Say I want to say 131 in German, then I say einhunderteinunddreizig which has the 'word structure of' hundreds place-ones plane- tens place. Is there any historical reason that germans have swapped ones and tens place in their naming?

  • 2
    Somewhat unrelated: Why is English, especially the US, using it wrong for dates, like 10/9/21 meaning October 9th instead of 10th September? :) Nov 15, 2021 at 11:26
  • I don't know if there are any natural languages where the number system is completely logical and consistent. It's generally for "historical reasons" and it's seldom worthwhile to get into the details.
    – RDBury
    Nov 16, 2021 at 7:37

1 Answer 1


No. But they haven't swapped it - unlike English, they haven't unswapped it. Read some Charles Dickens, and you will find the same number style as in German.

In practice there is the small advantage that if you are not listening properly and miss the start of a number, you still get it roughly right :-)

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