Decimal System and Measurement in East Asia

  • Shigeo Iwata
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4425-0_9344

Decimal System

There exists at least one root word that seems to be common to all languages, namely, tik, which means a finger, an arm, or the numeral “one.” The word te in Japanese language that belongs to Sino‐Tibetan languages refers to a “hand” and iti means “one” (Table 1).
Table 1

Root word and meaning

Family or language

Form

Meaning

 

Nilo‐Saharan

tok‐tek‐dik

One

 

Indo‐European

dik‐deik

To indicate/point

 

Caucasian (south)

titi, tito

Finger, single

 

Uralic

ik‐odik‐itik

One

 

Austroasiatic

ti

Hand, arm

 

Sino‐Tibetan

tik

One

 

Indo‐Pacific

tong‐tang‐ten

Finger, hand, arm

 

Eskimo

tik

Index finger

 

Amerind

tik

Finger

 

Na‐Dene

tek‐tiki‐tak

One

 
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  • Shigeo Iwata

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