Esper/Numbers/Big Numbers

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For those who deal with numbers of a regular basis which are often best represented by scientific ntation or engineering notation, or just happen to get into some really big numbers, this page will explain how to come up with Esper' names for such numbers. If you specifically deal with normalized scientific notation, see the Scientific Number Naming page. If you deal regularly with extremely small numbers in engineering notation... I'm sure you'll figure it out.

Go to the Numbers page for an extensive detailed explanation of Esper' number types and ordinary number naming. This bage is specifically for learning about the names of really big numbers. Yes, that's quite a subjective term, but it becomes less subjective when looked at in the light of the history of humber naming.

To clarify, this page is about "big" in the sense of magnitude, which includes "large negative numbers" and the like.

Since smaller numbers are generally used by most humans considerably more than bigger ones, it makes sense that names of smaller numbers have consistently stabalized long before the names of larger numbers, probably no matter what language you look at. As a result, many languages have conflicts even amongst their own dialects when it comes to the names of numbers which were too large to have historicaally been of much use to the average person. Now that we live in the information age, this has become a bit of a problem, holding us back somewhat as we find more and more need to deal with larger numbers on a daily basis but our languages have become incapable of adapting to the need. Foe example, the United Kingdom changed the "official meaning" of "billion" and "trillion" so many times that at one point they finally just gave up and just declared that "trillion" has no reliable meaning at all.

Listed English number names in this section are of the "short scale" variety unless otherwise noted. For example, one trillion on the long scale equals one quintillion on the short scale which equals one times ten to the eighteenth power (10^18) as noted after the English number name in the following list:

gig’ = (billion) = (10^9).

ter’ = (trillion) = (10^12).

pet’ = (quadrillion) = (10^15).

ekx’ = (quintillion) = (10^18).

zet’ = (hextillion) = (10^21).

yat’ = (septillion) = (10^24).

You can combine these in the same way as you would kil' and meg' as noted in the Numbers page.

For example:

kvin' gig’ = (five billion) = (5 * 10^9).

ses' ter’ = (six trillion) = (6 * 10^12).

sep’ ter’ okdek' = (seven trillion eighty) = (7.00000000008 * 10^12).

sep' pet’ = (seven quadrillion) = (7 * 10^15).

ok' ekx’ on' gig' naw' kil' = (eight quintillion) = (8.000000001000009 10^18).

du' zet’ = (two hextillion) / (2 * 10^21).

And of course, just to get rediculous...

naw' hek’ nawdek’ naw' yat’ naw' hek’ nawdek’ naw' zet’ naw' hek’ nawdek’ naw' ekx’ naw' hek’ nawdek’ naw' pet’ naw' hek’ nawdek’ naw' ter’ naw' hek’ nawdek’ naw' gig’ naw' hek’ nawdek’ naw' meg’ naw' hek’ nawdek’ naw' kil’ naw' hek’ nawdek’ naw' = (nine hundred ninty nine septillion nine hundred ninty nine hextillion nine hundred ninty nine quintillion nine hundred ninty nine quadrillion nine hundred ninty nine trillion nine hundred ninty nine billion nine hundred ninty nine million nine hundred ninty nine thousand nine thousand nine hundred ninty nine) = (9.99999999999999999999999999 10^26)

Add one more and you get yat'.

If you really want to mess with bigger numbers than that, you're in luck. Esper' supports arbitrarily large number names through a naming system based on scientific notation. If you wish to avoid having to learn "yet another naming system" but really do have a need to name some rediculously huge numbers with words rather than digits, you can get pretty far by placing the name of a number which is less than yat', in front of yat' as a multiplier.

I'll list just a few examples with the English number names written out in a similar way:

du' meg' yat’ = (two million septillion) = (2 * 10^30).

ok' gig' on' meg' sepdek' yat’ = (eight billion one million seventy septillion) = (8.00100007 10^33).

ter' yat’ = (trillion septillion) = (10^36).

As you can see, most of these number names are not too difficult to deal with, considering the size numbers they represent, but if you get more than a few non-zero digits involved they can get a bit awkward.

For example:

sep' ter' kvardek' gig' naw' hek' yat’ = (seven trillion forty billion nine hundred septillion) = (7.0409 * 10^36)

That's nine syllables in Esper' and fourteen syllables in English, for a number with only three non-zero digits. There is no perfect solution for this of course, and we make things harder to deal with mathematically when we start doing things like saying "seven, three zeros, five, four, double one" and so on. This is where scientific notation comes in, but even saying "seven point zero four zero nine times ten to the thirty sixth power" to represent 7.0409 * 10^36 seems a bit much. Of course in light of what such a number represents it's easy to excuse a cumbersum name, but let's just have a look at how the Esper' language takes care of this with an alternative number naming system to go along with the alternative mathematical representation of the number.

sepek' nul' kvar' nul' naw' tce' tridek' ses' ildek' = (seven trillion forty billion nine hundred septillion) = (7.0409 * 10^36)

Now it's 12 syllables in Esper'. That's worse than before, and almost as bad as in English. On the other hand each additional digit represented digit of accuracy will only add a single syllable in this system and the whole series of significant digits is spoken, with the suffix -ek- attached to the first digit to mark it as the start of a sequence of digits, so there are advantages to this system.

The tce' literallt means "at" and is used in this naming system to specify that the preceding string of digits should have a fraction point marker inserted after the digit with the ek suffix, and then multipliied by the following expressed exponent.

The prefix il indicates an exponent, or "power of" the number it is attached to, so the names of some REALLY HUGE numbers can easily be formed by replacing il'dek with il'yat representing powers of a septillion rather than powers of ten.

However, since the base ten system is currently well established as the base system which is most used by humanity, there is a "short form" of this number naming system specifically for base ten. Go to the Scientific Number Naming page for more details.