Bīrūnī, Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad, Alberuni's India (v. 1)

(London :  Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co.,  1910.)



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  Page 174  

174                        ALBERUNPS INDIA.

Adonai;   sometimes  they  also   say   Yah.    The word
Adonai,  which  they pronounce, is  not   expressed in
On their          The Hiudus do not use the letters of their alphabet

signs.          for numerical notation, as we use the Arabic letters in

the order of the Hebrew alphabet. As in different parts
of India the letters have different shapes, the numeral
signs, too, which are called anka, differ. The numeral
Page 83. signs which lue use are derived from the finest forms of
the Hindu signs. Signs and figures are of no use if
people do not know what they mean, but the people of
Kashmir mark the single leaves of their books with
figures which look like drawings or like the Chinese
characters, the meaning of which can only be learned
by a very long practice. However, they do not use
them when reckoning in the sand.

In arithmetic all nations agree that all the orders of
numbers (e.g. one, ten, hundred, thousand) stand in a
certain relation to the ten; that each order is the tenth
part of the following and the tenfold of the preceding.
I have studied the names of the orders of the numbers
in various languages with all kinds of people with
whom I have been in contact, and have found that no
nation goes beyond the thousand. The Arabs, too, stop
with the thousand, which is certainly the most correct
and the most natural thing to do. I have written a
separate'treatise on this subject.

Those, however, who go beyond the thousand in their
numeral system are the Hindus, at least in their
arithmetical technical terms, which have been either
freely invented or derived according to certain etymolo¬
gies, whilst in others both methods are blended together.
They extend the names of the orders of numbers until
the 18th order ior religious reasons, the mathematicians
being assisted by the grammarians with all kinds of

The  i8tli order is called Pardrdha, i.e. the half of
  Page 174