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Programming IT Technology

Eleventy What? 157

Posted by Cliff
from the pronouncing-hexidecimal dept.
TheFr00n asks: "I recently managed to teach my ten year old son the hexadecimal number system, but he shot me back a question that has me stumped. How does one pronounce hex, after the first iteration? In decimal, we have nice words like 'fifty' and 'sixteen'. Is there an official way of pronouncing a hexadecimal number like CF9? 'See hundred and effty-nine'? (which is totally wrong anyway because a hundred is 64 in hexidecimal) Any thoughts?"
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Eleventy What?

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  • Maybe (Score:3, Insightful)

    by David_Bloom (578245) <slashdot@3lesson.org> on Tuesday April 01, 2003 @07:13PM (#5641596) Homepage
    Won't just "Cee Eff Nine" work?
    • ya but that doesn't have a nice flow to it.
      • I think "zero-echs-cee-eff-niner" has a good flow... I'd like to see Eminem work that into his next batch of rhymes.

      • If English doesn't float your boat, how about German


        Or french

        say-eu-neuf? (where eu is like Eu in Europe.)

        Or a variety of other languages? I am pretty sure we could find one you like. ^_^
      • Re:Maybe (Score:3, Informative)

        by KDan (90353)
        That's the official pronunciation for hex though.

        For anything other than decimal you're not meant to use "ten", "hundred", "twenty", etc. Eg:

        Binary: 1011 - One-Oh-One-One
        Octal: 7326 - Seven-Three-Two-Six
        Decimal: 4729 - Four thousand seven hundred and twenty nine
        Hexadecimal: 28ad - Two-Eight-A-D

        Simple, huh?

        • Re:Maybe (Score:3, Insightful)

          by unitron (5733)
          "Binary: 1011 - One-Oh-One-One"

          Please be precise enough to use "zero" when pronouncing "0".

          "Decimal: 4729 - Four thousand seven hundred and twenty nine"

          There is no "and" in "4729".

          • it isn't "Four thousand seven hundred and twenty nine", it is "Four thousand seven hundred twenty nine".

            4729.5 - Four thousand seven hundred twenty nine and five tenths
          • Except that it is correct.

            Although I'm sure he didn't mean it this way, the "and" denotes addition. It used to be a common way of expressing numbers, but is now taught as being "incorrect." For an example, the Gettysburg Address: "Four score and seven years ago" = 80 + 7 = 87, or "Indeed, I am not yet one and twenty." = "Yeah, I'm not one plus twenty yet" = "Yeah, I'm not twenty-one yet."

            Four-thousand-seven-hundred and twenty-nine means 4700 + 29, which is the equivalent of 4729.

            The "you only use 'and' i
            • The 'and' is best saved for speech of a poetic nature ('fourscore and seven', 'four and twenty blackbirds') or colloquial use.

              The sloppier one's speech, in circumstances where clarity and precision should be the norm, such as newscasters, public utterances of politicians, teachers in the classroom, et cetera, the sloppier I suspect to be their thinking.

    • Going along with this, for numbers in the "Hexithousands" (i made that up), use "scientific hexitation" (e.g. cee eff nine times eff to the sixty-fourth power)
    • Won't just "Cee Eff Nine" work?
      That depends...do you say "one zero zero" or "one hundred" when speaking of the decimal number 100?
  • by itwerx (165526)
    DEADBEEF always works for me but there are some who would consider it BADC0DE... :)
  • There was a node on E2 about this, but I couldn't find it after searching for a few minutes. Anyone remember the title?
  • when this day is over.

    /me waits, watches the clock and clicks reload
  • Perhaps, (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sevn (12012) on Tuesday April 01, 2003 @07:24PM (#5641663) Homepage Journal
    If there was an actual need to speak these numbers,
    we'd have some slick as chit way to pronounce them.
    Necessity is the MUTHA of invention. Most people go
    around talking in base ten. Most people have no
    need at all for anything but base ten. Go figure
    it's what we have words for.
  • Color (Score:5, Funny)

    by David_Bloom (578245) <slashdot@3lesson.org> on Tuesday April 01, 2003 @07:25PM (#5641669) Homepage
    Well, if it represented a color (#c0f090), I'd call it light green.
  • Heh (Score:3, Funny)

    by itwerx (165526) <itwerx@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 01, 2003 @07:39PM (#5641742) Homepage
    "CF9 with Jack and Jill"
    "Now F is tired"
    "CF sleep..."

    "69" comments are automatically modded redundant and posters will be assumed to have the mental age of an eggplant.
  • by denubis (105145) <(moc.tfarcinhcet) (ta) (nairb)> on Tuesday April 01, 2003 @07:40PM (#5641752)
    This is, unfortunatly, a point that has been drilled into me by my Discrete Math profs.

    All non decimal systems pronounce the digits individally.

    E.g. 10 in base 2 is not "ten" but "one zero"
    And 734 in octal is "seven, three, four. Not seven thirty four, or variations on that theme.

    Hope this helps.
    • Yeah. And I had a teachers who insisted that "pretty" be pronounced to rhyme with "petty" (not "pity"), "err" rhymes with "slur" (not "air"), "nucleolus" is stressed like "alveolus" and "gigahertz" starts with a soft g. All correct I suppose, but rarely heard nowadays.

      I say "thirty-two hex" and even "thirty-two hundred hex" and "charlie thousand hex" on occasion. And my world hasn't collapseD43mjodu4trfk#*(%^&#)$)*(
      • I know someone who, even after being corrected, still can't break the habit of using the "singular" form, "one gigahert" for 1Ghz.
        • Has anyone ever pointed out to that person that the term used for cycles per second (as opposed to cycles per some other length of time) is the proper name Hertz, so that 1 cycle per second is 1 Hertz, and if you need a different term for singular and plural it would actually be Hertz and Hertzes? (If you're going to be wrong you might as well be accurate about it :-)
      • GigaHertz, like giga-everything else, really does start with a "j" sound because it comes from the same root word as "gigantic". Back when microwave communications technicians were working those frequencies and computer people relied on ferrite beads strung on wires for memory there wasn't the present misunderstanding about this.
        • GigaHertz, like giga-everything else, really does start with a "j" sound because it comes from the same root word as "gigantic

          Nope. E.g. www.m-w.com says either pronunciation is ok:

          Main Entry: giga-

          Pronunciation: 'ji-g&, 'gi-
          Function: combining form
          Etymology: International Scientific Vocabulary, from Greek gigas giant : billion ; gigahertz; gigawatt

          My previous understanding was that the J pronunciation was primarily British where American was primarily G, but I certainly hear J from time to

          • My point was that before consumer-level computer processor speeds, memory sizes, and hard drive sizes got into the range of needing the 'giga' prefix, in other words, before the general public got involved, people using the prefix knew the proper pronunciation. As for the dictionary citation, if enough people misuse or mispronounce a word often enough long enough, then eventually the incorrect definition or pronunciation becomes accepted as "correct". Apparently that process is underway with regard to 'gi
      • I had a physics teacher who reamed some guy out for not pronouncing "kilometer" as "kilo-meter".. he had this huge tirade about the joining of two words, and how you should always keep the pronounciation of each one..

        So I asked him what you use to measure temperature or speed? Obvously a "thermo-meter" or "speedo-meter"..

        He didn't like that.
    • Twenty is a number. 20 decimal represents that number. 20 hex does not. It represents a different number.

      But the 2 and the 0 in 20H are still a two and a zero, so saying "two-zero hex" (where "hex" is optional if understood) is quite correct, while "twenty" is not.

    • 10 in base 2 is not "one zero", it's "zero one"

      that's what my assembly teacher keeps repeating anyway, "you always read binary from right to left"
      • Gak!

        Your assembly teacher is being pedantic on a non-issue. OTOH, it is akin to the big endian/little endian holy wars of past which were never won... the combatants simply tired of the fight.

        If it is written out as 11001010001, then natives to non-asian/eastern languages will naturally tend to read it from left to right, starting with "one, one..." As long as the right people know which bit is most significant, it's OK.

        Your instructor is distracting you with a rule which is linguistically invalid and
      • Tell your assembly teacher that while most operations on binary numbers are performed from right-to-left, you speak it left-to-right, because that is proper English.

        If he still insists on being an (incorrect) pedant, ask him why he doesn't speak the decimal number 456 as "six-fifty-four-hundred", and tell him that while operations on decimal numbers are performed right-to-left, just like with binary numbers, the number itself is read left-to-right (again, just like with binary numbers).
    • Also, where the digits are easily confused, better to use phonetics. So the answer to your query is "Charlie Foxtrot niner".
  • by Bitsy Boffin (110334) on Tuesday April 01, 2003 @08:32PM (#5641999) Homepage
    Err, are not the names we give numbers independant of any notational system? i.e

    The number we have given the name two and is written as "2" in decimal, in binary is written 10, but it's still called two, just the notation changed. In hexadecimal, the number we call sixteen is written 10, but it's still called sixteen.

    Of course if you want say a number in a specific notation you'll need to not only spell it out but also state the system so as to avoid ambiguity ("the number `one-zero' in binary notation") as using the number's name implies the use of the decimal notation.

    If you ask somebody to write down some numbers, and you read them out as "one, two, three, four", the subject should be perfectly able to use the binary notational system to write them down as "01, 10, 11, 100", they've recorded the numbers you spake correctly.
    • I do get what you're saying, but consider that the spoken form assumes base ten - hence its terminology and interations of ten.

      This all comes of not having enough digits to begin with. If we could just have evolved with eight fingers on each hand ...

    • There have been many, many comments along these lines here at slashdot (why would I expect more?), and it is just wrong.

      Twenty-three obviously represents a two in the second order digit and a three in the first order digit. In addition, our language has an implied base 10 marker, though not an inherent one. We did not name 2^6 number of sticks as "si-cs-ti-for", like we did a "pair" of sticks, we constructed that number out of a shared understanding of a base 10 numerical system.

      If you ask someone to wr
      • There's slightly more to it than that though, because the arabic numerals are named by base 10.

        The name of the numeral '2' is 'two'. The value of the numeral '2' is 2 in base ten, and any bases with a radix larger than 2.

        So, if I write, "what's 3 in binary?" you know that I mean I want 11 as the answer because you assume the 3 in the question is in a base higher than 2, so the numeral also has some implied value, and use beyond that of a symbol.

        Gee, this is challenging to describe in English... :)
  • I like it. Now I can write a satirical political novel about civil liberties lost through digital surveilance and call it '19A4'.

  • by DaoudaW (533025) on Tuesday April 01, 2003 @09:07PM (#5642151)
    Finally something I know something about. "One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, able, baker, Charlie, dog, easy, fox, one-zero. One-one, one-two, one-three, one-four, one-five, one-six, one-seven, one-eight, one-nine, one-able, one-baker, one-Charlie, one-dog, one-easy, one-fox, two-zero. Two-one, two-two, two-three..." Three digit numbers likewise: "One-zero-nine, one-zero-able, one-zero-baker,..., nine-fox-fox, able-zero-zero."
  • by mbstone (457308) on Tuesday April 01, 2003 @09:27PM (#5642221)
    Andy Rooney, for example, expounds on topics just as mundane and trivial as this one, every Sunday on 3C Minutes.
  • by crmartin (98227)
    "Charlie Foxtrot nine" of course.
  • and you're right, there is no current answer.

    What needs to be done is to invent words that mean each of these symbols. When you say A in hex it is not the alphabet A, it's a totally different concept and needs a different word to express it.

    The best way would be to invent and standardize a set of words for speaking numbers/about numbers in base 16. Because, really, 10 would be pronounced "sixteen" which makes no sense. Base16(16) should be pronounced "16" and mean base10(22).

    It's a culture/language thing
    • (I don't know why that got modded funny, but nevermind.)

      "When you say A in hex it is not the alphabet A", this is a perfectly good point, but you don't go far enough. To do this properly, we really need new symbols for the hex numbers A to F too.

      But then, we probably have too many characters for all sorts of things as it is, and hex is not in common enough usage for much effort to be invested in this.

      • I've thought about this too, and that's the same conclusion that I came to (invent new symbols/names for hex A-F).

        The only problem it would take some doing to memorize these new symbols, and it would make it more difficult for new programmers, etc. to learn how to use hex...
  • by PurpleBob (63566) on Tuesday April 01, 2003 @11:45PM (#5642664)
    Well, I don't know how to solve the problem of "hundred". But the digits can have names (and not just the letter names, which have the problem that they're hard to tell apart and A sounds like 8).

    On Everything2, there's the node Names for digits higher than 9 [everything2.com]. The names for the digits - I have no idea who created them - are "dek" for A, "el" for B, "zen" for C, "tris" for D, "cat" for E, and "kink" for F.
  • by Sunlighter (177996) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @01:53AM (#5642892)

    In section 4.1 of The Art of Computer Programming, Donald Knuth describes:

    ...a prominent Swedish-American civil engineer named John W. Nystrom [who] decided to... [devise] a complete system of numeration, weights, and measures based on radix-16 arithmetic. He wrote, "I am not afraid, or do not hesitate, to advocate a binary system of arithmetic and metrology. I know I have nature on my side; if I do not succeed to impress upon you its utility and great importance to mankind, it will reflect that much less credit on our generation, upon our scientific men and philosophers." Nystrom devised special means for pronouncing hexadecimal numbers; for example, [0xC0160] was to be read "vybong, bysanton." His entire system was called the Tonal System, and it is described in J. Franklin Inst. 46 (1863), 263-275, 337,348, 402-407.

    Maybe you should get that issue of that journal and give it a try.

    • quoted from http://www.monmouth.com/~colonel/tonal.html [monmouth.com]

      From Recreations in Mathematics, by H. E. Licks (Van Nostrand, 1917):

      John W. Nystrom of Philadelphia devised about fifty years ago the tonal system&quot of numeration in which 16 is the base instead of 10 as in the decimal system. The numerals 1, 2, 3, 4, etc., were called An, De, Ti, Go, etc., and new characters were devised for 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. This system embraced also a new division of the year into 16 months, these having the names

  • 159 is formally "one hundred fifty nine," not "one hundred and fifty nine."

    "And" is for decimal places, as in 159.7 = one hundred fifty nine and seven tenths.

    • 159 is formally "one hundred fifty nine," not "one hundred and fifty nine."

      "And" is for decimal places, as in 159.7 = one hundred fifty nine and seven tenths.

      Says who? Where I come from, we put the "and" in. Do you have a World Government decree supporting your claim?

    • In the UK adding the "and" is correct, as is pronouncing the numbers after a decimal point individually.

      159.34 is "one hundred and fifty nine point three four".

      You'll only hear Americans and children who are just learning about decimals say "point thirty four" in the UK.
      • Actually, that's wrong. Proper English (both British and American) is that "and" is used to denote something added to the whole number. You don't separate a description of an integer with "and". So, 183,269 is "one hundred eighty three thousand, two hundred sixty nine", not "one hundred and eighty three thousand two hundred and sixty nine". It also means that $194.31 is "one hundred ninety four dollars AND thirty one cents".
    • 159 is formally "one hundred fifty nine," not "one hundred and fifty nine."

      "And" is for decimal places, as in 159.7 = one hundred fifty nine and seven tenths.

      You can easily pick up any of the formal writing guides (e.g The Columbia Guide to Standard American English, or the Associated Press style guide) and see that "and" is correct usage when pronouncing 159 as "one hundred and fify-nine". Any native American English speaker will agree.

      The same is true in Britain for native speakers.

      Some American mat
      • Correct. However, I will point out that nobody says, "three-hundred and one" and means "300.1". The actual math jargon is "three-hundred and one tenth" (which, according to the rule I'll describe below, is correct, but not for the reason that most math teachers think), but this is thankfully falling out of favor in preference to the less ambiguous, and easier to say, "whatever point whatever" style ("three-hundred point one" in this case).

        The word "and" means "in addition to", so "Jim and myself..." means
  • by Michael.Forman (169981) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @04:38AM (#5643205) Homepage Journal

    I was really inspired by this question. It's a wonderful mix of mathematics and linguistics. Because a quick post to Slashdot couldn't cover it in enough detail, I wrote up some thoughts I had on the subject, which you can find here [michael-forman.com]. Also included is information on how Americans and Europeans differ in their transliteration of base-ten numbers.

    Here's an excerpt:

    How does one transliterate numbers of arbitrary bases? For example the number "562" is transliterated as "five hundred and sixty two" but how would one transliterate the hex number "0xDEADBEEF"? The text below attempts to answer that question using two methods. The first is a rigorous and technically accurate method but is difficult to use. The second is technically less rigorous but is simple to use ...


    How do you say that in a hurry eh?

    And don't get me started on the US/UK difference in missing out 'and' e.g. 101 Dalmations:

    One Hundred AND One Dalmations
    One Hundred, One Dalmations.

    And how about Two gross, three dozen and four?

    "Thirteen Twenty", could be a year or a time.

    Four score and Ten
    Quatre Vingt Dix

  • Yes (Score:4, Funny)

    by anthony_dipierro (543308) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @08:10AM (#5643622) Journal

    Is there an official way of pronouncing a hexadecimal number like CF9?

    "Three thousand five hundred seventy seven."

    • by oPless (63249)
      or Cee Eff Nine
      or Charlie Foxtrot Nine

      BTW for you Americans out there, the rest of the world uses the NATO/Seaspeak Alphabet.
      • Alpha (also spelled Alfa)
      • Bravo,
      • Charlie,
      • Delta,
      • Echo,
      • Foxtrot,
      • Golf,
      • Hotel,
      • India,
      • Juliet,
      • Kilo,
      • Lima,
      • Mike,
      • November,
      • Oscar,
      • Papa,
      • Quebec,
      • Romeo,
      • Sierra,
      • Tango,
      • Uniform,
      • Victor,
      • Whiskey,
      • X-ray,
      • Yankee,
      • Zulu,

      It took me a while to wonder WTF yank films insist on saying "Baker" instead of "Bravo"
      I suppose it's because you can't spell COLOUR,
      FLAVOUR or any number of other words correctly.


    • by TummyX (84871)
      Or more accurately:

      "Three thousand thread hundred twenty one."
  • Keanu Reeves on Celebrity Jeopardy:

    Trebek: "And You wagered eleventy billion dollars. That's not even a real number"

    Reeves "...yet."

    Trebek "Simply stunning."

    Of course, I guess that's better than French Stewart's $Texas wager.
  • For hex, we just need new terms for the powers, e.g.

    0 zero 10 hex 20 biex 10 hex
    1 one 11 hexune 21 biex one 20 biex
    2 two 12 hexadual 22 biex two 30 triex
    3 three 13 hexter 23 biex three 40 quadex
    4 four 14 hexaquad 24 biex four 50 quinex
    5 five 15 hexequine 25 biex five 60 sessex
    6 six 16 hexess 26 biex six 70 heptex
    7 seven 17 hexept 27 biex seven 80 octex
    8 eight 18 hexoct 28 biex eight 90 nonex
    9 nine 19 hexanone
    • "DEADBEEF = Dellex eek hexted and alphex dell hexend, bethex eek hexted and eechex foke"

      In the news today, 12 computer scientists die from choking to death. Apparently, their colleagues stood by and watched thinking they must surely be trying to pronounce a hexidecimal number.

    • by jtheory (626492)
      That's certainly interesting, and if I were writing a SF novel about a future in which the world had converted to hex, I might use it. Except by that time we'd probably have a more efficient means of communicating numbers to each other than speech....

      I wouldn't teach a kid that this was how to pronounce hex, anyway (see orig question); after all, conversation is about shared meaning, and if he's the only one in the room who knows what he's saying, he's not communicating. That's even worse than raising yo
  • Does efty-1-ninety remind anyone else of the shop keep out of League of Gentlemen?

    This is local site for local people

  • One hundred buckets of bits on the bus,

    one hundred buckets of bits.

    Take one down,

    Short it to ground

    FF buckets of bits on the bus.


  • I propose using the suffix hex for multiples of 16^1,
    hexia for multiples of 16^2 and
    hexium for multiples of 16^3.

    Therefore I would pronounce CF9 as "Twelve-hexia, Effex, Nine"
    B3D1 would be "Elevenexium, threehexia, deehex, one"

    Note: A, B and C can be pronounced ten, eleven, twelve.
    D, E and F I would pronounce dee, ee and eff.
  • Three thousand, three hundred and twenty-one?

    Tell your son that rules for formal pronunciation require on-the-fly conversion to decimal.

    Informally, he can say either "zero eks cee eff nine", or "cee eff nine base sixteen".

    If he's smart, he'll figure out it's less work to settle for the serialization scheme of pronunciation.

    Shoot, for very large or very many decimal numbers that you have to read over the phone the serialization protocol is typically what is used.

    You don't hear many folks talk about thei

"The algorithm to do that is extremely nasty. You might want to mug someone with it." -- M. Devine, Computer Science 340