Talk:Hindu–Arabic numeral system

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The "Kannada and Telugu" numbers should be Telugu only. Kannada numbers are not the same. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 116.15.118.128 (talk) 23:59, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

Western numerals are used West of Egypt[edit]

Please see this page from the American Academy of Actuaries as an example of verificaiton and find this sentence.

"(Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya use only Western numerals.)"[1]

I will therefore modify the article to this effect. Regards. csssclll (23:09, 13 December 2005 (UTC))

Deeptrivia, I put the quote just as it appeared on the page, verbatim, please explain your phrase "Reference says exactly opposite of what you claimed!" csssclll (23:25, 13 December 2005 (UTC))
Sorry that was my mistake. That's why I reverted the page. Now answer the question below or revert the page back to how it was. deeptrivia (talk) 23:45, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Deeptrivia, let's talk here please[edit]

You left some of the content changes I made intact, and made some punctuation changes I was too tired to pay attention to last night, so I thank you for all that and I assume good will. Let's discuss things here, please. Regards and thanks. csssclll (23:21, 13 December 2005 (UTC))

Is Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya part of the WORLD or not? Doesn't the article say these are used "worldwide"? Why should we mention those four countries in particular? If we start making a list, there will be a list of more than 150 countries using "only" these symbols, and no other symbols at all. deeptrivia (talk) 23:23, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
Deeptrivia, thanks a lot. Because those are the Arabic (Western) Numerals and those 4 countries are Arabic countries and are the countries with which these numerals are associated whether for Europeans or Arabs; this is not the case for more than 150 countries of the world. I agree though that the countries need not be named (the literal quote I insterted for verification as you requested) and a phrase such as "used in western parts of the Arab world, west of Egypt" would suffice, to mirror the one below for Arabic-Indic numerals. Also, as it stands, its placement could be altered. The phrase "used in western parts of the Arab world, west of Egypt" could precede "western countries and worldwide". csssclll (23:49, 13 December 2005 (UTC))

The phrase "standard Arabic numerals"[edit]

Deeptrivia, I looked at the phrase "standard Arabic numerals" yesterday. In the English language, in general usage, when the phrase "standard Arabic numerals" is used it usually (in fact, almost always) refers to Western numerals (1, 2, 3, 4). Here are examples (find the phrase "standard Arabic numerals) [2] [3] [4] "The numbers shall be standard Arabic numerals (i.e., 1234)" [5], and many, many more examples.

As for calling the Arabic-Indic numerals the "standard Arabic numerals", this seems mostly in relation to Eastern Arabic-Indic numerals, the ones used in Iran and Pakistan. This is for the English language; the Arabs, as you know already, just call them the Indian numerals.

Google it and you'll see. And let me know what you find. Regards, and thanks. csssclll (00:08, 14 December 2005 (UTC))

Please insert only numerals that use the Hindu-Arabic numeral system[edit]

The numeral symbol set:

  • MUST have a symbol for ZERO.
  • MUST be a DECIMAL, POSITIONAL system. This means "thirty" is represented using "3" and "0"

For example Brahmi numerals are not included in the list because they do not satisfy the above two properties. deeptrivia (talk) 01:38, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

Comment accepted, I removed Arabic-Rwmy numerals. Regards. csssclll (01:43, 14 December 2005 (UTC))

Image, Brahmi numerals[edit]

Where does this image come from? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Indian_numerals_100AD.gif What's its source? I request verification to a reliable please, otherwise I may be obliged to remove it. Thanks csssclll(04:00, 13 December 2005 (UTC))

Look at [6], your favorite source. deeptrivia (talk) 02:01, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
Thanks deeptrivia. Acknowledged and accepted, regards. csssclll (18:29, 14 December 2005 (UTC))

Redirect[edit]

I'm not sure why it was changed, but it makes a lot more sense for this (Hindu-Arabic numerals) to redirect to Arabic numerals than to have Hindu-Arabic numeral system redirect here.

All of you latecomers to this discussion need to read all that has been discussed before making unilateral changes like that. Articles called "Numerals" should refer to the numeral symbols; Articles called "Numeral system" will refer to the numeral system. Of all the things argued about, that was one that probably almost everyone agreed on. Peyna 18:44, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

I agree. The term "Hindu-Arabic numerals" is used for the symbols "0".."9". deeptrivia (talk) 18:48, 3 January 2006 (UTC)
ok, I moved the article back to "system". But how would you call the ensemble of glyphs including [۰,۱,۲, ۳, ۴, ۵, ۶, ۷, ۸, ۹], [0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9], and all intervening shapes occurring in Early Modern documents? They are all the same system, and the glyphs are morphing into one another over time. If "Hindu-Arabic numerals" redirects to the Western variant, people will be tempted to add generic information about the system there, leading to the conflict you just had. Maybe we need Hindu-Arabic numerals (glyphs) vs. Hindu-Arabic numerals (system) with Hindu-Arabic numerals a dab page. But if you insist on reserving "Hindu-Arabic" for the Western glyphs for some reason, that still leaves us without a name for the system itself (and the symbols are of course inseparable from the system). dab () 19:24, 3 January 2006 (UTC)
There is only one system. The concepts of base 10, and place value, and zero are identical everywhere. So there are no Western and Eastern variants of the system itself. The only difference is in the glyphs. There should be one article on the Hindu-Arabic numerals (for "Western" symbols "0","1", ...), one article on Indian glyph variants (since there isn't much to say about these individual glyphs to merit a separate article) and one Hindu-Arabic numeral system. It would be fine to have Hindu-Arabic numerals (glyphs) and Hindu-Arabic numerals (system) with Hindu-Arabic numerals a dab page, too. Cheers :) deeptrivia (talk) 19:40, 3 January 2006 (UTC)
I think Hindu-Arabic numerals (glyphs) and Hindu-Arabic numerals (system) is a well thought of, and a perfect solution, since it would avoid all sorts of confusions and mess-ups. deeptrivia (talk) 19:43, 3 January 2006 (UTC)
ok, but let's talk about it on Talk:Arabic_numerals, it's pointless to have the same discussion in two places. I daresay there is much to say about the Indian glyph variants too, documenting the adoption in all these various cultures.dab () 20:54, 3 January 2006 (UTC)
For the sake of an illiterate like me, may I suggest "Hindu-Arabic numerals (symbols)" instead of "Hindu-Arabic numerals (glyphs)"? Though the later is more technically correct, symbol is more commonly understood than glyph. --ΜιĿːtalk 08:14, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
Both are fine with me. As far as I am concerned, I think the word "numerals" itself means "glyphs" or "numerals", so that should be sufficient, but there's no harm in clarifying further. On a lighter note, it's okay to come across new words when reading an encyclopedia (where else would you come across them?) This is how learning happens! deeptrivia (talk) 18:51, 7 January 2006 (UTC)
anther problem, this article is by all appearances not just about the system (which would be the scope of Algorism). It also compares the symbol variants (there is even a list), which is beyond the scope of the mere system. It makes sense to do this here, mind, it just needs to be taken into account when pondering the best title. dab () 13:36, 7 January 2006 (UTC)
We had agreed not to add anything about glyphs at all on this page. However, when I had made this list, I chose to add it here despite this, since I thought I had two choices: to add it on the "numerals" page, or to add it on "numeral system" page. Both were inappropriate, but adding it on the "numerals" page (supposed to be about only one of the elements of the list) was a complete non-starter. I thought although this article is not about glyphs, it can at least mention the glyphs used with the system in one section. I think a more correct solution will be to have a separate List of glyphs used with the Hindu-Arabic numeral system (this list can potentially grow much longer), and put it under "See also" on this page. "Algorism" indeed means the exact same thing as Hindu-Arabic numeral system, and I'll accept whichever of these terms conforms better with WP:MoS (e.g., we can have "Algorism" and "Hindu-Arabic numerals" as two articles, if that is preferable according to MoS.) deeptrivia (talk) 18:44, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

as it stands now, there is no reason not to merge the "glyphs" article into this one: it is a sub-article of this, and only this, article, and both articles are rather short. --dab (𒁳) 09:27, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

Clean up[edit]

This article started with the intention of talking only about the numeral system. Now even the introduction talks mostly about the glyphs. A major cleanup is required soon. deeptrivia (talk) 20:04, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

you cannot separate the glyphs from this system. Well, you can, this is what our article Decimal (edit|talk|history|protect|delete|links|watch|logs|views) does. This will then just be stating mathematical facts, along the lines of
 x = \mathop{\rm sign}(x) \sum_{i\in\mathbb Z} a_i\,10^i
with no connection to anything either Hindu or Arabic in particular. No, the "Hindu-Arabic" bit is tied up with the glyphs and their development. dab () 09:43, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

Incidently,  x = \mathop{\rm sign}(x) \sum_{i\in\mathbb Z} a_i\,10^i defines the Hindu-Arabic numeral system, regardless of the form ai take. "numerals" bit is tied with the glyphs, of course, but here we are talking about the "numeral system" . If these were the same, we wouldn't have required two separate articles. deeptrivia (talk) 20:27, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

terminology[edit]

well, the terminology is getting confusing now (but I think we are getting there). According to the "Symbols" section, the numerals are divided into two "families",

  • "Eastern Arabic numerals, also called "Eastern Arabic numerals", "Arabic-Indic numerals", "Arabic Eastern Numerals", including (as subsets) "Arabic-Indic" and "East Arabic-Indic" (already, one subset is labelled identical to the whole)
  • "Western Arabic numerals", including European 0-9, and their immediate Maghreb predecessors for which we show no glyphs.

So this leaves out the entire set of Indian numerals. Should we not rather talk about "three families", then? Or is this "family" talk at all justified? dab () 10:27, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

I haven't seen "Arabic" is attached to any numerals apart from those already covered within "Eastern" and "Western" branches, which is understandable, because they were never used by Arabs themselves. I'm not quite sure if the family talk is justified, because all these numerals have the same origin, and have undergone "equal amounts" of evolution (so are equally different from each other.) The only criterion for making such families can be current geographical distribution, and then we can possibly talk about the "Hindu-Arabic numerals" (universally used standard numerals), Arabic (various glyphs used in Arabic countries), Indian (used in India), etc. deeptrivia (talk) 20:35, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

"Arabic" number system is a misnomer[edit]

Honestly, what did the Arabs do for this number system? The reason why it is so great is because it is a base 10 number system with 10 numerals, including 0, and a decimal system. The Hindus/Indians created this so why do we distinguish the Arabs at all for their contribution when it is is virutally nothing? What did the Arabs do? They just brought the number system to Europe and maybe changed the way a few numbers were written. So does that really constitute us calling it the Hindu-"Arabic" number system? Westerns should be more informed of this wrongdoing which is only propagated by ignorance or religious fundamentalism.

This number system is one of the contributions of Ancient India to the modern world. As such, using the word "Arab" to describe this number system is offensive to the 1 billion Indians. People shouldn't dignify the Arab contribution which only came at the mass killing of so many Indians in their bid for world conquest.

--Le Vrai 15:59, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

Here's what the Arabs did: the Arabs introduced the numbers to Europe, thereby getting their name attached to them for Europeans. This is English wikipedia, so we use the English name. See WP:NAME for our naming conventions. We're not here to decide whether it's a misnomer, we're here to talk about the numbers under the name by which they're known. -lethe talk + 03:20, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
Le Vrai whether you like it or not: the numbers are Arabic and nobody hijacked anything. Just like how Arabs/Indians are right now sitting in North American Universities and conducting research. All the results are contributed to the US because most of them are US citizens. Therefore, the number system everyone uses now along with the zero which flourished around Baghdad stays Islamic or arabic. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 35.9.136.242 (talk) 16:14, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

It is known that the Arabs adopted the Indian digits in a peacefull and propser period, a period of scientific progress, that they changed the form of the characters and introduced them to Europe. However, we can discuss the name, at least on the Discussion page. It may seem curious to tell that Indians use a Hinou-Arabic numeral system while the Arabs didn't take part to the developpement of Devanagari, Gujarati, etc. numerals. When we talk about Hindou-arabic, Arabic or Indic numerals, which numerals are inclued (European, Arabic, Indic)? The name "Hindou-Arabic" is known, that's true. But the title of an article is often a question of choice too. Isn't the name "positional decimal (numeral) system" used too? I wrote the page Écriture décimale positionnelle in French, for I thought that, in this case, a description of the thing was less ambiguous than a name based on the origins, which are not clear. A positional decimal system was also developped in China. Perhaps the Indians adapted this system to their own digits, perhaps they developped the system by themselves... I don't really understand why we could'nt say on the main page that an other name can be used, or that a name used can be ambiguous. Baleer 19:52, 4 June 2006 (CEST)

I'm sorry, but so what are you saying? Are you proposing that we change the name to positional decimal system? -lethe talk + 22:20, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

Basically, a couple of days ago, he renamed the article Système de numération arabo-indien to Écriture décimale positionnelle writing in the edit summary that the article is also supposed to cover Chinese systems, which were also positional and decimal. These topics are, however, already covered in fr:Notation positionnelle and fr:Nombre décimal. Then, there's an article fr:Chiffre arabo-indien corresponding to the article on Hindu-Arabic numerals on the english wikipedia. My experience on the French wikipedia is, there's almost never any discussion on what's going on, and who's doing what. My take is, yes there are other positional decimal systems, but this article is about one of them. We do have articles on positional systems and decimal systems, and I'm not completely sure, if we need one for the combination "positional decimal." deeptrivia (talk) 00:03, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

I am envious of the chart that the french article has, it being more comprehensive than any we seem to have. Do we have an article into which it would be appropriate to import that chart? Did every system on that chart descend from the Brahmi numerals? -lethe talk + 00:12, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, I suggest glyphs used with the Hindu-Arabic numeral system. The table can be extended even further. deeptrivia (talk) 00:38, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
PS: yes, they are all believed to have descended from Brahmi numerals. deeptrivia (talk) 00:40, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

I don't say there is a need to change the name of the article. I just suggested that we could say in the article why the system is called Hindu-Arabic whereas the Arabs didn't take part of developpement of Indians numerals. In French, there was a confusion, for the terms were not clearly defined. The article fr:numération arabe was called "numération arabo-indienne" whereas abjad numerals, which are describe in the article, have not an Indian origin... The articles fr:Développement décimal or fr:Nombre décimal are not talking about the same topic, for they are talking about mathematical definitions. If there is no need for a combination of "positional" and "decimal" system, then there is no need for an article Hindu-Arabic numeral system, for it refers to such a combination... If you think I was wrong to rename "système de numération arabo-indien", or to ask to rename "numération arabo-indienne", please write a message on French Wikipedia. You can also write a message on my Discussion page. Thanks. Baleer 13:49, 5 June 2006 (CEST) P.S. The article fr:Chiffre arabo-indien should correspond to the article Glyphs used with the Hindu-Arabic numeral system...

Well, naming the abjad numerals article "numération arabo-indienne", was obviously wrong, but as you rightly pointed out, Écriture décimale positionnelle is best covered under "numération arabo-indienne", just like it's done here, and then, there's no need for a separate article on "positional and decimal" combination. deeptrivia (talk) 13:23, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
For the moment, I prefer the name "Écriture décimale positionnelle" in french, because there were to many confusions on French Wikipedia between decimal system, positional system and Hindou-Arabic system, which is a combination of decimal and positional, and also between Arabic, European and Hindu-Arabic digits. I do not consider that the French or the English name is better than the other. Concerning Decimal, I notice that it corresponds to different notions in french: fr:Développement décimal, fr:Nombre décimal and fr:Système décimal. That may explain our different point of view. In the English article Decimal, the paragraph "Decimal notation" only talks about european positional decimal notation (which corresponds to the article decimal representation), "Alternative notation" talks about non-decimal systems, and the paragraph "History" talks about positional and non-positional decimal systems. It seems there is some confusion in english too. Baleer 18:07, 5 June 2006 (CEST)

aSTakarNa[edit]

I would not have to explain my revert, but RV 10.62.7 has aSTakarNI, meaning "a cow branded/pierced at the ear". aSTa- "branded" is from a root akS, unrelated to aSTan- "eight", as is recognized by Panini himself. I am tired of these over-confident, half-researched, misspelled additions. Even if there was a case for "eight", the addition was shoddy, uncited and completely misspelled. Even if it had been spelled correctly, it would be unrelated to the article's topic, which is not Rigvedic cattle branding: Even if some Rigvedic cowboy pierced eight holes into some poor cow's ear, this would prove people could count to eight in the Bronze Age (we knew that), but it would be unrelated to the Hindu-Arabic numerals, or even the Brahmi numerals. The poorly formatted blurb on Pingala is based on a misconception treated at (you guessed it): Pingala. It would be a great world in which people interested in a topic, even in a topic related to India (gasp) would do a minimal amount of scholarly research instead of all this breathless suprematism. dab () 23:04, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

Dab, Pls write only what is relevant to the development of this article. You can try all sorts of "gasping" in your "fatherland". Regarding your statements about "breathless Suprematism" let me say one thing ,NO BODY I repeat NO BODY can outmatch you ,germans in that "PLAY" , just ask those poor EIGHT MILLION souls .

Lets leave our Rigvedic cowboys , but why did you delete the "Usage of Zero " just because it is a "poorly" formatted "blurb"??Bharatveer 04:02, 2 July 2006 (UTC)05:14, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

I am not German. And, no, it will not do for everybody here to add senseless hype to topics about their respective "fatherlands", that is pathetic. Since you have just Godwined this conversation, it is over anyway. I did delete your addition because it was worthless, and I ask you again to do some research before creating workload for other Wikipedians who have to clean up after you. dab () 13:24, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

" The fact that the Arabs absorbed, used and spread the system counts to many less educated persons as insignificant. The fate of that Indian system as India went into its eclipse, would be obvious. At times political impulses do severe damage to scientific and historical research, and in this instance we have an extremely repelling example. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.218.105.71 (talk) 20:28, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

This article is nothing but revisionist trash. I don't know who dab is, but there he/she appears to lack an understand of what a place-value system is. Once a place value system is invented, it is finished. The point is that you do not have to keep inventing symbols as you go along.

Will the editors please label this entire article for lack of neutrality? I cannot see how anyone can present speculative theories of a Chinese origin of the Hindu-Arabic numberals, and claim to be a researcher on the subject. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 59.161.23.112 (talk) 16:51, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

Use of Zero[edit]

Pingalacharya's Chandasastra (500-200 B.C) appears to be the first book in which application of Zero (Soonya) is given for writing numbers .Paulisa Siddhanta (200 A.D) and the Surya Siddhanta (400 A.D) have also used Soonya and Kha.As for the development of the numeral 0 as per modern usage , it has undergone only minor changes during the process of development.The Ancient Kashmiri book (dated First Century B.C) on Atharva Veda used big circular dots , sufficiently large for giving folio numbers.This was first observed by Maurice Bloomfield and Richard Garbe in 1901 .Bakshali manuscripts also contain similar small cirular dots representing Zero. "

What is senseless hype here?? You cannot delete anything JUST because you think it is "Worthless". Give your reasons too.Bharatveer

this is better than your Rigvedic stuff, but the formatting is horrible, it is unwikified and unreferenced. Your dates are pulled out of thin air, a range 300 BC-1BC is more likely for Pingala for example. What is your source for all this? "Soonya" (properly, śūnya) means "empty". Our Pingala article is not aware that the Chandas-shastra (not "Chandasastra") uses the term to denote a numeral sign. I have no idea whether your references to manuscripts are accurate. Are we talking about actual 1st century manuscript fragments, or post-9th century manuscripts of older texts? What was first observed by Bloomfield and Garbe in 1901? Where did they make the observation? Am I supposed to read the entire academic output of 1901 to verify this? Really, Bharatveer, I have to invest 20 minutes to get you to reduce your silly Rigvedic edit to this? There might be some kernel of truth in it, but how are our readers supposed to know what of this is correct, what of it you found somewhere on the internet, and what is your own invention? What is more, the shunya/kha part is completely irrelevant for this topic. We are only talking about anything like the H-A system with bindu, viz. your Kashmiri reference. Cite a source saying that some 1st century manuscript numbers its pages with zero symbols, and I'll not touch it. What is the meaning of "sufficiently large for giving folio numbers"? Look, if you cannot make proper edits, you should not expect them to be kept. I could invest two hours trying to save anything of merit in your edit. Send me a check and I'll do your research for you. dab () 14:42, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

I have re-added the text with reference and quotes . You are still showing your rude behaviour. why should i sent you any check , when your are getting "paid" regularly for all your "good works" ? I would suggest that discussion can be better done without issuing insults.Bharatveer 16:37, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

oh yeah? who made the oblique holocaust reference, assuming I was German? Your contributions were shoddy, Bharatveer, and you showed no redeeming qualities of collaboration. I'll try to save what little merit is in your edit. Note WP:SS, there is a main article History of the Hindu-Arabic numeral system where your more tangential musings may have a place. dab () 17:25, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

OK. It appears you are trying to make a point about use of positional zero in the 1st century BC. These topics are treated on positional notation, 0 (number), History of the Hindu-Arabic numeral system. It is undisputed that BCE authors in India used "shunya" to say "nothing" or "zero". This has nothing to do with the numeral system. If you can cite your following assertion, otoh, it is pertinent:

"The Ancient Kashmiri book"[citation needed] (dated to the 1st century BC[citation needed]) used big circular dots to indicate something[citation needed], as was first observed by Maurice Bloomfield and Richard Garbe in 1901[citation needed]

what manuscript, dated by whom, how are these circular dots employed, and what was observed by Bloomfield and Garbe, in which publication? dab () 17:36, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

I will ignore your continuing insults. I haver reverted to my version. If you feel it needs further citations, you can add tags for that.But you cannot unilaterally remove the whole thing. This is absolutely relavant here as Zero is mentioned as a part of numerical system. Bharatveer 18:26, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

no. How is it relevant that Pingala could calculate 1 minus 1 equals nothing? This has nothing to do with any numeral system, just with number theory. Go to zero (number) (if you have anything new to add). I am really interested in your "Ancient Kashmiri book", but until you cite that, this case is closed. Do you know what a numeral system is? You refer to "numerical system", so I think you may not even be aware of this article's topic. You should read a couple of articles before wasting people's time. dab () 18:47, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

Judge , Jury and executioner all-in-one . GREAT. I can understand why you like this system .60-70 years is too short a time to forget old ways.Bharatveer 18:58, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

Bharatveer, this article is about the numeral zero, and not the concept of zero (shunya). These details belong to 0 (number), and could at most merit a line or two here (e.g., "Although the concept of zero is older, .... ".) Go modify the 0 (number) article, which is defying all definitions of history and pre-history by putting 5th century BC scholars and their books in the pre-history section. deeptrivia (talk) 19:20, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
I think you misunderstand, "Prehistory of zero" treats predecessors of the concept, the claim is not that these fall into the prehistoric period. Bharatveer didn't present anything that is not already in the zero article. Also, if Bharatveer doesn't lay off the Nazi allusions, I'll ask to have him blocked as a troll. Which would save everybody time, too. I know this is Wikipedia, but editors cannot be asked to put up with that sort of nonsense. dab () 19:33, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
Oh, I see. Do you think, though, that the concept of zero (number) with Greeks and Romans, such as using the word "nihil" (compare to "shunya") belongs to "history" any more than the Indian ones? I agree with the other things you said, based on past experience. deeptrivia (talk) 19:46, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
of course not. Indian shunya and kha are duly mentioned on 0 (number) and rightly so. The concept of "zero" is certainly prehistoric, too, we are looking at early formalizations of the concept. The article is also right in stating that the earliest evidence of such formalization is found in 2nd millennium BC Babylonia. It is also justified to mention Panini's "NOP" operator (I suppose, although that's not "0 (number)" but "0 (operator)"), but Bharatveer-style over-zeal seems to have inserted "shoonya" there, which is not Panini's term. It is undisputed that India made extremely important contributions to science in the millennium 500 BCE - 500 CE, in fact it would be a joke to dispute that. I just wish that people would do a minimal amount of research before they add their stuff. Yes, Panini had a zero operator. No, it was not called shunya. Why claim it was called shunya if you don't know and didn't check?? People like Bharatveer seem to assume that because they are Indian, they must automatically be an expert on Indian history. Which is a terrible and extremely stupid mistake. dab () 20:11, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
In that case, that article requires a cleanup too. Probably this ongoing discussion could be shifted there. We could discuss what all from the history section could better go into the prehistory section, and whether it will be a good idea to rename the prehistory section to something like "precursors to zero" to remove ambiguity. I am aware of the kind of over-zealous edits (that sometimes involves making every historical thing "Vedic") that seriously needs to be checked. deeptrivia (talk) 20:26, 2 July 2006 (UTC)


Counting angles[edit]

Al Khwarizmi Numerals.PNG

Is there serious evidence for this? [7] looks deeply implausible since nobody writes or wrote numbers like this. --Henrygb 15:50, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, this was discussed before (Talk:Arabic_numerals#Angle_explanation_for_glyphs.3F.) Not only do we don't write numbers like this today, but numbers were never written like this during their entire evolution, starting from the Brahmi numerals from which our modern symbols evolved. See also http://home.c2i.net/greaker/comenius/9899/indiannumerals/Image71.jpg . For further information, see The Universal History of Numbers: From Prehistory to the Invention of the Computer by Georges Ifrah. deeptrivia (talk) 20:32, 20 September 2006 (UTC)
The Small Abacus of Al-Khwarizmi. This figure explain a “New Theory On The Graphical Roots Of The Modern European Numbers”. Each number we use today should be read as a numeric ideogram and the numbers were defined using simple arithmetic: a) The numbers 1 (one), 2 (two), 3 (three) and 4 (four), were based on additives angles. b) The numbers 5 (five), 6 (six), 7 (seven), 8 (eight), 9 (nine), and o (ten) were defined using the knowledge about the abacus manuscript notations. The especial abacus used had a base-five/ten like the human hands.Roberto Lyra (talk) 21:39, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

First line of text[edit]

The first line of text in this article should discuss why this numeral system is called Arabic or Hindu-Arabic in the west, and clear up confusion about its origin. The role of works of knowledge like Wikipedia also includes refinement and correction of previously mislabeled or incorrect information, as new information comes to light. Yes, the west has been mistaken for years in calling this numeral system Arabic, does that mean it should continue ad infinitum? It seems strange that "ownership" of development of knowledge and inventions is so vigorously pursued in the west, yet in this page it is treated as petty when pursued by Indians over a matter as significant as the numeral system used by the majority of the world. The ultimate goal should be the relabeling of this system to a more accurate name. Names change, knowledge is updated, inaccuracies shouldn't stay static due to convention. 76.175.190.79 (talk) 19:36, 29 December 2007 (UTC)Maxe

see WP:NAME: Wikipedia doesn't "correct" terminology, or introduce neologisms. --dab (𒁳) 12:24, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

rename to "Indo-Arabic"[edit]

The incidence of "Indo-Arabic" compared to that of "Hindu-Arabic" appears to hover around 1:10 (google count). Clearly not the more common term. A move to "Indo-Arabic" would need an excellently argued rationale. --dab (𒁳) 12:22, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

The term "Hindu" refers to the religion of India, whereas, the term "Indo" refers to the Indian Subcontinent and the Ancient Civilization of INDUS VALEY CIVILIZATION where the numbers really evolved. Moreover, I have never heard the term "Hindu European".. have you? the largest family of languages common to India and Europe is called INDO-EUROPEAN LANGUAGES, and NOT Hindu-European. Similarly, the numerals themselves have nothing to do with Hindu that is religion, otherwise, one would prefer calling them Hindu-Muslim numerals, since the Arabs are dominantly a muslim society. Thus, the term INDO-ARABIOC is more proper and correct one and is SECULAR. Therefore I propose changing the title to INDO-ARABIC Numerals. Aursani (talk) 11:05, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

While I agree with Aursani's comment that Hindu refers to a practitioner of Hinduism and not an inhabitant of the Indian Subcontinent, after some searching on Google I have determined that "Hindu-Arabic numeral system" is what this system has come to be called, as even the Britannica Online Encyclopedia refers to it by this name. So despite the misnomer, this article should be named "Hindu-Arabic numeral system". Cefarix (talk) 21:49, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

I really must take issue. Whatever it is commonly called can be dealt with in the article and by a re-direct. Indo- is the proper prefix these days, and the fact that historically Hindu- was preferred is irrelevant for something not deeply ingrained in common parlance. It doesn't matter whether Britannica has something wrong, that's not a reason to repeat it. The source of the expression that most commonly occurs is from 1911, so why can't Wikipedia take a more modern p.o.v.?Julzes (talk) 06:22, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia does not take a point of view (WP:NPOV), it stores human knowledge as recorded by WP:Reliable sources. Reliable sources most commonly refer to this system as the Hindu-Arabic numeral system and thus it is the appropriate name. Quoting WP:Name#Considering name changes: 'the choice of title is not dependent on whether a name is "right" in a moral or political sense.' Cheers, — sligocki (talk) 21:35, 14 December 2009 (UTC)


Adopting any policy like this is taking a point of view. I would accept the current name if the better alternative were not being used at all, but reliable sources exist for a minority-but-preferable option to be used. The world doesn't depend on this change, but it would be an improvement.Julzes (talk) 22:32, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

What sources do you suggest which use Indo-Arabic? Wikipedia articles are generally named by the most commonly used name, however this can be swayed by sufficiently expert sources. To me, this sounds like trying to rename Pythagorean theorem simply because historians no longer think that Pythagoras discovered it. It seems more appropriate to me to simply note the disagreement over terminology (as the Pythagorean theorem article does). Cheers, — sligocki (talk) 23:12, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

I'm not up on the source question (I just noted someone's mention here on the talk page indicating that the minority terminology is in use); but since simply noting the controversy is only mildly inferior to changing the title to my way of thinking, for the time being I would say that it simply needs to be prominently dealt with in the first few sentences and leave it at that. I do think it differs from the Pythagoras question quite a bit. One would get the impression from the current title that in India it was the religious folk who were responsible for the origination of the system, and one might naturally ask how it was that number systems had something to do with religion. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Julzes (talkcontribs) 23:46, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

If you think so, then be WP:Bold and edit the article to reflect that distinction. Thanks, — sligocki (talk) 00:43, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

There is also the simple fact that 'Hindu-Arabic' sounds rather ridiculous unless referring in some way to Hindu use of the Arabic language (which would be a rather rare topic of discussion, compared with 'Muslim-Hindi') —Preceding unsigned comment added by Julzes (talkcontribs) 23:52, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

Arabic does not refer to the language, but is the demonym for the Arab people, consider, for example, Arabic numerals. — sligocki (talk) 00:43, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

Fine, then, it sounds like Muslim-Indic, and is equally confusing in this context. And exactly how do you know that it's not a reference to the language?Julzes (talk) 00:57, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

What exactly is the system?[edit]

The Hindu-Arabic numeral system is a positional decimal numeral system documented from the 9th century.

The above is the first line, but where is an explanation of this system? How are the numerals arranged? Left to right? Right to left? Top to bottom? Do each of the referenced languages order the glyphs the same way today? Is it right to left in Urdu? Etc. I have tagged the article with a clarifyme tag. -84user (talk) 22:00, 22 June 2008 (UTC)

I just added some text to clarify this. It's left-to-right for everybody, so to speak. Regards, Nikevich (talk) 22:19, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Misunderstood History[edit]

in this article the numbers 0,1,2,3,4,5-10 are known as "European" numerals. This is a %100 lie! the so called "European" numerals originated as the "indo-arbic" numerals and through the arabs turned into the 1,2,3 etc. So it started in india,which were exelled in astronomy ,and was modified by the arabs ,and finally reached the europeans through muslim chemistry, physics, and astronomy. the real european number are known as the roman numeral(I,V,X,D,etc.). —Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.101.76.179 (talk) 14:28, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

Unannounced move[edit]

The "Hindu-Arabic numeral system" is the correct name for this. Why was this article moved without any discussion? How can it be moved back? Shreevatsa (talk) 00:58, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

constant bickering of "Indian" vs. "Arabic"[edit]

people keep adding completely irrelevant claims about the Indus Valley Civilization and what not. Some Indian editors seem to be terribly afraid that credit due to India could go to "Arabs". The facts have been clear all along

  • the glyphs originate in India, by the Mauryan period
  • there are hints of a nascent positional notation / zero in India in the early centuries CE
  • the first full description of the system is due to Al-Khwarizmi, the great Persian (not "Arab") mathematician, ca. 820 CE
  • the first unambiguous use of zero in India is about 50 years later than Al-Khwarizmi

so yes, a lot of the credit for the system's origin goes to India. But the "Arabs" (Muslims) didn't simply "adopt" it, they perfected it, around the 8th century. Our first surviving description of the system is Al-Khwarizmi's. Yes, once again, the system builds on various Indian precedencts, but the complete system is an 8th century creation. --dab (𒁳) 16:59, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

zomg, "reference removal" I removed

  • the quotefarm under history
  • the bs claim that "Graham Flegg (2002) dates the history of the Hindu-Arabic system to the Indus valley civilization.<ref name=Flegg/>" (the actual text mentions "stick numerals"[8])

Joshua has also taken it upon himself to restore the version discussing the Gwalior inscription (AD 876) under "origins" but the description by Al-Kwarizmi (AD 820) under "adoption by the Arabs". Hint: 820 < 876.

Please take a minute to actually look at the stuff you are reverting. --dab (𒁳) 18:08, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Numbers: Their History and Meaning (Graham Flegg) was cited four times. Was it necessary to remove the reference altogether because there was one incorrect citation?--Joshua Issac (talk) 20:10, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

no, sorry, Flegg is a perfectly good reference. It was just that stuff was attributed to it that wasn't actually in it. --dab (𒁳) 07:46, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

ahem, "Flegg, pages 67-70" wasn't so much "cited four times" as proffered as a reference for a dubious paragraph four times over:

The Hindu-Arabic numeral system originated in India.[5] Graham Flegg (2002) dates the history of the Hindu-Arabic system to the Indus valley civilization.[5] The inscriptions on the edicts of Ashoka (1st millennium BCE) display this number system being used by the Imperial Mauryas.[5] This system was later transmitted to Europe by the Arabs.[5]

the "[5]" being one and the same footnote four times over. Believe me, we are better off without this paragraph. It is crap in at least five different ways I would prefer not to go into in detail. The factual thing behind it is that the Brahmi numerals were in use by the Maurya period, which the article already states plainly. If you bother to check what Flegg actually says on pages 67-70, you will find a perfectly correct account of how the Karosthi numerals, which may ultimately derive from IVC tally marks, was replaced by the decimal based Brahmi numerals following the conquest of Alexander the Great, apparently under Greek influence, by the Maurya period (2nd century BC). Whoever contorted that paragraph into the one I quote above was clearly editing in bad faith and knew perfectly well they were misrepresenting their reference, inexpertly trying to hide the fact by littering the offending paragraph with footnote clones for the benefit of the GA "quality assessment" drones. --dab (𒁳) 08:13, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

since I'm already dealing with this, I have also traced the offending edit[9], by JSR (talk · contribs), dated to last July. JSR appears to be your typical well-meaning patriot editor who also gave us List of Indian inventions and discoveries. An article which I consider about as meaningful as List of European inventions and discoveries, which would probably end up listing Bronze Age sword alongside Polyphony, football, the Guillotine and the World Wide Web. Extremely useful list for patriot or cultural chauvinist narcissism, useless to anyone else. --dab (𒁳) 08:34, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

to be fair, the Indians are not alone in this. Category:Lists of inventions or discoveries has many more of the kind. --dab (𒁳) 08:40, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

The Dreaded Arabs In an attempt to strip the Arabs of their contributions, emphasis needs to be made of the fact that Al-Khawarismi is a Persian, and not an Arab - never mind that he certainly has a father of an Arabic name, Musa, and he was adorned by the name of his Prophet, Mohamed, and took on his prophet's nickname, Abu Abdullah (the father of Abdullah): Abu Abdullah, Mohamed Bin Musa Al-Khawarizmi. Whether his parents or grandparents, or their parents, etc. were the ones who left Khawarizm (South of the Aral Sea) and moved to Baghdad is not clear. The reference in his name is not to a city but to a region which suggests either the city was insignificant, or the migration took place sometime before.

What is astounding in pressing for a non-Arabic affiliation of Al-Khawarizmi, and any other Muslim man of science or letters if that it is not history but a political discourse. Consider only two aspects:

First, the Empire was not an Arabic Empire, and never claimed to be. It was an Islamic Empire. Being Persian or not, is not a key distinction, historically or otherwise, as we learn about the relaxed multi-ethnic society the Muslims engaged in. This of course makes matters worse for those who are inclined to be anti-Arabs. For they would have to refer to the Muslim mathematician, etc. But in reality this is what he was. It is the same as referring to a scientist of British parents or grandparents, working in the Los Alamos Laboratory in New Mexico, as British Scientist. But not many people like Arabs, apart from the 500 million of them, or Islam or Muslims, apart from the 1.3 billion of them, and therefore it is a fair game for the less educated to label a mathematician who learned and studied and researched in the environment of enlightenment offered him and others in the heyday of the Islamic Empire. Never mind that sober and apolitical understanding of the history of science and technology should make one feel indebted to that empire, Muslim, Arab or Vulcan, for myriads of reasons which some, by virtue of obvious limitations are unable to see, or comprehend.

The second point relates to the lingua franca of science, technology and the arts in the Islamic Empire, that is the standard language of discourse. It was, as one could imagine, Arabic, probably because the holy book of the Muslims is written in Arabic. In the event, Al-Khawarizmi's magnum opus is, as with all scientific, medical and philosophical treatises, at the time, within and outside the Islamic Empire, was written in Arabic. The Wikipedia entry for Al-Khawarizmi has a picture of the cover of the volume, it seems. But while at it, enjoy the reference to a mathematician, whose major claim to fame, as seen in the second line, is that he is not an Arab, but a Persian!

But these distortions make no sense. They reflect obvious nationalist, anti-this and anti-that, and other political prerogatives. They certainly take control and brushing aside common sense and reason and that is whay they are easy to discover. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.218.105.71 (talk) 21:58, 27 July 2010 (UTC)


Having read the article itself, and after going through the talk page, I must say that I find this article to be extremely poorly researched, and one which attempts to give a revisionist account of the origins of the Hindu-Arabic numeral system. It is quite clear from the talk page that the material in the article is not presented from a neutral point of view. I think it will be helpful for readers if the sections on the history and origins of the system were flagged. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 14.97.127.11 (talk) 19:04, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

Lokavibhaga[edit]

if the 5th century Lokavibhaga shows unambiguous use of positional decimal notation including zero, why is the "earliest undisputed use" of zero in India in a 9th century inscription? Or in what other ways does the system used in the Lokavibhaga differ from the full-fledged "Hindu-Arabic" system as used by Al-Khwarizmi?

I suspect that for the Lokavibhaga, which is of course known by manuscript tradition, it is uncertain whether the manner of recording numerals is indeed part of the original 5th century text, or if it was inserted for convenience by later copyists. But I fail to find a reference discussing this at present. --dab (𒁳) 10:00, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

I figured it out. The 5th century date is that of the lost Prakrit original. The surviving Sanskrit translation is considerably later. Its age is impossible to ascertain. It may be anything from 7th to 12th century. --dab (𒁳) 10:21, 21 April 2009 (UTC)


—Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.218.105.71 (talk) 21:23, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

Vinculum or division sign?[edit]

We have:

In this more developed form, the numeral system can symbolize any rational number using only 13 symbols (the ten digits, decimal marker, vinculum or division sign, and an optional prepended dash to indicate a negative number.

The appearance of the division sign (I assume meaning the solidus "/", since "÷" seems even less reasonable) makes little sense here, especially as an alternative to the vinculum. There is a slightly different numeral system that can symbolize any rational number using only 12 symbols (the ten digits, solidus, and dash); this system doesn't use the decimal marker either. One could, I suppose, say "decimal marker and vinculum or division sign" in place of "decimal marker, vinculum or division sign", but there is really no point. After all, the system for rational numbers using the solidus is not a simple generalisation of the positional system that is being discussed here in the way that the system with the decimal marker and vinculum is. There is no end to the systems that we could describe, if we wanted to, as being used with the Hindu–Arabic number system, including E notation (which is probably closer to the basic positional system that we are describing than fractions written with a solidus), things like the Ackermann function to refer to very large numbers, surds for solvable algebraic numbers, symbols like "i" for various hypercomplex numbers, and so on and on and on.

So, I'm removing the reference to the division sign.

Toby Bartels (talk) 21:56, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

Hindu and Indian?[edit]

the opening says:

"The Hindu–Arabic numeral system is a positional decimal numeral system developed by the 9th century by Hindu and Indian Mathematicians"

are Hindu and Indian different in the historical context? If the difference is that some of the originators where not members of Hinduism but were from the Indian subcontinent, they why don't we just say "by Indian mathematicians". Cheers, — sligocki (talk) 21:34, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

Alright, after looking at Hindu mathematics and Indian mathematics, it looks like Indian is the most appropriate. — sligocki (talk) 21:35, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

Why is this article titled Hindu-Arabic numberal system when it originated in India and there is already an article for arabic numbers? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.163.15.180 (talk) 11:24, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

Please add information about decimal points and "thousands separators"[edit]

Especially considering that the zero looks a lot like our decimal point, it would help a lot to show the symbol (perhaps [,]?) that is used for the decimal point (decimal separator, which might not be a point). As well, what about thousands separators for large integers? I think that in Switzerland, ['] serves as a thousands separator: "123'456'789", instead of "123,456,789", and that notation might also be used with these numerals. I'm just about sure that large numbers in India are traditionally divided somewhat differently, perhaps as in "123,456,789,12", where the units and tens digits are separate from the thousands digit. Such a format would make the term "thousands separator" inappropriate. I don't know how one would write lakhs and crores in India, but I'm sure somebody here could clarify.

While on this topic, I think I've seen digits grouped by fours: "1234,5678,9012", but only really rarely. However, tables of extremely-large numbers (such as, say, 100,000 digits of π) are divided by spaces after every fifth digit, I'm virtually certain.

Regards, Nikevich (talk) 22:42, 22 February 2011 (UTC) Regards, Nikevich (talk) 22:42, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Its neither here nor there as the 'thousands separator' isn't really needed as part of the numeral system, and I would suggest is not part of the numeral system but is rather a convention that people typically use to write large numbers as opposed to actually part of the numeral system. To your point about large numbers in India, the system used is 12,45,67,890. This would be 12 crore, 45 lakh, and 67,890, which is why the commas are where they are.Treznor (talk) 18:21, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

Confusing naming conventions // Western Arabic vs European differences?[edit]

For the same sets of numerals, the first table in the "Symbols" section lists the first three sets as "European", "Arabic-Indic" and "Eastern-Arabic-Indic" while the second table lists them as "Western Arabic", "Eastern Arabic" and "Persian". It's easy to deduct, by comparing them, that "European" = "Western Arabic", "Arabic-Indic" = "Eastern Arabic" and "Eastern Arabic-Indic" = "Persian" but it would probably make more sense to use the same names in both tables (and throughout the article) in order to avoid confusion.


Also, further down the article in the section "Adoption in Europe", it's stated that "The familiar shape of the Western Arabic glyphs as now used with the Latin alphabet, (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) are the product of the late 15th to early 16th century, when they enter early typesetting." This poses the logical question what the exact differences are between Western Arabic and European numerals, given that in the above mentioned tables they are taken to be one and the same? I take it that these differences are only in style and not in shape, but if so then that should perhaps be more clearly stated in the provided quotation. Otherwise, it would make sense to display these differences, however small they may be, in the above mentioned tables.

Abvgd (talk) 08:56, 19 April 2011 (UTC)

Judging by the information provided in Arabic_numerals#Evolution_of_symbols, the differences between European and Western Arabic numerals seem quite substantial unless I've completely misinterpreted the data.

Abvgd (talk) 09:06, 19 April 2011 (UTC)

I agree with User Abvgd. Could anyone explain where those differences (between European/Western Arabic and Indo-Arabic) appeared and how they evolved? I read something about the Maghreb in the threads above... 95.169.242.67 (talk) 10:55, 16 October 2012 (UTC)

Mergers[edit]

Rather than merging Indian numerals and History of the Hindu-Arabic numeral system into this article, it would make more sense to merge most of this article into History of the Hindu-Arabic numeral system, and the remaining into Indian numerals. FilipeS (talk) 14:40, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

Major merger![edit]

What a mess! Arabic numerals and Hindu–Arabic numeral system (with an en-dash, not a hyphen) are two separate articles, and Hindu-Arabic numeral system (with a hyphen) does not redirect to Hindu–Arabic numeral system (with an en-dash) but to Arabic numerals, and Arabic numeral system does not redirect to Hindu–Arabic numeral system but to Arabic numerals.

Welcome to the earliest days of Wikipedia. In 2002 and 2003 this would be expected. Michael Hardy (talk) 16:33, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

Definitely should be merged, to my mind. But as both seem to have interesting facts that the other one does not, this is, as you say, a major piece of work. --Matt Westwood 08:15, 29 July 2012 (UTC)

Hindu ???[edit]

Are you sure it's "hindu-arabic", and not "indo-arabic"? Isn't "hindu" related to "hinduism" (religion)? Shouldn't it be "indo", related to "India"? 89.153.65.124 (talk) 18:22, 6 June 2013 (UTC) in my view the original word was Sindhu...Since the Arabs could not pronouce S...they called this land Hindu....Inde...or india is an anglicised form of this word only. Hindu means a geographical region. The religion and culture that prevailed in this region came to be called Hindu....but hindu is the original word for India..... — Preceding unsigned comment added by 115.112.162.130 (talk) 03:39, 15 July 2013 (UTC)

Hindu Arabic numerals should be just called Hindu Numerals. It is now a well established fact that these Numerals and the Place holder system of writing numbers (with the invention of numeral zero) were invented or discovered in India. It was that Arabs who traded with India learnt it from India and then the Europeans learnt it from them. From the viewpoint of the Europeans they thought that these numerals and system was Arabic. Since now the facts are clear i think they should be name as HINDU NUMERALS. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 115.112.162.130 (talk) 03:43, 15 July 2013 (UTC)