
02401765
j
1993b.01187
Dehaene, Stanislas
Mehler, Jacques
Crosslinguistic regularities in the frequency of number words.
Cognition 43, No. 1, 129 (1992).
1992
Elsevier, Amsterdam
EN
M80
notation
number concepts
intercultural differences
random numbers
frequency
empirical investigations
comparative studies
linguistics
doi:10.1016/00100277(92)90030L
Summary: We examine the frequency of numerals and ordinals in seven different languages and/or cultures. Many crosscultural and crosslinguistic patterns are identified. The most striking is a decrease of frequency with numerical magnitude, with local increases for reference numerals such as 10, 12, 15, 20, 50 or 100. Four explanations are considered for this effect: sampling artifacts, notational regularities, environmental biases and psychological limitations on number representations. The psychological explanation, which appeals to a Fechnerian encoding of numerical magnitudes and to the existence of numerical points of reference, accounts for most of the data. Our finding also has practical importance since it reveals the frequent confound of two experimental variables: numerical magnitude and numeral frequency.