The names of the numbers: one, two, three, ten, twenty, thirty, … are different, of course, in the various languages. Number symbols (see Arabic_numerals, Babylonian_numerals, Egyptian_numerals, Greek_numbers, Indian_numerals, Mayan_mathematics) have also differed widely. Those we are accustomed to, which we call Arabic numerals, came into use relatively late in history. In primitive ages, before the invention of writing, there were names for numbers but no number symbols. Without referring to any particular number symbols, or any particular language, let us see how an extended counting process can be carried out using only the ten fingers of man. In one South African tribe, it goes along smoothly in the following manner.

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