Fractions in the Suan Shu Shu (China, Beginning of the 2nd Century BCE)

Abstract : The Suàn Shù Shū contains 301 instances of regular expressions for fractions. They can be “mono-dimensional” (formed with one integer name only) for unit fractions, “bidimensional” (with two integer names) for both unit and non-unit fractions, or lexicalized only for 1/3, 1/2 and 2/3. The present paper gives a complete description of the diversity of these forms. Bidimensional expressions are predicative phrases: the name n fēn of a unit fraction 1/n acts as subject and the numerator’s name as predicate; according to the syntactic context, the morpheme zhī can be used as an optional marker of this predicative relation.
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Contributor : Rémi Anicotte <>
Submitted on : Thursday, March 30, 2017 - 5:02:19 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, January 11, 2018 - 6:19:18 AM


Anicotte 2017_Fractions in the...
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  • HAL Id : hal-01393062, version 4
  • ARXIV : 1611.01946



Rémi Anicotte. Fractions in the Suan Shu Shu (China, Beginning of the 2nd Century BCE). The Journal of Chinese Linguistics, 2017, 45 (1), pp.20 - 67. ⟨hal-01393062v4⟩



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