[BITList] Mayan Counting & Eliot

HUGH chakdara at btinternet.com
Wed Mar 31 14:27:25 BST 2010

An illuminating article.  On Isaac Dinesen/Karen Blixen and the missing number 9, I find in her own account of it that the chap teaching her was indeed "a shy young Swedish dairyman".  He didn't like to say the Swaheli word for 9 to a Danish lady.  A Danish colleague once chided me for using the word "forfend".   According to him, it wasn't a nice word in Danish.  I told him he used it sometimes.  "Ah," he said, "but I'm Danish."  Karen BIixen went on to say one of her African servants had lost a finger.  She wondered if that was a common thing, done to facilitate arithmetic - it wasn't until she started to develop her ideas to other people that she was enlightened.  

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