While it would be nice if fortune went more hand-in-hand with fame, fame sometimes brings one a nice surprise. I often get inquiries from people looking into languages and writing systems, and sometimes those queries are really very interesting. Last night, I received a very nice request from a charming person from West Virginia whose initials are V.E.L., who was born in 1927ː
Good evening to you, sir. This may sound very stupid to you but I’m willing to take that chance to ask you a question; I’m 80 years old and, as a young kid, I remember my Mother telling me and my siblings that she could count to 20 in Cherokee. We, of course, memorized that stuff and still have most of it stored in the old noggin. It went like this; teen, tain, tether, fether, fimps, matha, latha, catha, doublo, beaudix, teendix, taindix, tetherdix, fetherdix, bumpus, teenbump, tainbump, tetherbump, fetherbump, jenkus. (1 to 20)
It turns out that the numbers one to ten in Cherokee really don’t have anything to do with the list which V.E.L. gave.
So it’s not Cherokee.
Is there any possibility that there was any merit at all in this, or was she simply kidding with us? I have been under the impression that dix was possibly French for 10 and that, coupled with teen for 11, makes a little bit of sense to me. The spelling is just my idea of how the words sounded and I am not a linguist at all. If you can find time to respond, it will greatly appreciated.
I think there’s a good chance it’s Welsh. At least some of it is. It’s five and the shift after fifteen that clinch it for me.
|11||teendix||ˈtiːndɪks||un ar ddeg||iːn ɑr ðeg|
|13||tetherdix||ˈtɛðərdɪks||tri ar ddeg||triː ɑr ðeg|
|14||fetherdix||ˈfɛðərdɪks||pedwar ar ddeg||ˈpɛdwɑr ɑr ðeg|
|16||teenbump||ˈtiːnbʌmp||un ar bymtheg||iːn ɑr ˈbɪmθeg|
|17||tainbump||ˈtɑɪnbʌmp||dau ar bymtheg||dɑɪ ɑr ˈbɪmθeg|
|19||fetherbump||ˈfɛðərbʌmp||pedwar ar bymtheg||ˈpɛdwɑr ɑr ˈbɪmθeg|
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