Glitching Danish Numbers

Edward Larsson's notes on Danish runes and numerals. Public Domain.

Edward Larsson’s notes on Danish runes and numerals. Public Domain.

Well, where have I been? As an “open online participant” I’ve been around, looking at blogs, commenting on some, watching the interviews, etc. I’ve actually ripped the audio of the Alan Kay and the Ted Nelson interviews and listened to them driving to and from work for the last couple of weeks.

What I have not done is actually create a formal inquiry statement and follow through with any significant research. I was looking into the influence of eleventh century Danish kings on England and English, but realize that could be a lifelong specialty. I did read a biography of King Canute (or Cnut or Knut), which helped place the Viking age in perspective. And I’ve been learning about the odd Danish number naming system, and a little bit about runes (the Norse writing of the Viking era).

I’ve had a long-term interest in number systems. Partly, it was influenced by my father who was a computer programmer from the 1950s to 1990s. When I was young, he sometimes brought me literature from IBM and I remember finding the binary and duodecimal number systems intriguing. In sixth grade I figured out the patterns for base 3, and other bases of number systems. [I still teach this stuff, especially binary, hexadecimal, sometimes octal.]

In English (and other Germanic languages), our numbers are influenced by duodecimal or base 12 numbering. The number names go from one through twelve with unique names before incorporating the tens values at thirteen. Then until nineteen, it is the unit first followed by teen. After that, it is the tens unit first then the ones unit (twenty-three, fifty-eight, etc.). There is no number oneteen or twoteen. From twenty to ninety, it is simply the tens digit followed by “ty” to represent ten (two-ten, three-ten, etc.).

In Danish, things are different. Through twenty, things are similar. Eleven and twelve have their own names (elleve and tolv), and then it is unit-ten like English (literally “ten” not “teen”). Then things are more like German, with the ones unit before the tens unit (one-and-twenty, two-and- twenty, etc) (in Danish, enogtyve, toogtyve). The tens are normal, except fifty through ninety are based on multiples of twenty. Fifty is two-and-a-half-times-twenty (halvtredsindstyve); sixty is three-times-twenty (tresindstyve); seventy is three-and-a-half-times-twenty (halvfjerdsindstyve); eighty is four-times-twenty (firsindstyve); and ninety is four-and-a-half-times-twenty (halvfemsindstyve).

By the way, the “halvtred”, “halvfjerd”, and “halvfem” indicate third, fourth, and fifth “halvs”. 1/2, 1 1/2, 2 1/2, 3 1/2, 4 1/2 is the sequence of “halvs”.

OK, that is as far as I’ve pursued it. I hope to learn more. Since I will be in Denmark in a couple of weeks, I’ll ask around. And see if I can learn some of the language beyond numbers.

Same document glitched in Audacity with echo.

Same document glitched in Audacity with echo.

And the new thing I’ve been stimulated by is glitch art. There is a certain appeal in editing visual data (images) with audio or text editors. The misinterpretation of the data leads to interesting, seemingly unpredictable changes. I suspect they aren’t really unpredictable, but when the data is examined and the file formats are understood, one can have more control over the results. In two days of trying, I’ve already come to found some methods to create semi-predictable results. I will be starting to use a hex editor to work directly on the data within the constraints of the file type. I’ll keep you informed, but probably not on this blog. For now I’ll use, which is my ds106 experimentation blog. In the future I might make a blog specifically for the glitching and other data manipulation I envision myself becoming obsessed with.

Same image glitched in Audacity with wah-wah.

Same image glitched in Audacity with wah-wah.

Keep experimenting, keep learning, explore everything!

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