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What are the different types of numerals used in everyday life?
Where do our number system originate from?
Where do the + and - signs come from?
What sign is 0, + or -? Explain

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Jan 10, 2011
math - numerals
by: Staff

The question:


What are the different types of numerals used in everyday life?

Where does our number system originate from?

Where do the + and - signs come from?

What sign is 0, + or -?

Explain


The answer:


What are the different types of numerals used in everyday life?

Numerals are symbols which stand for numbers. In English, the numerals 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 are used in everyday life. This number system is a decimal based notation system.

Originally every language had its own set of numerals. For example, the Greek, Roman, Hindu, Japanese, Egyptian, Babylonian, and Mayan civilizations all used different symbols to stand for the same numbers.

Some of these non-English symbols are commonly used in English as well. For example, Roman numerals are routinely used on clock faces.

But the differences in numerals from culture to culture can go much deeper than different symbols which stand for the same thing. Different cultures sometimes used a different number base for their notation systems.

The English system uses a number base of 10. This means that an English speaking student must memorize ten different numeric symbols: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. By contrast, the ancient Babylonian system used a sexagesimal (base of 60) positional number system. A student in Babylon was required to memorize and use 60 different numeric symbols. The ancient Celtic system used a number base of 5. Therefore, a Celtic student needs only to memorize 5 numerical symbols. People speaking the Pamean languages of Mexico used a number base of 8 (octal notation). In this case, a student needed to memorize 8 numerical symbols.

Today, there is another numeral system which is being used extensively on a day to day basis. This is the binary number system used in computers. The binary system uses a number base of 2.

The binary system is a two number notational system. It uses only two numerals: 0 and 1. (compare this to the English system which uses ten numerals: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9).


Where does our number system originate from?

Originally, number systems undoubtedly originated as solutions to rather mundane, routine problems associated with everyday living. Without a written language, anyone could hold up two fingers to represent the number 2. Anyone could pile up 25 rocks or 25 sticks to represent the number twenty-five. Anyone could draw 11 lines on the ground to represent the number eleven. And so on …

Eventually, every culture substituted symbols for lines drawn on the ground, or piles of sticks.


Where do the + and - signs come from?

The + and – symbols do not appear to be widely used before the 1500’s. Apparently “P” and “M” stood for plus and minus before that time.


What sign is 0, + or -?

0 is not positive or negative. It does not have a sign.


Thanks for writing.

Staff
www.solving-math-problems.com

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