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Calling eighteen and nineteen "two from twenty" and "one from twenty" has always felt like a bit of joke to me, especially since modern uses of Latin and all her daughter languages use the "expected" "ten and eight" and "ten and nine", in some order, instead. Thus my question: What classical attestations actually exist for duodeviginti and undeviginti as opposed to octodecim and novemdecim?

Trying to find them myself online has not borne fruit, and I do not have physical access to any classical Latin sources myself, only student texts that blithely state the fact without justification.

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    Most of the daughter languages do not use anything like octodecim and novemnecim, but have replaced seventeen onwards with the reverse structure, derived from decim-septem, decim-octo, decim_novem_.
    – Colin Fine
    Dec 24, 2023 at 22:26
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    Accuracy aside, I think there's a good question here: if you want to figure out where a particular word is used, how do you find that? I've given one answer (a corpus search) but someone explaining how to consult Lewis and Short would also be good.
    – Draconis
    Dec 25, 2023 at 2:05
  • @ColinFine yeah, that's a good point. Sorry for the incorrect generalization. Still, none of them use anything like "two from twenty"
    – No Name
    Dec 26, 2023 at 1:45
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    You're right, none of them use those forms. But I find it interesting that so many languages "change gear" somewhere in the teens: Classical Latin changed at 18, most Romance languages change at 16 or 17, Germanic languages change at 13, and traditional Welsh changes at 15, with an outlier for 18.
    – Colin Fine
    Dec 26, 2023 at 12:06

2 Answers 2

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The Packard corpus shows 16 results for undeviginti and 34 for duodeviginti.

Notably, it also shows 2 for octodecim, though zero for novemdecim.

Meanwhile, septemdecim gets 20 hits, showing us about how many we should expect for a number like this.

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    There are 36 results if you allow for adjective/adverb forms like undevice(n)simus, undevicie(n)s, and undeviceni
    – brianpck
    Dec 24, 2023 at 20:09
  • Thanks for the resource. I'll wait another day and a few cursory experiments of my own before accepting. Once I'm back in front of a proper computer I'll definitely be adding this tool to my bookmarks.
    – No Name
    Dec 26, 2023 at 1:52
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"Undeviginti" is attested at Livy "The History of Rome", book 30, chapter 9: "Claudius triremes quadriremesque et undeviginti hominum milia armavit".

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