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Comment Numbers in Asian languages shorter/more logical? (Score 3, Informative) 357

I was a Chinese major, studied and lived in Japan for 4 years and am fluent in both languages. I've also studied a small bit of Korean as well.

I'm not sure how words for numbers could be more "logical" in these languages. In fact, in Korean there are two number naming systems -- one of native origin and the other of Chinese origin -- that can be used for values up to 100. (Japanese has this as well, but only up to 10.) For higher values the Chinese number names are used. So I doubt it has anything to do with language. Rather, I could see the the use of the abacus as a teaching tool as a big advantage, since it seems to confer a visceral knowledge of numbers and calculations that would be hard to acquire otherwise. Many people I know who became proficient with an abacus can visualize one in their head and use that visualization to do calculations.

That said, learning "Indian methods of calculation" seems to have become popular in Japan recently. There are at least two Nintendo DS games that give instruction on how to do arithmetic using methods taught in Indian schools (I own one of them).

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