Duodecimal

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Not to be confused with Dewey Decimal Classification.

The duodecimal system (also known as base-12 or dozenal) is a positional notation numeral system using twelve as its base. In this system, the number ten may be written as "A", "T", or "X", and the number eleven as "B" or "E". Another common notation, introduced by Sir Isaac Pitman, is to use a rotated "2" (2) for ten and a reversed "3" (3) for eleven. The number twelve (that is, the number written as "12" in the base ten numerical system) is instead written as "10" in duodecimal (meaning "1 dozen and 0 units", instead of "1 ten and 0 units"), whereas the digit string "12" means "1 dozen and 2 units" (i.e. the same number that in decimal is written as "14"). Similarly, in duodecimal "100" means "1 gross", "1000" means "1 great gross", and "0.1" means "1 twelfth" (instead of their decimal meanings "1 hundred", "1 thousand", and "1 tenth").

The number twelve, a superior highly composite number, is the smallest number with four non-trivial factors (2, 3, 4, 6), and the smallest to include as factors all four numbers (1 to 4) within the subitizing range. As a result of this increased factorability of the radix and its divisibility by a wide range of the most elemental numbers (whereas ten has only two non-trivial factors: 2 and 5, with neither 3 nor 4), duodecimal representations fit more easily than decimal ones into many common patterns, as evidenced by the higher regularity observable in the duodecimal multiplication table. As a result, duodecimal has been described as the optimal number system.[1] Of its factors, 2 and 3 are prime, which means the reciprocals of all 3-smooth numbers (such as 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9...) have a terminating representation in duodecimal. In particular, the five most elementary fractions (12, 13, 23, 14 and 34) all have a short terminating representation in duodecimal (0.6, 0.4, 0.8, 0.3 and 0.9, respectively), and twelve is the smallest radix with this feature (because it is the least common multiple of 3 and 4). This all makes it a more convenient number system for computing fractions than most other number systems in common use, such as the decimal, vigesimal, binary, octal and hexadecimal systems, although the sexagesimal system (where the reciprocals of all 5-smooth numbers terminate) does better in this respect (but at the cost of an unwieldy multiplication table and a much larger number of symbols to memorize).

Origin[edit]

In this section, numerals are based on decimal places. For example, 10 means ten, 12 means twelve.

Languages using duodecimal number systems are uncommon. Languages in the Nigerian Middle Belt such as Janji, Gbiri-Niragu (Gure-Kahugu), Piti, and the Nimbia dialect of Gwandara;[2] the Chepang language of Nepal[3] and the Mahl language of Minicoy Island in India are known to use duodecimal numerals. In fiction, J. R. R. Tolkien's Elvish languages use a hybrid decimal–duodecimal system, primarily decimal but with special names for multiples of six.

Germanic languages have special words for 11 and 12, such as eleven and twelve in English, which are often misinterpreted as vestiges of a duodecimal system.[citation needed] However, they are considered to come from Proto-Germanic *ainlif and *twalif (respectively one left and two left), both of which were decimal.[4]

Historically, units of time in many civilizations are duodecimal. There are twelve signs of the zodiac, twelve months in a year, and the Babylonians had twelve hours in a day (although at some point this was changed to 24). Traditional Chinese calendars, clocks, and compasses are based on the twelve Earthly Branches. There are 12 inches in an imperial foot, 12 ounces in a troy pound, 12 old British pence in a shilling, 24 (12×2) hours in a day, and many other items counted by the dozen, gross (144, square of 12) or great gross (1728, cube of 12). The Romans used a fraction system based on 12, including the uncia which became both the English words ounce and inch. Pre-decimalisation, Ireland and the United Kingdom used a mixed duodecimal-vigesimal currency system (12 pence = 1 shilling, 20 shillings or 240 pence to the pound sterling or Irish pound), and Charlemagne established a monetary system that also had a mixed base of twelve and twenty, the remnants of which persist in many places.

The importance of 12 has been attributed to the number of lunar cycles in a year, and also to the fact that humans have 12 finger bones (phalanges) on one hand (three on each of four fingers).[5] It is possible to count to 12 with your thumb acting as a pointer, touching each finger bone in turn. A traditional finger counting system still in use in many regions of Asia works in this way, and could help to explain the occurrence of numeral systems based on 12 and 60 besides those based on 10, 20 and 5. In this system, the one (usually right) hand counts repeatedly to 12, displaying the number of iterations on the other (usually left), until five dozens, i. e. the 60, are full.[6][7]

Places[edit]

In a duodecimal place system, ten can be written as 2, ᘔ, or ; eleven can be written as 3, Ɛ, or ; and twelve is written as 10. For alternative symbols, see below.

According to this notation, duodecimal 50 expresses the same quantity as decimal 60 (= five times twelve), duodecimal 60 is equivalent to decimal 72 (= six times twelve = half a gross), duodecimal 100 has the same value as decimal 144 (= twelve times twelve = one gross), etc.

Comparison to other numeral systems[edit]

A dozenal multiplication table

The number 12 has six factors, which are 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 12, of which 2 and 3 are prime. The decimal system has only four factors, which are 1, 2, 5, and 10; of which 2 and 5 are prime. Vigesimal adds two factors to those of ten, namely 4 and 20, but no additional prime factor. Although twenty has 6 factors, 2 of them prime, similarly to twelve, it is also a much larger base (i.e., the digit set and the multiplication table are much larger). Binary has only two factors, 1 and 2, the latter being prime. Hexadecimal has five factors, adding 4, 8 and 16 to those of 2, but no additional prime. Trigesimal is the smallest system that has three different prime factors (all of the three smallest primes: 2, 3 and 5) and it has eight factors in total (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 10, 15, and 30). Sexagesimal—which the ancient Sumerians and Babylonians among others actually used—adds the four convenient factors 4, 12, 20, and 60 to this but no new prime factors. The smallest system that has four different prime factors is base 210 and the pattern follows the primorials. In all base systems, there are similarities to the representation of multiples of numbers which are one less than the base.

Conversion tables to and from decimal[edit]

To convert numbers between bases, one can use the general conversion algorithm (see the relevant section under positional notation). Alternatively, one can use digit-conversion tables. The ones provided below can be used to convert any duodecimal number between 0.01 and ƐƐƐ,ƐƐƐ.ƐƐ to decimal, or any decimal number between 0.01 and 999,999.99 to duodecimal. To use them, the given number must first be decomposed into a sum of numbers with only one significant digit each. For example:

123,456.78 = 100,000 + 20,000 + 3,000 + 400 + 50 + 6 + 0.7 + 0.08

This decomposition works the same no matter what base the number is expressed in. Just isolate each non-zero digit, padding them with as many zeros as necessary to preserve their respective place values. If the digits in the given number include zeroes (for example, 102,304.05), these are, of course, left out in the digit decomposition (102,304.05 = 100,000 + 2,000 + 300 + 4 + 0.05). Then the digit conversion tables can be used to obtain the equivalent value in the target base for each digit. If the given number is in duodecimal and the target base is decimal, we get:

(duodecimal) 100,000 + 20,000 + 3,000 + 400 + 50 + 6 + 0.7 + 0.08 = (decimal) 248,832 + 41,472 + 5,184 + 576 + 60 + 6 + 0.583333333333... + 0.055555555555...

Now, because the summands are already converted to base ten, the usual decimal arithmetic is used to perform the addition and recompose the number, arriving at the conversion result:

Duodecimal  ----->  Decimal

  100,000     =    248,832
   20,000     =     41,472
    3,000     =      5,184
      400     =        576
       50     =         60
 +      6     =   +      6
        0.7   =          0.583333333333...
        0.08  =          0.055555555555...
--------------------------------------------
  123,456.78  =    296,130.638888888888...

That is, (duodecimal) 123,456.78 equals (decimal) 296,130.638 ≈ 296,130.64

If the given number is in decimal and the target base is duodecimal, the method is basically same. Using the digit conversion tables:

(decimal) 100,000 + 20,000 + 3,000 + 400 + 50 + 6 + 0.7 + 0.08 = (duodecimal) 49,ᘔ54 + Ɛ,6ᘔ8 + 1,8ᘔ0 + 294 + 42 + 6 + 0.849724972497249724972497... + 0.0Ɛ62ᘔ68781Ɛ05915343ᘔ0Ɛ62...

However, in order to do this sum and recompose the number, now the addition tables for the duodecimal system have to be used, instead of the addition tables for decimal most people are already familiar with, because the summands are now in base twelve and so the arithmetic with them has to be in duodecimal as well. In decimal, 6 + 6 equals 12, but in duodecimal it equals 10; so, if using decimal arithmetic with duodecimal numbers one would arrive at an incorrect result. Doing the arithmetic properly in duodecimal, one gets the result:

  Decimal  ----->  Duodecimal

  100,000     =     49,ᘔ54
   20,000     =      Ɛ,6ᘔ8
    3,000     =      1,8ᘔ0
      400     =        294
       50     =         42
 +      6     =   +      6
        0.7   =          0.849724972497249724972497...
        0.08  =          0.0Ɛ62ᘔ68781Ɛ05915343ᘔ0Ɛ62...
--------------------------------------------------------
  123,456.78  =     5Ɛ,540.943ᘔ0Ɛ62ᘔ68781Ɛ05915343ᘔ...

That is, (decimal) 123,456.78 equals (duodecimal) 5Ɛ,540.943ᘔ0Ɛ62ᘔ68781Ɛ059153... ≈ 5Ɛ,540.94

Duodecimal to decimal digit conversion[edit]

Duod. Dec. Duod. Dec. Duod. Dec. Duod. Dec. Duod. Dec. Duod. Dec. Duod. Dec. Duod. Dec.
100,000 248,832 10,000 20,736 1,000 1,728 100 144 10 12 1 1 0.1 0.083 0.01 0.00694
200,000 497,664 20,000 41,472 2,000 3,456 200 288 20 24 2 2 0.2 0.16 0.02 0.0138
300,000 746,496 30,000 62,208 3,000 5,184 300 432 30 36 3 3 0.3 0.25 0.03 0.02083
400,000 995,328 40,000 82,944 4,000 6,912 400 576 40 48 4 4 0.4 0.3 0.04 0.027
500,000 1,244,160 50,000 103,680 5,000 8,640 500 720 50 60 5 5 0.5 0.416 0.05 0.03472
600,000 1,492,992 60,000 124,416 6,000 10,368 600 864 60 72 6 6 0.6 0.5 0.06 0.0416
700,000 1,741,824 70,000 145,152 7,000 12,096 700 1008 70 84 7 7 0.7 0.583 0.07 0.04861
800,000 1,990,656 80,000 165,888 8,000 13,824 800 1152 80 96 8 8 0.8 0.6 0.08 0.05
900,000 2,239,488 90,000 186,624 9,000 15,552 900 1,296 90 108 9 9 0.9 0.75 0.09 0.0625
ᘔ00,000 2,488,320 ᘔ0,000 207,360 ᘔ,000 17,280 ᘔ00 1,440 ᘔ0 120 10 0.ᘔ 0.83 0.0ᘔ 0.0694
Ɛ00,000 2,737,152 Ɛ0,000 228,096 Ɛ,000 19,008 Ɛ00 1,584 Ɛ0 132 Ɛ 11 0.Ɛ 0.916 0.0Ɛ 0.07638

Decimal to duodecimal digit conversion[edit]

Dec. Duod. Dec. Duod. Dec. Duod. Dec. Duod. Dec. Duod. Dec. Duod. Dec. Duod. Dec. Duod.
100,000 49,ᘔ54 10,000 5,954 1,000 6Ɛ4 100 84 10 1 1 0.1 0.12497 0.01 0.015343ᘔ0Ɛ62ᘔ68781Ɛ059
200,000 97,8ᘔ8 20,000 Ɛ,6ᘔ8 2,000 1,1ᘔ8 200 148 20 18 2 2 0.2 0.2497 0.02 0.02ᘔ68781Ɛ05915343ᘔ0Ɛ6
300,000 125,740 30,000 15,440 3,000 1,8ᘔ0 300 210 30 26 3 3 0.3 0.37249 0.03 0.043ᘔ0Ɛ62ᘔ68781Ɛ059153
400,000 173,594 40,000 1Ɛ,194 4,000 2,394 400 294 40 34 4 4 0.4 0.4972 0.04 0.05915343ᘔ0Ɛ62ᘔ68781Ɛ
500,000 201,428 50,000 24,Ɛ28 5,000 2,ᘔ88 500 358 50 42 5 5 0.5 0.6 0.05 0.07249
600,000 24Ɛ,280 60,000 2ᘔ,880 6,000 3,580 600 420 60 50 6 6 0.6 0.7249 0.06 0.08781Ɛ05915343ᘔ0Ɛ62ᘔ6
700,000 299,114 70,000 34,614 7,000 4,074 700 4ᘔ4 70 5ᘔ 7 7 0.7 0.84972 0.07 0.0ᘔ0Ɛ62ᘔ68781Ɛ05915343
800,000 326,Ɛ68 80,000 3ᘔ,368 8,000 4,768 800 568 80 68 8 8 0.8 0.9724 0.08 0.0Ɛ62ᘔ68781Ɛ05915343ᘔ
900,000 374,ᘔ00 90,000 44,100 9,000 5,260 900 630 90 76 9 9 0.9 0.ᘔ9724 0.09 0.10Ɛ62ᘔ68781Ɛ05915343ᘔ

Conversion of powers[edit]

Exponent b=2 b=3 b=4 b=5 b=6 b=7
Dec. Duod. Dec. Duod. Dec. Duod. Dec. Duod. Dec. Duod. Dec. Duod.
b6 64 54 729 509 4,096 2454 15,625 9,061 46,656 23,000 117,649 58,101
b5 32 28 243 183 1,024 714 3,125 1,985 7,776 4,600 16,807 9,887
b4 16 14 81 69 256 194 625 441 1,296 900 2,401 1,481
b3 8 8 27 23 64 54 125 ᘔ5 216 160 343 247
b2 4 4 9 9 16 14 25 21 36 30 49 41
b1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7
b−1 0.5 0.6 0.3 0.4 0.25 0.3 0.2 0.2497 0.16 0.2 0.142857 0.186ᘔ35
b−2 0.25 0.3 0.1 0.14 0.0625 0.09 0.04 0.05915343ᘔ0
Ɛ62ᘔ68781Ɛ
0.027 0.04 0.0204081632653
06122448979591
836734693877551
0.02Ɛ322547ᘔ05ᘔ
644ᘔ9380Ɛ908996
741Ɛ615771283Ɛ
Exponent b=8 b=9 b=10 b=11 b=12
Dec. Duod. Dec. Duod. Dec. Duod. Dec. Duod. Dec. Duod.
b6 262,144 107,854 531,441 217,669 1,000,000 402,854 1,771,561 715,261 2,985,984 1,000,000
b5 32,768 16,Ɛ68 59,049 2ᘔ,209 100,000 49,ᘔ54 161,051 79,24Ɛ 248,832 100,000
b4 4,096 2,454 6,561 3,969 10,000 5,954 14,641 8,581 20,736 10,000
b3 512 368 729 509 1,000 6Ɛ4 1,331 92Ɛ 1,728 1,000
b2 64 54 81 69 100 84 121 ᘔ1 144 100
b1 8 8 9 9 10 11 Ɛ 12 10
b−1 0.125 0.16 0.1 0.14 0.1 0.12497 0.09 0.1 0.083 0.1
b−2 0.015625 0.023 0.012345679 0.0194 0.01 0.015343ᘔ0Ɛ6
2ᘔ68781Ɛ059
0.00826446280
99173553719
0.0123456789Ɛ 0.00694 0.01

Fractions and irrational numbers[edit]

Fractions[edit]

Duodecimal fractions may be simple:

  • 12 = 0.6
  • 13 = 0.4
  • 14 = 0.3
  • 16 = 0.2
  • 18 = 0.16
  • 19 = 0.14

or complicated

  • 15 = 0.24972497... recurring (easily rounded to 0.25)
  • 17 = 0.186ᘔ35186ᘔ35... recurring (easily rounded to 0.187)
  • 1 = 0.124972497... recurring (rounded to 0.125)
  • 1Ɛ = 0.11111... recurring (rounded to 0.11)
  • 111 = 0.0Ɛ0Ɛ... recurring (rounded to 0.0Ɛ)
Examples in duodecimal Decimal equivalent
1 × (58) = 0.76 1 × (58) = 0.625
100 × (58) = 76 144 × (58) = 90
5769 = 76 8109 = 90
4009 = 54 5769 = 64
1ᘔ.6 + 7.6 = 26 22.5 + 7.5 = 30

As explained in recurring decimals, whenever an irreducible fraction is written in radix point notation in any base, the fraction can be expressed exactly (terminates) if and only if all the prime factors of its denominator are also prime factors of the base. Thus, in base-ten (= 2×5) system, fractions whose denominators are made up solely of multiples of 2 and 5 terminate: 18 = 1(2×2×2), 120 = 1(2×2×5) and 1500 = 1(2×2×5×5×5) can be expressed exactly as 0.125, 0.05 and 0.002 respectively. 13 and 17, however, recur (0.333... and 0.142857142857...). In the duodecimal (= 2×2×3) system, 18 is exact; 120 and 1500 recur because they include 5 as a factor; 13 is exact; and 17 recurs, just as it does in decimal.

Recurring digits[edit]

The Dozenal Society of America argues that factors of 3 are more commonly encountered in real-life division problems than factors of 5.[8] Thus, in practical applications, the nuisance of recurring decimals is encountered less often when duodecimal notation is used. Advocates of duodecimal systems argue that this is particularly true of financial calculations, in which the twelve months of the year often enter into calculations.

However, when recurring fractions do occur in duodecimal notation, they are less likely to have a very short period than in decimal notation, because 12 (twelve) is between two prime numbers, 11 (eleven) and 13 (thirteen), whereas ten is adjacent to composite number 9. Nonetheless, having a shorter or longer period doesn't help the main inconvenience that one does not get a finite representation for such fractions in the given base (so rounding, which introduces inexactitude, is necessary to handle them in calculations), and overall one is more likely to have to deal with infinite recurring digits when fractions are expressed in decimal than in duodecimal, because one out of every three consecutive numbers contains the prime factor 3 in its factorization, whereas only one out of every five contains the prime factor 5. All other prime factors, except 2, are not shared by either ten or twelve, so they do not influence the relative likeliness of encountering recurring digits (any irreducible fraction that contains any of these other factors in its denominator will recur in either base). Also, the prime factor 2 appears twice in the factorization of twelve, whereas only once in the factorization of ten; which means that most fractions whose denominators are powers of two will have a shorter, more convenient terminating representation in dozenal than in decimal (e.g., 1/(22) = 0.25 dec = 0.3 doz; 1/(23) = 0.125 dec = 0.16 doz; 1/(24) = 0.0625 dec = 0.09 doz; 1/(25) = 0.03125 dec = 0.046 doz; etc.).

Values in bold indicate that value is exact.

Decimal base
Prime factors of the base: 2, 5
Prime factors of one below the base: 3
Prime factors of one above the base: 11
Duodecimal / Dozenal base
Prime factors of the base: 2, 3
Prime factors of one below the base: Ɛ
Prime factors of one above the base: 11
Fraction Prime factors
of the denominator
Positional representation Positional representation Prime factors
of the denominator
Fraction
1/2 2 0.5 0.6 2 1/2
1/3 3 0.3333... = 0.3 0.4 3 1/3
1/4 2 0.25 0.3 2 1/4
1/5 5 0.2 0.24972497... = 0.2497 5 1/5
1/6 2, 3 0.16 0.2 2, 3 1/6
1/7 7 0.142857 0.186ᘔ35 7 1/7
1/8 2 0.125 0.16 2 1/8
1/9 3 0.1 0.14 3 1/9
1/10 2, 5 0.1 0.12497 2, 5 1/ᘔ
1/11 11 0.09 0.1 Ɛ 1/Ɛ
1/12 2, 3 0.083 0.1 2, 3 1/10
1/13 13 0.076923 0. 11 1/11
1/14 2, 7 0.0714285 0.0ᘔ35186 2, 7 1/12
1/15 3, 5 0.06 0.09724 3, 5 1/13
1/16 2 0.0625 0.09 2 1/14
1/17 17 0.0588235294117647 0.08579214Ɛ36429ᘔ7 15 1/15
1/18 2, 3 0.05 0.08 2, 3 1/16
1/19 19 0.052631578947368421 0.076Ɛ45 17 1/17
1/20 2, 5 0.05 0.07249 2, 5 1/18
1/21 3, 7 0.047619 0.06ᘔ3518 3, 7 1/19
1/22 2, 11 0.045 0.06 2, Ɛ 1/1ᘔ
1/23 23 0.0434782608695652173913 0.06316948421 1/1Ɛ
1/24 2, 3 0.0416 0.06 2, 3 1/20
1/25 5 0.04 0.05915343ᘔ0Ɛ62ᘔ68781Ɛ 5 1/21
1/26 2, 13 0.0384615 0.056 2, 11 1/22
1/27 3 0.037 0.054 3 1/23
1/28 2, 7 0.03571428 0.05186ᘔ3 2, 7 1/24
1/29 29 0.0344827586206896551724137931 0.04Ɛ7 25 1/25
1/30 2, 3, 5 0.03 0.04972 2, 3, 5 1/26
1/31 31 0.032258064516129 0.0478ᘔᘔ093598166Ɛ74311Ɛ28623ᘔ55 27 1/27
1/32 2 0.03125 0.046 2 1/28
1/33 3, 11 0.03 0.04 3, Ɛ 1/29
1/34 2, 17 0.02941176470588235 0.0429ᘔ708579214Ɛ36 2, 15 1/2ᘔ
1/35 5, 7 0.0285714 0.0414559Ɛ3931 5, 7 1/2Ɛ
1/36 2, 3 0.027 0.04 2, 3 1/30

Irrational numbers[edit]

As for irrational numbers, none of them have a finite representation in any of the rational-based positional number systems (such as the decimal and duodecimal ones); this is because a rational-based positional number system is essentially nothing but a way of expressing quantities as a sum of fractions whose denominators are powers of the base, and by definition no finite sum of rational numbers can ever result in an irrational number. For example, 123.456 = 1 × 102 + 2 × 101 + 3 × 100 + 4 × 1/101 + 5 × 1/102 + 6 × 1/103 (this is also the reason why fractions that contain prime factors in their denominator not in common with those of the base do not have a terminating representation in that base). Moreover, the infinite series of digits of an irrational number does not exhibit a pattern of repetition; instead, the different digits succeed in a seemingly random fashion. The following chart compares the first few digits of the decimal and duodecimal representation of several of the most important algebraic and transcendental irrational numbers. Some of these numbers may be perceived as having fortuitous patterns, making them easier to memorize, when represented in one base or the other.

Algebraic irrational number In decimal In duodecimal / dozenal
√2 (the length of the diagonal of a unit square) 1.41421356237309... (≈ 1.4142) 1.4Ɛ79170ᘔ07Ɛ857... (≈ 1.5)
√3 (the length of the diagonal of a unit cube, or twice the height of an equilateral triangle of unit side) 1.73205080756887... (≈ 1.732) 1.894Ɛ97ƐƐ968704... (≈ 1.895)
√5 (the length of the diagonal of a 1×2 rectangle) 2.2360679774997... (≈ 2.236) 2.29ƐƐ132540589... (≈ 2.2ᘔ)
φ (phi, the golden ratio = \scriptstyle \frac{1+\sqrt{5}}{2}) 1.6180339887498... (≈ 1.618) 1.74ƐƐ6772802ᘔ4... (≈ 1.75)
Transcendental irrational number In decimal In duodecimal / dozenal
π (pi, the ratio of circumference to diameter) 3.1415926535897932384626433
8327950288419716939937510...
(≈ 3.1416)
3.184809493Ɛ918664573ᘔ6211Ɛ
Ɛ151551ᘔ05729290ᘔ7809ᘔ492...
(≈ 3.1848)
e (the base of the natural logarithm) 2.718281828459045... (≈ 2.718) 2.8752360698219Ɛ8... (≈ 2.875)

The first few digits of the decimal and dozenal representation of another important number, the Euler–Mascheroni constant (the status of which as a rational or irrational number is not yet known), are:

Number In decimal In duodecimal / dozenal
γ (the limiting difference between the harmonic series and the natural logarithm) 0.57721566490153... (~ 0.577) 0.6Ɛ15188ᘔ6760Ɛ3... (~ 0.7)

Advocacy and "dozenalism"[edit]

The case for the duodecimal system was put forth at length in F. Emerson Andrews' 1935 book New Numbers: How Acceptance of a Duodecimal Base Would Simplify Mathematics. Emerson noted that, due to the prevalence of factors of twelve in many traditional units of weight and measure, many of the computational advantages claimed for the metric system could be realized either by the adoption of ten-based weights and measure or by the adoption of the duodecimal number system.

Rather than the symbols "A" for ten and "B" for eleven as used in hexadecimal notation and vigesimal notation (or "T" and "E" for ten and eleven), he suggested in his book and used a script X and a script E, x\! (U+1D4B3) and Scripte.png (U+2130), to represent the digits ten and eleven respectively, because, at least on a page of Roman script, these characters were distinct from any existing letters or numerals, yet were readily available in printers' fonts. He chose x\! for its resemblance to the Roman numeral X, and Scripte.png as the first letter of the word "eleven".

Another popular notation, introduced by Sir Isaac Pitman, is to use a rotated 2 (ᘔ) (resembling a script τ for "ten") to represent ten and a rotated or horizontally flipped 3 (Ɛ) (which again resembles ε) to represent eleven. This is the convention commonly employed by the Dozenal Society of Great Britain and has the advantage of being easily recognizable as digits because of their resemblance in shape to existing digits. On the other hand, the Dozenal Society of America adopted for some years the convention of using an asterisk * for ten and a hash # for eleven. The reason was that the symbol * resembles a struck-through X, whereas the symbol # resembles a doubly-struck-through 11, and both symbols are already present in telephone dials. However, critics pointed out these symbols do not look anything like digits. Some other systems write 10 as Φ (a combination of 1 and 0) and eleven as a cross of two lines (+, x, or † for example).

Problems with these symbols are evident, most notably that most of them cannot be represented in the seven-segment display of most calculator displays (Scripte.png being an exception, although "E" is used on calculators to indicate an error message). However, 10 and 11 do fit, both within a single digit (11 fits as is, whereas the 10 has to be tilted sideways, resulting in a character that resembles an O with a macron, ō or o). A and B also fit (although B must be represented as lowercase "b" and as such, 6 must have a bar over it to distinguish the two figures) and are used on calculators for bases higher than ten.

Other problems relate to the current usage of most of the proposed symbols as variables or quantities in physics and mathematics. Of particular concern to mathematicians is x\! which has ubiquitous usage as an unknown quantity in algebra.

In "Little Twelvetoes", American television series Schoolhouse Rock! portrayed an alien child using base-twelve arithmetic, using "dek", "el" and "doh" as names for ten, eleven and twelve, and Andrews' script-X and script-E for the digit symbols. ("Dek" is from the prefix "deca", "el" being short for "eleven" and "doh" an apparent shortening of "dozen".)[9]

A dozenal clockface as in the logo of the Dozenal Society of America, here used to denote musical keys

The Dozenal Society of America and the Dozenal Society of Great Britain promote widespread adoption of the base-twelve system. They use the word "dozenal" instead of "duodecimal" because the latter comes from Latin roots that express twelve in base-ten terminology.

The renowned mathematician and mental calculator Alexander Craig Aitken was an outspoken advocate of the advantages and superiority of duodecimal over decimal:

The duodecimal tables are easy to master, easier than the decimal ones; and in elementary teaching they would be so much more interesting, since young children would find more fascinating things to do with twelve rods or blocks than with ten. Anyone having these tables at command will do these calculations more than one-and-a-half times as fast in the duodecimal scale as in the decimal. This is my experience; I am certain that even more so it would be the experience of others.

—A. C. Aitken, in The Listener, January 25, 1962[10]

But the final quantitative advantage, in my own experience, is this: in varied and extensive calculations of an ordinary and not unduly complicated kind, carried out over many years, I come to the conclusion that the efficiency of the decimal system might be rated at about 65 or less, if we assign 100 to the duodecimal.

—A. C. Aitken, The Case Against Decimalisation (Edinburgh / London: Oliver & Boyd, 1962)[11]

In Leo Frankowski's Conrad Stargard novels, Conrad introduces a duodecimal system of arithmetic at the suggestion of a merchant, who is accustomed to buying and selling goods in dozens and grosses, rather than tens or hundreds. He then invents an entire system of weights and measures in base twelve, including a clock with twelve hours in a day, rather than twenty-four hours.

In Lee Carroll's Kryon: Alchemy of the Human Spirit, a chapter is dedicated to the advantages of the duodecimal system. The duodecimal system is supposedly suggested by Kryon (one of the widely popular New Age channeled entities) for all-round use, aiming at better and more natural representation of nature of the Universe through mathematics. An individual article "Mathematica" by James D. Watt (included in the above publication) exposes a few of the unusual symmetry connections between the duodecimal system and the golden ratio, as well as provides numerous number symmetry-based arguments for the universal nature of the base-12 number system.[12]

Dozenal clock[edit]

Dozenal metric systems[edit]

Systems of measurement proposed by dozenalists include:

Duodecimal digits on computerized writing systems[edit]

Dozenal gb 10.svg Dozenal gb 11.svg
Dozenal us 10.svg Dozenal us 11.svg

In March 2013, a proposal was submitted to include the digits for ten and eleven propagated by the Dozenal Societies of Great Britain and America in Unicode.[15] In June 2013, this was partially accepted, advising for the British digits the provisional code points U+218A turned digit two and U+218B turned digit three.[16] By this, the actual availability as Unicode characters can be expected for 2016 (1200doz.). As of Unicode 7.0, which was released in June 2014, the two digits are not yet officially part of the Unicode standard.

Also, the turned digits two and three are available in LaTeX as \textturntwo and \textturnthree.[17]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ George Dvorsky (2013-01-18). "Why We Should Switch To A Base-12 Counting System". Retrieved 2013-12-21. 
  2. ^ Matsushita, Shuji (1998). "Decimal vs. Duodecimal: An interaction between two systems of numeration". 2nd Meeting of the AFLANG, October 1998, Tokyo. Archived from the original on 2008-10-05. Retrieved 2011-05-29 
  3. ^ Mazaudon, Martine (2002). "Les principes de construction du nombre dans les langues tibéto-birmanes". In François, Jacques. La Pluralité. Leuven: Peeters. pp. 91–119. ISBN 90-429-1295-2 
  4. ^ von Mengden, Ferdinand (2006). "The peculiarities of the Old English numeral system". In Nikolaus Ritt, Herbert Schendl, Christiane Dalton-Puffer, Dieter Kastovsky. Medieval English and its Heritage: Structure Meaning and Mechanisms of Change. Studies in English Medieval Language and Literature 16. Frankfurt: Peter Lang Pub. pp. 125–45. 
    von Mengden, Ferdinand (2010). Cardinal Numerals: Old English from a Cross-Linguistic Perspective. Topics in English Linguistics 67. Berlin; New York: De Gruyter Mouton. pp. 159–161. 
  5. ^ Nishikawa, Yoshiaki (2002). "ヒマラヤの満月と十二進法 (The Full Moon in the Himalayas and the Duodecimal System)". Retrieved 2008-03-24 [dead link]
  6. ^ Ifrah, Georges (2000). The Universal History of Numbers: From prehistory to the invention of the computer. John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 0-471-39340-1 . Translated from the French by David Bellos, E.F. Harding, Sophie Wood and Ian Monk.
  7. ^ Macey, Samuel L. (1989). The Dynamics of Progress: Time, Method, and Measure. Atlanta, Georgia: University of Georgia Press. p. 92. ISBN 978-0-8203-3796-8 
  8. ^ http://www.dozenal.org/articles/DSA-DozenalFAQs.pdf
  9. ^ "Little Twelvetoes"[dead link]
  10. ^ Basic Stuff[dead link]
  11. ^ The Case against Decimalisation
  12. ^ Kryon—Alchemy of the Human Spirit, ISBN 0-9636304-8-2
  13. ^ Pendlebury, Tom. "TGM". 
  14. ^ Suga, Takashi. "Universal Unit System". 
  15. ^ Karl Pentzlin (2013-03-30). "Proposal to encode Duodecimal Digit Forms in the UCS" (PDF) (in English). ISO/IEC JTC1/SC2/WG2, Document N4399. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  16. ^ "Subdivision of work – Amendment 1 10646 4th edition" (PDF) (in English). ISO/IEC JTC1/SC2/WG2, Document N4465. 2013-06-20. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  17. ^ Scott Pakin (2009-11-09). "The Comprehensive LATEX Symbol List" (PDF; 4,4 MB) (in English). Retrieved 2013-02-04. 

External links[edit]