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# Alphabet base

Use the alphabet to count
 (+3, -5) [vote for, against]

Instead of having to teach kids the alphabet AND how to count, just use the same sequence for both: "A, B, C, D, ..." and after "Z" it continues, "AA, AB, AC, ..."
 — juuitchan3, May 08 2002

You could use Roman Numerals, but the alphabet would be rather meager.
 — FarmerJohn, May 08 2002

So how's your W times table? A Ws are W, B Ws are AT, C Ws are BQ...
 — pottedstu, May 08 2002

So why would base-26 (or base-28 or base-whatever depending on local language) be an improvement in the learning curve? As [pottedstu] already pointed out, memorizing the basic multiplication tables in b26 would be nuts.
 — BigBrother, May 08 2002

This would make a lot of sense to me if I had 13 fingers on each hand.
 — half, May 08 2002

 // memorizing the basic multiplication tables in b26 would be nuts //

I disagree - depends on what you're used to. I bet people can't multiply base 2 numbers very easily either and there's only 2 characters. Either way, teaching kids base N is baked.
 — lubbit, May 08 2002

this really, I MEAN REALLY, makes my head hurt to even think about............I was trying to figure out what my calculator would look like. And my excel spreadsheet, what will the rows be?
 — rbl, May 08 2002

I think this is pretty much baked, only the other way around, with numbers standing for letters. Ever hear of ASCII?
 — DrAwkward, May 09 2002

 // I bet people can't multiply base 2 numbers very easily //

 1x0 = 0 1x1 = 1 Er, that's it.

Actually, I think most people can't multiply base 10 numbers very well, either. So maybe that's not a serious objection. It would make numeric keypads much bigger, though, and the consequences for the size of mobile phones would be dire.
 — pottedstu, May 09 2002

 0x0 = 0 0x1 = 0

Surely it would make mobile phone use easier!?! I'll call Jeff in London - what's his number now... oh yes, J E F F I N L O N D O N.
 — lubbit, May 09 2002

 Ok, so you know you base 2 times tables up to 1. Horray for you. I don't know my b10 times table up to nine, I know it well pased that. Granted, you only need the four cases in order to be able to manually calculate something, but in order to be useful, you would need to know it much higher.

Base 2 math isn't intuitive for many people, unlesss they are programmers or other computer geeks.
 — PK, May 16 2002

 But multiplication in base 2 is very easy, Just shift left to double, then add the original for 'odd' multiples:

 101 x 10 = 1010 [5 x 2 =10] 101 x 11 = 101 + 1010 = 1111 [5 x 3 = 15]

 Actualy, many mathematical operations are SIMPLER to describe (or turn into a circuit/code) in binary than in decimal.

 The down side to this is the amount of time and space taken to write real world numbers in binary notation. Hence many programmers prefer to use hexadecimal notation on paper, and convert to binary in the machine.

 The proposed 'Alphabet base' notation (b26) is flawed because it has a very large number of symbols which have been arbitrarily chosen without reference to their real world use.

 base 2 - simple circuits (but tricky to read and write)

 base 10 - We have 10 'digits' on our hands.

 base 12 - easily divisible by 1,2,3,4,6 and 12.

 base 26 - Because the alphabet has 26 symbols?

I think the proposer has confused the two very different disciplines of writing numbers and manipulating them.
 — scarra, Nov 18 2002

Why don't we ditch the letters and keep the numbers instead? Then maths would be the same but writing would 1007 022.
 — Loris, Nov 19 2002

 Wouldn't it be neat, though, to see one of those cute little hearts carved on trees saying "MIKE + SUSAN" and being able to put the correct answer -- " = TIBLS" -- underneath?

While this idea has some problems, it did give me a couple of brand new ideas (which is why I like the halfbakery), so I shall be the second person to give a croissant.
 — mrouse, Nov 19 2002

Actually MIKE + SUSAN = THAKR but then I guess it would depend on what method you used in applying the alphabet base. I would assume that it would logically work best to use a similar method of converting 10-26 as you do 10-16 or 10-2 or 10-8 and using that method MIKE = 216584 and SUSAN=8589269 the sum being 8805853 which you use the standard formula for base conversion to come up with THAKR in base 26 notation.
 — ERICP, Feb 05 2004

I'm amazed nobody has raised the issue of capital / lowercase letters, I mean numbers, aw whatever...
 — gardnertoo, Dec 15 2004

This is essentially the same as the Ionic number system of ancient Greece.
 — CRGreathouse, Sep 01 2009

I don't think so. The Ionic system used three ranks of letters, the first for units, the second for tens and the third for hundreds. This is simply base twenty-six using letters alone and no conventional digits.
 — nineteenthly, Sep 01 2009

 This would also require the use of a new character (or two) alltogether, to signify whether the following string is meant to represent numbers or letters, such as in braille.

*He says, realizing that most annotators on this page haven't been on the bakery for years.*
 — MikeD, Feb 18 2011

That's one of the great things about the 'bakery, Mike. In real life, you often get the feeling that you are just talking to yourself. On the 'bakery, you know you are!
 — DrBob, Feb 18 2011

Ultra orthodox Jewish kids learn letters and numbers together using what's called Gematria. A (actually Aleph- meaning a bull) is one. B (Bet meaning a house) is two. C (Gimel meaing a camel) is three. J (Jude pronounced Yude) is 10. K (Kaf) is 20. So 15 is Tet Vav (nine and six). Q (Qoof meaning a needle hole) is 100. R (Resh meaning a head) 200. S or W (Shin meaning teeth) 300 and T or X (Tav meaning a mark) is 400. Informally most Jewish children learn this system, which is used to mark the chapters of the Torah as well as the pages of traditional books.
 — pashute, Feb 22 2011

//C (Gimel meaing a camel) is three// & //Q (Qoof meaning a needle hole) is 100// Really? How interesting, does this mean that Jesus' statement about Rich-Men, Camels, the Eyes of Needles, and the Kingdom of heaven may have been expressing something more arithmetic than mystical? Could Jesus have been a mathematician?
 — zen_tom, Feb 22 2011

 Hmm.

 "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

 it is easier for to go through than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

 a bit of googling suggested that God does have a number, but 'rich man' and 'kingdom' remain to be defined.

 ... it could be saying something about recurring fractions (perhaps versus transcendental or imaginary numbers, or infinity) I suppose.

Or some sort of non-equivalency:
100/3 is less than <something>.
 — Loris, Feb 22 2011

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