numeral / number

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by Gavril, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    In some languages, a lexical distinction is made between

    1) The sign used to represent a number/quantity (for ex., the Roman numeral “VIII”, the Arabic numeral “8”, and the English phonetic sequence [ejt])

    2) The actual quantity (concrete or abstract) represented by this sign

    Some examples of this distinction:

    English numeral / digit (meaning 1) vs. number (meaning 2)

    Finnish numero vs. luku
    (However, according to speakers I’ve asked, these words are somewhat interchangeable in everyday speech)

    Icelandic tölustafur (= “number letter”) vs. tala

    Japanese 数字 (sūji “number letter/character”) vs. (kazu /“number”)

    German Zahlzeichen (= “number sign”) vs. Zahl

    French chiffre (< Arabic ṣifr “zero” > Eng. cipher, Spanish cifra, etc.) vs. nombre

    What other examples can you think of?
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012
  2. AutumnOwl Senior Member

    Siffra - digit (from Arabic)
    Tal - number
    (Nuffra - mix between nummer (number) and siffra, sometimes used jokingly about digits)
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012
  3. mataripis

    mataripis Senior Member

    Tagalog: Numeral= Dami / Number= Bilang
  4. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    In Greek:

    Number: «Αριθμός» /ariθ'mos/ (masculine noun) and in plural «αριθμοί» /ariθ'mi/. A Classical noun, «ἀριθμός» (ărī'tʰmŏs)--> number, counting, amount with obscure etymology. Some scholars see it either as a cognate to
    1) the ancient verb «ἀραρίσκω» (ără'rīskō)--> to join, fit together, PIE base *ar-, fit, join
    2) from PIE base *re(i)-, to reason, count cognate to Eng. read, Ger. raten.
    Numeral: Neuter adj. «αριθμητικό» /ariθmiti'ko/ from the same Classical adj. «ἀριθμητικός» (ărĭtʰmĕtī'kŏs, m.), «ἀριθμητικὴ» (ărĭtʰmĕtī'kē, f.), «ἀριθμητικόν» (ărĭtʰmĕtī'kŏn, n.)--> person skilled for reckoning (masculine), the art of counting (feminine) congruent to the English arithmetic, land-tax and numeral (neuter).
    The sign used to represent a number/quantity could be also described by the neuter noun «ψηφίο» /psi'fio/, a Classical noun «ψηφίον» (psē'pʰīŏn)--> lit. small pebble, pellet metaph. number, digit (PIE base *bʰes-, to chew, rub).
  5. terredepomme Senior Member

    Human Language
    This is pretty much the same in Korean and Chinese.
    But in Korean, 數字 tends to be used in the sense of 數 as well in everyday speech.
  6. Favara Senior Member

    Catalan - Southern Val.
    Catalan: xifra & nombre
  7. francisgranada Senior Member


    szám - number (in general)
    számnév - numeral (in sense of the name of the number)
    számjegy - numeral, digit (the sign representing the number)

    név - name
    jegy - sign
  8. sakvaka

    sakvaka Senior Member

    :tick: (Not in maths, though. In its realm, the distinction is rather important.)

    Numeraali, instead, is a member of one of the six word classes, namely numeraalit. (The remaining five being: substantiivit, adjektiivit, verbit, pronominit, and partikkelit)

    Examples of numeraali: "kolmella" (on three --), "viidessadas" (five-hundredth).
  9. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    In Russian we have three terms:
    Цифра /tsifra/ - numeral/digit (the sign used to represent a number)
    Число /tchislo/ - number (the actual number, quantity)
    Номер /nomer/ - number (the number assigned to something, e.g. file # 238; hotel room 1245 etc...)
  10. NewtonCircus Senior Member

    Dutch (Belgium)
    Dutch seems to be the same as Russian in this aspect.

    - Cijfer = Numerals or qualitative figures (Het cijfer 8, 63 is een slecht examencijfer)
    - Getal = Numbers in general and quantitative figures
    - Nummer = (Sequential) numbers which do not represent a quantity or quality (Telefoonnummer, huisnummer, nummerplaat)

    Groetjes Herman
  11. darush Senior Member

    in Persian:
    ragham رقم = digit
    adad عدد = number
    both are taken from Arabic
  12. arielipi Senior Member

    digit is sifra and relates to any number between 0 to 9
    123 then 3 is one sifra in that number. 1 also and so is 2.
    mispar is number
    i didnt quite understand what you want to learn here but i hope i understood.
  13. OneStroke Senior Member

    Hong Kong, China
    Chinese - Cantonese (HK)
    In Cantonese, we always say 數字(formal)/數目字(informal). 數 means 'sum'.
  14. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    In Slovenian, the distinction seems to be

    število = number, (mathematical) quantity
    številka = numerical symbol(s), as used in identification, etc. (for example, telefonska številka "telephone number")
    števka = digit (it may also be possible to use številka for this meaning)

    All of these are based on the root seen in preštevati, prešteti "to count", which in turn seems to be found in Russian chislo ("number", as mentioned above), Lithuanian káina "price", and so on.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2013
  15. ahmedcowon Senior Member

    In Arabic,

    ʿadad عدد = used only to represent quantity
    raqam رقم = used in all other cases
  16. Sempervirens Senior Member

    Per quanto riguarda la mia lingua confermo sia la parola numerale che le parole numero e cifra. Tutte in vigore nell'uso.
    Inoltre mi sento di aggiungere che accanto all'aggettivo numerale se ne affiancano di altri: numerico, numeroso, ennesimo, digitale...( tutti aggettivi e quindi declinabili).

    Il digit sarebbe poi un termine di recente utilizzo, usato in ambito informatico.

    Last edited: Sep 15, 2013
  17. learnerr Senior Member

    The same in Russian, but this depends on shades of meaning. "Цифра" ("digit") may be used to mean "число" ("number"), if it actually means something like statistical data, something that could and should be written down, or is expected to be written down, even if only figuratively.
  18. bibax Senior Member

    Czech (Prague)

    číslo (Rus. числó has different stress) = 1) a written/uttered sequence of digits/numerals as a representation of a discrete quantity, 2) a sign/symbol for denoting an object (room number, house number, product number, etc.);

    číslice = a digit (binary, octal, (hexa)decimal, ...);

    číslovka = a numeral (word), číslovky (plur.) = a grammatical category (numeralia cardinalia, ordinalia, etc.);

    cifra = digit (ciferník = číselník = dial, slang mug, i.e. a face), colloq. number (cifršpion = colloq. humor. an accountant); trojciferný = three-digit, in three figures;
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2013
  19. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    It turns out that Slovenian has a separate word for "numeral", too: števnik.
  20. SuperXW

    SuperXW Senior Member

    In Chinese,
    1) 数字, 号, 号码, 序号 etc.
    2) 数, 数量 etc.

    Related terms:
    1) 基数 cardinal number: 1, 2, 3...
    2) 序数 Ordinal number: 1st, 2nd, 3rd...

    Interesting fact:
    The interrogative word 第几 asking "what ordinal number (which place)" is common in Chinese, but no such a word in English.
    This makes it extremely difficult to translate some common Chinese sentence into English.
    For example,

    The question is asking the ordinal number of your current girlfriend. The answer should be: She's the third one.
    But when translating, it can only be changed into: How many girlfriends have you had before her? Answer: two.
  21. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    In Portuguese:

    number: número

    numeral: numeral But this is technical and seldom used. In practice número means numeral, too.

    digit: dígito, algarismo

    The word cifra exists also, but it's just an alternative way to say "amount" or "figure" (and "number"), especially referring to money, or "cipher" (in cryptography).
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2013
  22. إسكندراني

    إسكندراني Senior Member

    أرض الأنجل
    عربي (مصر)ـ | en (gb)
    identical to proper Arabic, in fact.

    interesting that swedish uses siffra as digit. What do you use for ,cipher' and ,zero' then?

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