Lexicon Valley: The history and evolution of writing out numbers in the English language.

How Did We Go From Four and Twenty to Twenty-Four?

How Did We Go From Four and Twenty to Twenty-Four?

A show about the mysteries of English.
Nov. 3 2014 10:41 AM

How Did We Go From Four and Twenty to Twenty-Four?

Listen to Slate’s show about the history and evolution of writing out numbers in the English language.

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Listen to Lexicon Valley Episode No. 46: Number Theory

Four and twenty. That's how many blackbirds, you may remember, were baked in that unappetizing pie of “Sing a Song of Sixpence” fame. But did people really write out—and speak—numerals in that way? Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo talk about the transition in English—over the course of 700 years!—from four and twenty to twenty-four.

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You’ll find every Lexicon Valley episode at slate.com/lexiconvalley, or in the player below:

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