possibly bases 10 and 20 take up the conceptual space in the system that would otherwise go to 25. For some reason D'ni lacks a base 10 or 20, though they did divide the year into 10 parts.  (A hint at an old base 10 system, or some calendrical phenomenon on Garternay?)

--

Talashar Geltahn; Ki 183867 An overview of D'ni grammar | My books

November 22, 2014 at 9:23 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Korov’ev
Member
Posts: 160

Perhaps the original writing system on Garternay was ideographic. The numbers could have been developed later or maybe were part of it, and later still they were adapted as an alphabet, in a way similar to the kana or the zhuyin systems on the surface. Perhaps the garohevtí too evolved from the older system, possibly stylised using the later signs.

As for the base, it could also depend on some astronomical characteristic of Garternay (many surface calendars are based on the moon cycle), or perhaps on a peculiarity of D’ni physiology.

--

  46116   —  D’ní notesFontsGoodies
.fa  mEstav  Kat  Kenen  xanril  fUru

November 23, 2014 at 3:47 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Khreestrefah
Member
Posts: 96

On Ainia’s question about the letters and numbers, I see the historical explanation as a sort of synthesis of what she and Talashar and Korov’ev have pointed out. I think the Gahrohevtee were developed on Garternay through trial-and-error experimentation using Ink and Books to explore the multiverse. We don’t know much about these symbols, but probably their shapes or topology correlated with the ‘quantum effects’ they had when used.

 

The alphabetic system would have emerged from parallel experimentation to augment the Gahrohevtee by discovering the effects of combining simple shapes. The ‘numbers’ are diagrams of the topology of the ‘letters’. 24 of these consist of four distinctive shapes of line segment each in two orthogonal orientations, and each either separate or in overlaid orthogonal pairs (4 + 4 + 4 x 4). Adding a place-holder or ‘zero’ symbol would naturally extend this into a 5 x 5 numerical system.

 

The Writers would have accumulated an empirical set of sequences of the symbols in ‘letter’ form and the effects they had when employed using Ink in Books. If we hypothesize that there was a variable range of frequency of occurence of different symbols in useful sequences, then we could suggest that some imaginative Garternaian came up with the idea of assigning vowel sounds to the most frequently occurring letters and consonant sounds to the other letters, in order to facilitate reading off sequences of symbols for purposes of explanation and instruction (as a more easily memorized system than reciting sequences of numbers).

 

Once such a system was established, I think it would be inevitable that members of the Guild of Writers would start using these pronounceable sequences of symbols as a specilized terminology for referring to the concepts and theorectical effects related to using the symbols in the Writing of Ages. I think this eventually developed into a Writers’ argot that was extended to talk about anything in the culture that was connected with the Ages they linked to and exploited. And this could have been the origin of the D’ni language.

June 4, 2015 at 12:33 AM Flag Quote & Reply

You must login to post.

Oops! This site has expired.

If you are the site owner, please renew your premium subscription or contact support.