Definition:Number Names/Numbering of Sheep

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Definition

There are a number of traditional system of numbers used for counting sheep in certain locales in the British Isles.

This is one example:

\((1)\)   $:$   wan             
\((2)\)   $:$   twan             
\((3)\)   $:$   tethera             
\((4)\)   $:$   methera             
\((5)\)   $:$   pimp             
\((6)\)   $:$   sethera             
\((7)\)   $:$   lethera             
\((8)\)   $:$   hovera             
\((9)\)   $:$   dovera             
\((10)\)   $:$   dick             
\((11)\)   $:$   wanadick             
\((12)\)   $:$   twanadick             
\((13)\)   $:$   tetheradick             
\((14)\)   $:$   metheradick             
\((15)\)   $:$   pimpdick             
\((16)\)   $:$   setheradick             
\((17)\)   $:$   letheradick             
\((18)\)   $:$   hoveradick             
\((19)\)   $:$   doveradick             
\((20)\)   $:$   bumfit             
\((21)\)   $:$   wanabumfit             

and so on.


Prime.mover remembers a song learned at school in which the chorus ran:

Yain tain eddero peddero, yain tain eddero jig

which was built from another such system.


The children's nursery rhyme:

Hickory dickory dock
The mouse ran up the clock
The clock struck one
The mouse ran down
Hickory dickory dock

appears to use versions of the shepherds' words for $8$, $9$, $10$ as its first and last lines.


Again, the children's counting game:

Eeny meeny miny mo
Catch a [ethnic minority] by his toe
If he squeals let him go
Eeny meeny miny mo

appears to use the shepherds' numbers for $1$, $2$, $3$ and $4$.


Sources