Numbers above 兆

Japanese, general discussion on the language
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Yudan Taiteki
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Numbers above 兆

Post by Yudan Taiteki » Wed 07.15.2009 9:39 pm

You can find long lists of the kanji sequence of numbers, but many of them are not used very often. The ones up through 億 are fairly common, and 兆 occurs occasionally, particularly in financial articles that discuss things like national debts. But I had never seen 京 or above until today, when I looked at the JP Wikipedia articles about the Zimbabwean Dollar and the Hungarian Pengo.

The Zimbabwe article has 京 in a table listing the total monetary supply of the country in various periods: 2京5000兆 (25 quadrillion).

However, it also uses 垓, which I had never heard of before, in describing Zimbabwe's inflation rate as 897垓% (89.7 sextillion percent).

I also looked at the Hungarian Pengo article to see the 1946 inflation information, and that article uses 穣:
新通貨フォリントが1946年8月 1日に導入された。1フォリントは40穣ペンゲー(4×10^29)というレートであった。("A new banknote, the Forint, was introduced on August 1, 1946. 1 Forint was worth 400 octillion (4x10^29) Penge.")

There is a number between 垓 and 穣, but the kanji is not in the JIS set.

It's also worth noting that 穣 is not in the Koujien, and the Kanjigen does not give a numeral for any definition of the character.

I guess the next step is for someone to find an actual modern usage of 溝 (100 nonillion).
-Chris Kern

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Re: Numbers above 兆

Post by jcdietz03 » Wed 07.15.2009 11:19 pm

In English, we use everyday numbers a lot (1, 10, 100, 1000).
We use million to talk about expensive things like our company's budgets, or how much an ordinary person earns in their lifetime.
We use billion rarely. Expensive things the government buys are around a billion, and the wealthiest people in our society have assets in this range.
We use trillion when talking about national debts.
I have heard quadrillion used to describe "The number of gallons of water in the great lakes." That's the one and only time I have ever heard quadrillion used.
Never heard anything above quadrillion, but they do exist.

In Japanese class, the topic "What comes after 万?" covers only 億 and 兆. They also talk about how Japanese numbers have four sub-levels instead of three. For example 4千兆 is a valid number, whereas in English, 4 thousand million is incorrect.

I like the Heisig story for 億: A person has an idea, one that will make him one hundred million dollars.

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Re: Numbers above 兆

Post by keatonatron » Thu 07.16.2009 2:14 am

I knew 京, but I can't remember why.

Wikipedia has a pretty large list of big numbers.

The last two on the list are my favorites: 不可思議 and 無量大数.

The simple fact that those are the official names of numbers makes Japanese the most awesome language ever.

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Re: Numbers above 兆

Post by mbridge » Sat 08.29.2009 4:30 pm

I think you mean Chinese. That numbering system has been incorporated by most of the sinosphere from China.

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