# Is it worth it to replace Arabic numerals with Kaktovik numerals?

is there is any advantage for Kaktovik numerals over Arabic numerals, if there is any can you explain to me in detail if I should replace Arabic numerals with Kaktovik numerals in my daily life?

## 1 answer

For the vast majority of mathematics and other uses of numbers, the specific details of numeral system notation -- how to represent specific numbers -- make surprisingly little difference.

As far as I can tell, there are only 2 differences between Kaktovik numerals and the decimal numeral system: the base, and the specific shapes of the letters.

## Base

Kaktovik numerals are a base-20 system, so they may be useful for transcribing numerals in the Iñupiaq language and other languages that express numbers in words that imply a base-20 system.

There has been a lot of thought about improving the traditional base-10 (decimal) system. I feel that most of the people I've read on this subject would agree that base-20 is theoretically overall better than base-10. Alas, most of the people I've read on this subject propose some other base that is even better than base-20 in some way -- even worse, they seem to disagree on exactly which base is best. Perhaps the most popular bases currently are:

- dozenal has some strong arguments in its favor for human writing and speech: Dozenal FAQs
- hexadecimal is better for finger-counting on human hands (in 2 very different ways)
- octal
- Base-2 and base-3 usually have the best radix economy when physically building calculating hardware.

## shapes of the digits

In my opinion, the 3 most important design characteristics of written digit symbols are (in order of importance):

- Readability
- Writability
- Learnability

Let's start with Learnability:

"They are visually iconic, with shapes that indicate the number being represented." -- Kaktovik numerals

That's clearly much better for people *learning* the system than traditional decimal digits, who must spend more time memorizing the apparently arbitrary shapes of the traditional decimal digits and their apparently arbitrary mapping to values.

A few other sets of digit symbols also have this nice property of the symbol logically reflecting the value of the digit:

- Maya numerals (also base-20, like Kaktovik numerals)
- Pentadic numerals (base 10)
- Stargate Ancients numerals (base 10) (alas, far more difficult to write)
- Babylonian cuneiform numerals (base 60)
- Matthew DeBlock has designed such symbols for hexadecimal digits
- Omniglot collects a huge variety of natural and constructed writing systems, a few of which have this property
- r/neography is a place for discussing constructed scripts, including written digit symbols, which sometimes have this property.

## 3 comment threads