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Folklore: Shepherds' counting systems: British?

rich-joy 09 Jun 02 - 02:49 AM
rich-joy 09 Jun 02 - 03:06 AM
DMcG 09 Jun 02 - 03:14 AM
C-flat 09 Jun 02 - 03:42 AM
Liz the Squeak 09 Jun 02 - 04:07 AM
CarolC 09 Jun 02 - 04:12 AM
Nigel Parsons 09 Jun 02 - 03:39 PM
Dead Horse 09 Jun 02 - 05:37 PM
little john cameron 09 Jun 02 - 07:15 PM
Snuffy 09 Jun 02 - 07:37 PM
rich-joy 09 Jun 02 - 07:38 PM
Haruo 09 Jun 02 - 09:16 PM
little john cameron 09 Jun 02 - 10:53 PM
Mr Happy 10 Jun 02 - 06:00 AM
rich-joy 10 Jun 02 - 06:14 AM
Steve Parkes 10 Jun 02 - 10:57 AM
GUEST,pavane 11 Jun 02 - 02:46 AM
GUEST,pavane 11 Jun 02 - 02:50 AM
Steve Parkes 11 Jun 02 - 03:19 AM
Steve Parkes 11 Jun 02 - 03:22 AM
Mr Happy 11 Jun 02 - 03:23 AM
sian, west wales 11 Jun 02 - 04:29 AM
Nigel Parsons 11 Jun 02 - 04:32 AM
Nigel Parsons 11 Jun 02 - 04:33 AM
Steve Parkes 11 Jun 02 - 05:30 AM
Mr Happy 11 Jun 02 - 05:43 AM
Mr Red 11 Jun 02 - 06:46 AM
GUEST,Pavane 11 Jun 02 - 07:09 AM
sian, west wales 11 Jun 02 - 07:12 AM
Mr Happy 11 Jun 02 - 07:16 AM
Nigel Parsons 11 Jun 02 - 07:27 AM
BanjoRay 11 Jun 02 - 11:18 AM
Nigel Parsons 11 Jun 02 - 12:46 PM
Nigel Parsons 28 Jun 02 - 04:51 AM
greg stephens 28 Jun 02 - 04:57 AM
Steve Parkes 28 Jun 02 - 11:38 AM
Steve Parkes 28 Jun 02 - 11:41 AM
rich-joy 29 Jun 02 - 02:07 AM
GUEST,Penny S. (elsewhere) 11 Apr 03 - 07:21 AM
Nigel Parsons 12 Dec 06 - 12:52 PM
GUEST,thurg 12 Dec 06 - 09:17 PM
Nigel Parsons 06 Jun 18 - 10:59 AM
Nigel Parsons 06 Jun 18 - 11:31 AM
David Carter (UK) 06 Jun 18 - 02:43 PM
GUEST,henryp 06 Jun 18 - 03:30 PM
David Carter (UK) 06 Jun 18 - 05:00 PM
GUEST,henryp 06 Jun 18 - 06:00 PM
David Carter (UK) 07 Jun 18 - 02:35 AM
Joe Offer 08 Jun 18 - 12:58 AM
David Carter (UK) 08 Jun 18 - 02:43 AM
GUEST,henryp 08 Jun 18 - 07:00 AM
Mrrzy 08 Jun 18 - 10:07 AM
FreddyHeadey 08 Jun 18 - 10:20 AM
Raedwulf 08 Jun 18 - 10:58 AM
Nigel Parsons 08 Jun 18 - 11:40 AM
GUEST,Jon 08 Jun 18 - 11:50 AM
Monique 08 Jun 18 - 06:00 PM
GUEST,Ripov 08 Jun 18 - 07:09 PM
BobL 09 Jun 18 - 02:22 AM
Will Fly 09 Jun 18 - 11:54 AM
Raedwulf 09 Jun 18 - 04:33 PM
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Subject: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: rich-joy
Date: 09 Jun 02 - 02:49 AM

Ah! that was supposed to read : british only??????????

This thread is related to parts of the "Counting Songs" thread from May 1999, which I also just refreshed ... (can some kind link pixie do a blue clicky thing here and there : puleeze!!)

see also LYR ADD : Old Molly Metcalfe

I'm STILL intrigued about these Shepherd Counting rhymes!!!

I just read a novel which mentions that in Suffolk, 1 to 10 was : unna / tina / wether / tether / pinkie / hater / skater / sara / dara / dic

The above thread mentions the songs : Old Molly Metcalfe and The Lincolnshire Shepherd (with links to), which use these fascinating systems, supposedly relics from the old Celtic languages (pre Nordic and Norman conquest) - is this still thought to be the case??
Are they still in use anywhere??
What about examples from further north in the British Isles??
What about in other countries???
Any other info???

Cheers! R-J


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: rich-joy
Date: 09 Jun 02 - 03:06 AM

Coz I know some people often don't read the links provided(OK, myself included, I confess!!!!), I'll add in other info I have :

Lincolnshire Shepherds : 1 to 10
yan / tan / tethera / pethera / pimp / sethera / methera / hovera / covera / dik /
11 to 20
yan a dik / tan a dik / tethera dik / pethera dik / bumfits / yan a bumfits / tan a bumfits / tethera bumfits / pethera bumfits / figgits

The "Counting Songs" thread mentions some from Sussex, Wales, Cornwall, Cumbria, and other stuff (like "eeny meeny miney mo")

Cheers! R-J


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: DMcG
Date: 09 Jun 02 - 03:14 AM

I was told about the yan-tan-tethera form by my father when I was a child in Yorkshire, but never heard it used for real (and both my father and I spent all our lives in towns, by the way)


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: C-flat
Date: 09 Jun 02 - 03:42 AM

I heard "yan-tan-tethera"etc. as a kid in the playground (40 years ago) in the North East but it was used as a selecting or counting out game in the style of "one potato,two potato..." I'd never realised it was an old shepherds counting system.


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 09 Jun 02 - 04:07 AM

My great grandfather used to count the legs and divide by four.... and I've a picture of him doing it.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: CarolC
Date: 09 Jun 02 - 04:12 AM

Clicky for Counting Songs thread.

Clicky for LYR ADD : Old Molly Metcalfe thread.


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 09 Jun 02 - 03:39 PM

Yes, your "Lincolnshire Shepherds : 1 to 10 yan / tan / tethera / pethera / pimp / sethera / methera / hovera / covera / dik / 11 to 20 yan a dik / tan a dik / tethera dik / pethera dik / bumfits / yan a bumfits / tan a bumfits / tethera bumfits / pethera bumfits / figgits"
fits in well with the Welsh Equivalent 1 to 10: Un / dau / tri / pedwar / pump / Chwecch / saith / wyth / naw / deg
11 to 20:
Un ar ddeg / dau ar ddeg / tri ar ddeg / pedwar ar ddeg / pymtheg / un ar bymtheg / dau ar bymtheg / tri ar bymtheg / pedwar ar bymtheg / ugain.
Nigel


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: Dead Horse
Date: 09 Jun 02 - 05:37 PM

Counting the legs and dividing by four is also used in Kent, but you must also take note of the colour. The red ones is liable to be foxes, ooh aagh!


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: little john cameron
Date: 09 Jun 02 - 07:15 PM

Jings,it is amazin whit you guys are interestit in.Countin sheep for Gawds sake!!
However,ah did a wee poke aboot oan the net an' here's whit ah came up wi'
Coontin


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: Snuffy
Date: 09 Jun 02 - 07:37 PM

Slo is all this counting in 20s how we get "keeping the score" in games?


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: rich-joy
Date: 09 Jun 02 - 07:38 PM

Well, LJC, I probably have an ulterior motive. Though being born and bred an Aussie, I have recently discovered that I have rellies in EnZed (kiwis!) - far South Island, no less - due to a branch of the ex-Lancashire family emigrating from Melbourne to there, around the 1850's.
I now have a keen interest in matters concerning sheep ...

Cheers! R-J


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: Haruo
Date: 09 Jun 02 - 09:16 PM

rich-joy, if you want to know about "other countries" why (try to) title the thread "british only"?! (I thought it might be "Britain Online", but no...)

Anyhow, these sound similar to the American children's counting-out system "Eenie meenie miney mo", or the Norwegian one my mother knew but that I failed to memorize properly while she was still alive (it sounded more or less like "Eller meller Deg forteller, something or ooey gor, something on something spawn, snip snop tutti rutti utti", maybe some Norsky can fill in the blanks in my brain).

Liland


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: little john cameron
Date: 09 Jun 02 - 10:53 PM

Seein as yese are too lazy tae click an' read.

1 2 3 4 5

Keswick. yan tyan tethera methera pimp.

Westmorland. yan tyan tetherie peddera gip.

Eskdale. yaena taena teddera meddera pimp.

Millom. aina peina para pedera pimp.

High Furness. yan taen tedderte medderte pimp

Wasdale. yan taen tudder anudder nimph

Teesdale. yan tean tetherma metherma pip

Swaledale yahn tayhn tether mether mimp(h)

Wensleydale yan tean tither mither pip

Ayrshire yinty tinty tetheri metheri bamf

6 7 8 9 0 15

Keswick sethera lethera hovera dovera dick bumfit

Westmorland teezie mithy katra hornie dick bumfit

Eskdale hofa lofa seckera leckera dec bumfit

Millom ithy mithy owera lowera dig bumfit

High Furness haata slaata lowera dowra dick mimph

Wasdale ..........not given.....
....................

Teesdale lezar azar catrah horna dick bumfit

Swaledale hith-her lith-her anver danver dic mimphit

Wensleydale teaser leaser catra horna dick bumper

Ayrshire leetera seetera over dover dik - -

Among children's counting out games they found the following; observe these seem to count in fours, probably to suit the rhyme

[Edinburgh]"Inty, tinty, tethery, methery; Bank for over, dover, ding .."

[London] "Eena, deena, dus; cattala, wheela, wheila, wus; spit, spot, must be done.
[Universal] "Eeny, meeny, miney, moe; Catch a nigger by his toe".

Scores have even been found in a number of places in U.S.A.

[Cincinnati] een, teen, tother, feather, fib, soter, oter, poter, debber, dick

[Vermont] eeni, teni, tudheri, fedheri, fip, saidher, taidher, koadher, daidher, dik

These were probably taken to the new world by Cumbrian settlers !!



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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: Mr Happy
Date: 10 Jun 02 - 06:00 AM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: rich-joy
Date: 10 Jun 02 - 06:14 AM

Thanks LJC for that great link - I DID read that one!!!

Liland - I did try to explain at the beginning of the thread that my question marks got left off the "british only" part of the name : haven't got used to the allowable length of the thread names!!! I should first count the characters on some others, I guess ...

Thanks to all contributers so far - I appreciate it. Cheers! R-J


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 10 Jun 02 - 10:57 AM

"Score" means a mark on a stick. Folks would make notches on a stick called a tally for accounts and the like; they'd cut the stick in two lengthways, and each would keep one half. If either tried to alter his copy, it would no longer tally with the other, so it was a fraud-free method. Can't quite remember the "score=20" thing, but it was literally the case--but probably nothing to do with tallies.

I've always wondered why shepherds couldn't just go "one-two-three..." (in whatever language they spoke) like everybody else. Wasi it to keep fom falling asleep? And what sort of size limit would there be on a flock? I guess no-one would have thousands, but hundreds may have been a possiblility, especially if they were communal herds (i.e. everyone's small flock, duly marked, kept on the same grazing).



Steve


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: GUEST,pavane
Date: 11 Jun 02 - 02:46 AM


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: GUEST,pavane
Date: 11 Jun 02 - 02:50 AM

Just to explain, in Welsh, the letter u is usually pronounced as i, so pump (5) is pronounced PIMP. (and Llandudno is pronounced Llandidno)


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 11 Jun 02 - 03:19 AM

Hlandidno, surely?


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 11 Jun 02 - 03:22 AM

Arthur Haynes: Hlepherd's Bush! Nicholas Parsons: There is no "L" in Sheperd's Bush! Arthur Haynes: You wnat to try living there!

Sorry! A memory came flooding back to me just then ...

Steve


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: Mr Happy
Date: 11 Jun 02 - 03:23 AM

pavane,

if you know about welsh language & counting, can you explain 'saith ar' y bymtheg' as a whole number

i heard it means something like 7 + 15=22

why would they use n+n=product, if there's already a named number for the same thing?

(or am i up a gumtree?)


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: sian, west wales
Date: 11 Jun 02 - 04:29 AM

There wouldn't be a "saith ar bymtheg" as it changes when you get to twenty (ugain, or dau ddeg). And although tri ar bymtheg (18) is correct, I've never heard it used; it's usually either the 'new' fashion of "un deg wyth" or the (what I've always thought of as..) 'old style' "deunaw" (two nines).

sian


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 11 Jun 02 - 04:32 AM

Mr Happy: you have been correctly informed, as with the above explanations, just as twenty is considered a basic number, so is fifteen. (possibly because of the divisions on clocks) so 'saith ar bymtheg' woud be the same as 'dau ar hugain' (2+20).
The putting of the smaller unit first is not unknown in English either. "Five and twenty ponies" (Kipling); "Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie" etc.
The counting by scores (20s) continues in Welsh. Ugain(or hugain) is twenty, Deugain (two 20s) is forty; trigain (three 20s) or Chwe deg (six 10s), Pedwar ugain is eighty
If you want to fully confuse the counting system, you need to come up with weird ways of describing numbers without using base 5 or base 10. Eighteen is sometimes given as Deunaw (two 9s). In the pre-decimal currency days, this was a common term for One shilling & sixpence (i.e. one and a half shillings, eighteen pence). Also known as Swllt a Chwech (shilling and six)


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 11 Jun 02 - 04:33 AM

Sian: you beat me to it whilst I was typing a longer screed.

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 11 Jun 02 - 05:30 AM

And the French have quatre vingts dix = four score and ten. "Eleven" means "one left [after ten]", and twelve "two left". I remember "eighteen pence" was common for "one and six" (but not "nineteen pence"); I still say "fifty bob" [fifty shillings, or two pounds ten shillings] for two pounds fifty; it used to be common to quote prices in shillings instead of (one or two) pounds.

And while there's sense in having twelve pence in a shilling or sixteen ounces in a pound, how about fourteen pounds in a stone, or twenty-eight pounds in a quarter? Some of the weird multiples in UK weights and measures are due to two or more independent systems being "unified" in past centuries.

Sorry to shed more darkeness on the subject!

Steve


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: Mr Happy
Date: 11 Jun 02 - 05:43 AM

more confusing systems exist in germany.

when i was there, it was explained that when telling the time, it's usual to say something like, 'it's ten minutes past half past three' when they mean twenty to four.

comments?


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: Mr Red
Date: 11 Jun 02 - 06:46 AM

And I always thought Ll was pronounced (via a diversion of air into the cheeks a la Winston Churchill) ch
Hence how Cheddar got its anglisised name. Have I been pronouncing Llanfair PG wrong all this time?
Ok OK that's easy for you to say!


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: GUEST,Pavane
Date: 11 Jun 02 - 07:09 AM

Ll is NOT ch, whatever else it may be. The Welsh do have ch, similar to Scots.

The origin of the name Floyd may be mispronounced Lloyd?

As I am English (Londoner), and not a Welsh speaker at all, I am not the best person to comment on all the Welsh numbers. However, it is also possible that other branches of Brythonic Celtic did use numbers differently.

I remember reading somewhere that Hickory Dickory Dock was Druidic for 8,9,10. How on earth anyone would know is a mystery to me, and no historical reference was given.


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: sian, west wales
Date: 11 Jun 02 - 07:12 AM

Nigel, longer, and more comprehensive!

Mr. Red: LL is as described (as much as it can be described) so presumably you're been pronouncing Llanfair PG correctly,at least in this regard; CH is as in the German, ie, "Bach". What's with the Cheddar reference? (Tho' not to encourage thread drift)

sian


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: Mr Happy
Date: 11 Jun 02 - 07:16 AM

could be 'cheddar' is 'chether?' or 'llether?'

if not- hard cheese


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 11 Jun 02 - 07:27 AM

Mr Red: The Ll is pronounced by moving the tongue to the roof of the mouth, leaving only a small gap above it, then exhaling so that most of the air passes under the tongue, with a small amount getting in above the tongue. The tungue is then brought down to touch the front lower teeth while pronouncing a 'soft' 'L'.
This is probably documented somewhere, but I have just been typing this while repeatedly naming that place on Anglesey, and analysing my mouth movements.
Mr Happy: The Dutch (o.k. the Netherlanders, I know 'Dutch' only covers part of their country) give a confusing telling of the time. They avoid saying the equivalent of "before" or "after" when stating the half hours, But When they say their equivalent of "Half Twelve" you need to remember that they mean "Half to Twelve" i.e. Half Eleven to us.
Their 'ten tos' and 'ten pasts' match ours (to = 'voor'; past = achter or over) but the also use the half hour as a standard, so it is not unknown to hear the time given as "tien voor half twelf" i.e. 10 before Half Twelve. i.e. 11.20. Similarly 'Tien over half twelf' would be 11.40
Apologies to any Nederlands speakers for misspellings.

Migel


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: BanjoRay
Date: 11 Jun 02 - 11:18 AM

As a guy who's only language was Welsh until he was five, here's my take on it. To pronounce LL, touch the roof of your mouth just behind the front teeth and exhale without using the vocal chords. If you use the vocal chords, it becomes L. So to say Llanfair, you don't start using the vocal chords till you get to the first a

Get practicing!
Cheers
Ray


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 11 Jun 02 - 12:46 PM

BanjoRay: I defer to one who has Cymraeg as his 'mother tongue'
Nigel


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 28 Jun 02 - 04:51 AM

Having just received the details for naxt year's UK 'Filk' convention Quinze I am reminded that the French count up to 16 using single word numbers 1Un 2deux 3trois 4quatre 5cinq 6six 7sept 8huit 9neuf 10dix 11onze 12douze 13treize 14quatorze 15quinze 16seize
This seems even more strange as they clearly use base 10 for numbers above 16 17dix-sept 18dix-huit 19dix-neuf


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: greg stephens
Date: 28 Jun 02 - 04:57 AM

yes, but do they have sheep-counting rhymes?


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 28 Jun 02 - 11:38 AM

But the french system clearly follows a similar pattern to the English: un-ze, deux-ze, trois-ze, etc.


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 28 Jun 02 - 11:41 AM

Oops--cut off in me prime! I was going to add: does anyone know the derivation of the "ze" bit?

Steve


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: rich-joy
Date: 29 Jun 02 - 02:07 AM

keep trying, greg!!! (I'd like to know too)


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: GUEST,Penny S. (elsewhere)
Date: 11 Apr 03 - 07:21 AM

Have just refreshed this to reconstitute my totally vanished literacy worksheet on counting and counting out rhymes, and noticed that nobody had answered the 20 = score part of the system.
A flock of sheep has many ewes, lambs etc, too many to tally individually, so, the rhymes are used up to 20, then the mark is made on a stick. Each tally mark stands for 20. The mark, or cut, is also known as a score - think of scoring card to fold it cleanly, so the score = cut becomes score = 20. To find the total number of sheep, count the tally marks, multiply by 20, and add the odd ones left over at the end. You can do the stick splitting bit if you are rendering accounts, as well. Scoring becomes a synonym for a recorded count, hence is used for game results and so on.

Penny


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british onl
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 12:52 PM

Refresh*


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Subject: RE: Shepherds Counting Systems : british only????
From: GUEST,thurg
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 09:17 PM

Here's a sight concerned with sheep-counting: http://www.slaidburn.org.uk/counting_sheep.htm ...

You're welcome!


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Subject: Folklore: Shepherds' counting systems: British?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 06 Jun 18 - 10:59 AM

Refresh


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Shepherds' counting systems: British?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 06 Jun 18 - 11:31 AM

English also uses base 20 numbers:
Five and twenty Ponies,
The ball of Kerrymuir
The Bible: the years of a man are three-score years and ten

etcetera.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Shepherds' counting systems: British?
From: David Carter (UK)
Date: 06 Jun 18 - 02:43 PM

I am trying to work out whether the biblical three score and 10 is a literal translation, but am stymied by search engines throwing up vast strings of sites which seem to regard the King James version as the original. Does anyone know what it says in Hebrew? Or even whether the psalms were originally in Hebrew or some earlier semitic language?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Shepherds' counting systems: British?
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 06 Jun 18 - 03:30 PM

From The Phrase Finder; Threescore goes back to at least 1388, as in this from John Wyclif's Bible, Leviticus 12, at that date: "Thre scoor and sixe daies."

From Wikipedia; The text translated in the various versions of the Wycliffe Bible was the Latin Vulgate.

Psalm 90:10-12 King James Version (KJV); The days of our years are threescore years and ten

From Wikipedia; The King James Version (KJV), also known as the Authorized Version (AV), is an English translation of the Christian Bible for the Church of England, begun in 1604 and completed in 1611.

Like Tyndale's translation and the Geneva Bible, the Authorized Version was translated primarily from Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic texts, although with secondary reference both to the Latin Vulgate, and to more recent scholarly Latin versions; two books of the Apocrypha were translated from a Latin source.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Shepherds' counting systems: British?
From: David Carter (UK)
Date: 06 Jun 18 - 05:00 PM

Sure, but there is older stuff than Vulgate about. Such as Codex Vaticanus, although that is Greek not Hebrew. And Septuagint, and Peshitta. But I am not sure that there are extant Hebrew versions of the Old Testament from earlier.

So I am not sure whether Threescore and Ten is a translation of an original Hebrew phrase, or of Vulgate, or whether Wyclif made it up.

The problem is that churches get to be theologically possessive about translations.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Shepherds' counting systems: British?
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 06 Jun 18 - 06:00 PM

What is the oldest record of 'three score' that you have found?

If the earliest record of 'three score' is by Wycliffe in 1388, in a translation from the Latin Vulgate, then that suggests it is not a direct translation from the Hebrew.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Shepherds' counting systems: British?
From: David Carter (UK)
Date: 07 Jun 18 - 02:35 AM

What does it say in the Latin Vulgate then? I don't have a copy and I don't read Latin.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Shepherds' counting systems: British?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Jun 18 - 12:58 AM

Here's the Vulgate, in which it's Psalm 89:10:
    dies annorum nostrorum in ipsis septuaginta (70) anni si autem in potentatibus octoginta (80) anni et amplius eorum labor et dolor quoniam supervenit mansuetudo et corripiemur

-Joe, 70 (almost)-


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Shepherds' counting systems: British?
From: David Carter (UK)
Date: 08 Jun 18 - 02:43 AM

Thanks Joe. So the phrase "threescore and ten" is Wyclif's, or otherwise it was in use earlier than his Bible. So I was wrong to cast doubt that it was an English phrase.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Shepherds' counting systems: British?
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 08 Jun 18 - 07:00 AM

Just for interest - some thoughts on 'three score' and 'quatre-vingts'.

https://www.thelocal.fr/20160420/so-how-did-the-french-end-up-with-their-crazy-numbers

Historically, there is more than one method for counting. There is the method that us Anglophones know, which comes from the Romans and is called base ten. This means that everything is based on multiples of ten.

In French too, we see this, up until the seventies when, as we've said, things go weird. Then in comes the "vigesimal system" which used the base 20, hence quatre-vingt-quatre (84).

This is supposedly as they used their feet as well as their hands to count. Fingers and toes included, you get twenty.

Many believe it ended up in French due to the influence of the Celts in France, whose languages use the base 20 system. While others say it was the Viking influence and point to the fact that Danish numbers also works on the base 20 "vigesimal system".

One good example of this is the Paris hospital called “l'Hôpital des Quinze-Vingts” (The Hospital of fifteen-twenty). The hospital was so named because it housed 300 beds and 300 is 15 times 20.

And criticize as we might, the idea of counting in twenties actually used to be part of the English language too. Think back to Abraham Lincoln's famous Gettysburg address and you may remember how without realizing, we know ‘score' to mean twenty:

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty…”

To translate, ‘Four score and seven', means four, twenty and seven, in other words, 4x20 and 7; on exactly the same principle as the French!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Shepherds' counting systems: British?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 08 Jun 18 - 10:07 AM

This is fascinating.

Some francophones uses septante octante nonante.
I knew a Belgian who used Septante, quatre-vingts, nonante. I mean, really.

Meanwhile Hungarian is the only language I've heard of (enlighten me, O do) that has two separate words for the number 2. One is only used in counting 1, 2, 3 etc. The other is used when saying 2 *of* something, like 2 Hungarians or cabbages or whatnots.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Shepherds' counting systems: British?
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 08 Jun 18 - 10:20 AM

Mrrzy

I've heard a couple of words for two.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Shepherds' counting systems: British?
From: Raedwulf
Date: 08 Jun 18 - 10:58 AM

And since no-one, not even Nigel, seems to have noticed, may I just point out that:

the Welsh Equivalent 1 to 10: Un / dau / tri / pedwar / pump / Chwecch / saith / wyth / naw / deg

sits remarkably closely with the French in pronunciation:

un / deux / trois / quatre / cinq / six / sept / huit / neuf / dix.

Reminder to them what hasn't read all the way through: u is pronounced I in Welsh so pump is pimp (ooo-err, etc). In language, d & t are strongly related i.e. two languages on the same branch may swap one for t'other, so pedwar / quatre is not very distant in sound. I'm not certain how Chwecch is pronounced, but I'm guessing not a million miles from 'swiss', albiet with a bit of 'hch' involved... which isn't a million miles from French 'six' (see-sss). The other similarities should be fairly obvious.

Language family tree & all that! ;-)

A thoroughly confusing family tree!

I'm actually slightly surprised that the celtic branch doesn't seem to be directly linked to the Italic branch that leads to French. There is the matter of loan words, of course, but counting, to me, seems a fairly fundamental part of any language.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Shepherds' counting systems: British?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 08 Jun 18 - 11:40 AM

And since no-one, not even Nigel, seems to have noticed, may I just point out that:
the Welsh Equivalent 1 to 10: Un / dau / tri / pedwar / pump / Chwecch / saith / wyth / naw / deg
sits remarkably closely with the French in pronunciation:
un / deux / trois / quatre / cinq / six / sept / huit / neuf / dix.


Unfortunately spelling is not always a guide to pronunciation.
Welsh, een die tree pedwar pimp chwech (thet's two lots of 'ch' as in the scots 'loch') sigh-th, oyth now deg.
French, urn, duh, twa (like the scots) cat-ruh sank cease sept wheat nurf deess.

Not really that much similarity.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Shepherds' counting systems: British?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 08 Jun 18 - 11:50 AM

Raedwulf, as a kid who moved to N Wales mid primary age (to move on to Kent at about 13, and later at about 18 back to N Wales (but never learned to speak Welsh) where we learned to count (the 10 system) and in the later part of that first spell (ie to 2nd year secondary) where we learned to count in French, I'd say the 2 felt similar despite what NP says... But that's just me....


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Shepherds' counting systems: British?
From: Monique
Date: 08 Jun 18 - 06:00 PM

Have a look at The Universal History of Numbers, from page 30 "What is Indo-European".


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Shepherds' counting systems: British?
From: GUEST,Ripov
Date: 08 Jun 18 - 07:09 PM

Thanks Monique. Nice bit of bedtime reading!
The concept of counting by using a list of body parts in the right order made me wonder if the children's song "with my hand on my head......when I went to school" might have deeper roots than it seems?- or even the actions to the "Shepherds Hay", maybe originally mimicking shepherds counting by touching body parts?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Shepherds' counting systems: British?
From: BobL
Date: 09 Jun 18 - 02:22 AM

I know a body-parts song that starts "Touch her on the toe...", although I don't think it has anything to do with counting...

Re. Mrrzy's post of 10:20 yesterday, we have two, twain, couple, pair, brace, duo. Not to mention related words like twice or duet. Any more?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Shepherds' counting systems: British?
From: Will Fly
Date: 09 Jun 18 - 11:54 AM

Deuce.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Shepherds' counting systems: British?
From: Raedwulf
Date: 09 Jun 18 - 04:33 PM

I agree Jon. And disagree, Nigel - I'm not much of a linguist (a keen amateur philologist, yes), but I have picked up a little bit. You're not making sufficient allowance for the way in which sounds morph across languages. Or perhaps you know even less than I! ;-) There's a whole thing, for example, about the way that Persian names are written & pronounced in Ancient Greek. I am not sufficiently knowledgeable to be able to explain the technicalities, but take the well known name Xerxes. That's the Greek version. In modern English, it's generally spelt something along the lines of Khshayarsha.

Which is a bit of a mouthful! ;-) The point is that the Greeks couldn't necessarily wrap their tongues around, and didn't have the letters to represent, some of the sounds that were part of the Persian language, so they said / wrote it as near as they could. Consider your own (I think it was you) explanation some years back & above of how to pronounce 'll'. To a born Welsh speaker, you don't even think about it, to a non-Welsh speaker...

Some sounds are very malleable across tongues, especially related tongues, vowels particularly. 'Ah' doesn't become 'oo', but I can still see a relation between the phonetic Welsh you've given & the French. Many consonantal sounds also easily morph. B & P, D & T, T & Z (perhaps surprisingly, but consider the 'ts' of tsar), V & W, M & N, and many etceteras. I think it has something to do with where the sound is shaped in the mouth (I'm sure you understand what I mean). I know only a little of linguistics but even with your phonetic renderings, yes, I can still see some quite close similarities in pronunciation.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Shepherds' counting systems: British?
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 09 Jun 18 - 04:48 PM

Nigel said;
"Welsh, een die tree pedwar pimp chwech (thet's two lots of 'ch' as in the scots 'loch') sigh-th, oyth now deg.
"French, urn, duh, twa (like the scots) cat-ruh sank cease sept wheat nurf deess."

Although twa can represent a small number in Scots, it usually represents two.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Shepherds' counting systems: British?
From: GUEST,John Greaves
Date: 09 Jun 18 - 05:41 PM

Varied forms in North York Moors area e.g.
I seed ya clubster int meader but I telled nea yan.
I still use twea to mean two. I await someone to elucidate, I am not a dialect expert I just use it!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Shepherds' counting systems: British?
From: Iains
Date: 10 Jun 18 - 05:01 AM

It is interesting if comparing the sheep counting systems around the UK with a comparison between the celtic languages of NW Europe way of counting. It all starts to get very confusing. The sheep counting system seems to borrow from both Brythonic and Goidelic languages.
I do not know if minding your P's and Q's has it's origin here but it neatly summarises the difference.
" one major difference between the two branches of modern Celtic languages, Goidelic and Brythonic. Goidelic languages (Irish, Scottish-Gaelic, and Manx) can also be classified as Q-Celtic, while the Brythonic languages (Breton, Welsh, and Cornish) can be labeled P-Celtic. This difference refers to a sound change whereby the Q-Celtic languages, in branching off from the other Celtic languages, replaced bilabial stops (represented by “P”) with velar stops (represented by “Q”). Hence, questions words in modern Breton such as pe, pet, penaos, peur are cognates with the Irish cé, cad, conas, and cá huair (who, what, how, when)"

https://www.omniglot.com/language/numbers/celtic.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yan_Tan_Tethera

I find it very interesting but also very confusing. I need to put them all in one spreadsheet or use a second screen in order to closely compare them.
There is a school of thought that a single sound shift should not divide a language.


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