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In
linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo ...

linguistics
, ordinal numerals or ordinal number words are words representing position or rank in a
sequential In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). It ...

sequential
order; the order may be of size, importance, chronology, and so on (e.g., "third", "tertiary"). They differ from
cardinal numeral In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ...
s, which represent quantity (e.g., "three") and other types of numerals. In traditional grammar, all
numeral A numeral is a figure, symbol, or group of figures or symbols denoting a number. It may refer to: * Numeral system used in mathematics * Numeral (linguistics), a part of speech denoting numbers (e.g. ''one'' and ''first'' in English) * Numerical di ...
s, including ordinal numerals, are grouped into a separate
part of speech In traditional grammar A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the world is truth, true. In epistemology, philosophers use the term "belief" to refer t ...
( la, nomen numerale, hence, "noun numeral" in older English grammar books). However, in modern interpretations of
English grammar English grammar is the way in which meanings are encoded into wordings in the English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A langu ...
, ordinal numerals are usually conflated with
adjective In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most langu ...
s. Ordinal numbers may be written in English with numerals and letter suffixes: 1st, 2nd or 2d, 3rd or 3d, 4th, 11th, 21st, 101st, 477th, etc., with the suffix acting as an
ordinal indicator In written languages, an ordinal indicator is a character, or group of characters, following a numeral denoting that it is an Ordinal number (linguistics), ordinal number, rather than a Names of numbers in English#Cardinal numbers, cardinal num ...

ordinal indicator
. Written dates often omit the suffix, although it is nevertheless pronounced. For example: 5 November 1605 (pronounced "the fifth of November ... "); November 5, 1605, ("November (the) Fifth ..."). When written out in full with "of", however, the suffix is retained: the 5th of November. In other languages, different ordinal indicators are used to write ordinal numbers. In
American Sign Language American Sign Language (ASL) is a natural language In neuropsychology Neuropsychology is a branch of psychology. It is concerned with how a person's cognition and behavior are related to the brain and the rest of the nervous system. Pr ...

American Sign Language
, the ordinal numbers first through ninth are formed with handshapes similar to those for the corresponding cardinal numbers with the addition of a small twist of the wrist.


English

In English, the main ordinal series is 'first', 'second', .... It is used in a variety of rankings, including time ('the first hour of the event'), space ('the first left'), and quality ('first class cabin'). The Latinate series 'primary', 'secondary', ... is often used for importance or precedence ('primary consideration') and sequence of dependence ('secondary effect', 'secondary boycott', 'secondary industry'), though there are other uses as well ('primary school', 'primary election'). The first two in the sequence are by far the most common; 'tertiary' appears occasionally, and higher numbers are rare except in specialized contexts ('
quaternary period The Quaternary ( ) is the current and most recent of the three periods of the Cenozoic The Cenozoic Era ( ) meaning "new life" is the current and most recent of the three geological eras of the Phanerozoic Eon. The Cretaceous–Paleogene ext ...
'). The Greek series ''proto-'', ''deutero-'', ''trito-'', ... is only found in prefixes, generally scholarly and technical coinages, e.g. protagonist, deuteragonist, tritagonist;
protium
protium
,
deuterium Deuterium (or hydrogen-2, symbol or deuterium, also known as heavy hydrogen) is one of two stable isotopes The term stable isotope has a meaning similar to stable nuclide, but is preferably used when speaking of nuclides of a specific elemen ...

deuterium
,
tritium Tritium ( or , ) or hydrogen-3 (symbol T or H) is a rare and radioactive Radioactive decay (also known as nuclear decay, radioactivity, radioactive disintegration or nuclear disintegration) is the process by which an unstable atomic nucl ...

tritium
; ''Proto-Isaiah'', ''Deutero-Isaiah''. Numbers beyond three are rare; those beyond four are obscure. The first twelve variations of ordinal numbers are given here. The spatial and chronological ordinal numbers corresponding to cardinals from 13 to 19 are the number followed by the suffix ''-th'', as "sixteenth". For multiples of ten, the same principle applies, with terminal ''-y'' changed to ''-ieth'', as "sixtieth". For other numbers, the elements of the cardinal number are used, with the last word replaced by the ordinal: 23 → "twenty-third"; 523 → "five hundred twenty-third" (
British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety that has undergone substantial codification of grammar and usage and is employed by a populatio ...
: "five hundred and twenty-third"). When speaking the numbers in
fractions A fraction (from Latin ', "broken") represents a part of a whole or, more generally, any number of equal parts. When spoken in everyday English, a fraction describes how many parts of a certain size there are, for example, one-half, eight-fifths, ...
, the spatial/chronological numbering system is used for denominators larger than 2 (2 as the denominator of a fraction is "half" rather than "second"), with a denominator of 4 sometimes spoken as "quarter" rather than "fourth". This system results in "two thirds" for and "fifteen thirty-seconds" for . This system is normally used for denominators less than 100 and for many
powers of 10 A power of 10 A power of 10 is any of the integer An integer (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, ...
. Examples include "six ten-thousandths" for and "three hundredths" for 0.03.


Chinese

In Chinese, ordinal numbers are formed by adding 第 (
pinyin ''Hanyu Pinyin'' (), often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objecti ...

pinyin
: dì,
Jyutping Jyutping is a romanisation Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and model ...
: dai6) before the cardinal numbers.


See also

*
Distributive number In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ...
*
English ordinal numbers English number words include numeral (linguistics), numerals and various words derived from them, as well as a large number of words borrowed from other languages. Cardinal numbers Cardinal number (linguistics), Cardinal numbers refer to the si ...
*
Multiplier (linguistics) In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ...
*
Ordinal indicator In written languages, an ordinal indicator is a character, or group of characters, following a numeral denoting that it is an Ordinal number (linguistics), ordinal number, rather than a Names of numbers in English#Cardinal numbers, cardinal num ...

Ordinal indicator
for more conventions for writing ordinal numbers (super-scripting) *
Ordinal number In set theory Set theory is the branch of that studies , which can be informally described as collections of objects. Although objects of any kind can be collected into a set, set theory, as a branch of , is mostly concerned with those that ...
for the related, but more formal and abstract, usage in mathematics * Regnal ordinal


References

{{DEFAULTSORT:Ordinal Number (Linguistics) Numerals Naming conventions