Chapter 7. Our Ten Digits

The idea that language is merely a code seems readily acceptable. Many of us at least attempted to learn a foreign language in high school, so we're willing to acknowledge that the animal we call a cat in English can also be a gato, chat, Katze, KOIIIKa, or Kάττα.

Numbers, however, seem less culturally malleable. Regardless of the language we speak and the way we pronounce the numbers, just about everybody we're likely to come in contact with on this planet writes them the same way:

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Isn't mathematics called "the universal language" for a reason?

Numbers are certainly the most abstract codes we deal with on a regular basis. ...

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