What Would We Do Without Numbers?

Count von Count
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One part of our language we all take for granted is numbers, beginning with Sesame Street’s Count von Count. Numbers play a critical role in virtually every aspect of our civilization. But what if there were no words for numbers in English?

Believe it or not, some languages do lack words for numbers. When you live as a member of the Munduruku culture in the Amazon rainforest, you rarely count beyond five. So your numerical vocabulary runs out very quickly, although you can approximate larger numbers. Or you simply get by with words meaning “a few” and “some.”

Such languages are called “anumeric” or numberless. But this doesn’t seem to be a problem; anumeric cultures do just fine otherwise. What this does show is the variety in the human experience. Comparing the approximately 7000 human languages today reveals an amazing diversity in even the simplest concepts.

From ” ‘Anumeric’ People: What Happens When a Language Has No Words for Numbers?” by Caleb Everett (https://getpocket.com/explore/item/anumeric-people-what-happens-when-a-language-has-no-words-for-numbers)

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