Why is 11 not pronounced onety one - Funny thoughts of the day

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Wednesday, 13/07/2016 09:07

Have you ever wondered why is 11 not pronounced onety one, why is 11 not called onety one? That is an interesting question which seems to come up with no answer. Here in this article, we will show you some possible answers for this funny and tricky questions. Funny thoughts of the day! History facts.

Why is 11 not pronounced onety one? Why is 11 not called onety one?

In English, eleven and twelve come from "one left over" and "two left over". 

Elleovene, from Old English endleofan, literally "one left" (over ten), from Proto-Germanic *ainlif- (compare Old Saxon elleban, Old Frisian andlova, Dutch elf, Old High German einlif, German elf, Old Norse ellifu, Gothic ainlif), a compound of *ain "one" (see one) + PIE *leikw- "leave, remain" (source of Greek leipein "to leave behind;"

Why is 11 not pronounced onety one

 Funny meme

Here are some possible answers:


Ten is not called onety because you have ten fingers and not nine. That part is actually extremely logical and straightforward. Besides, what do you think "ty" actually means? You suggest that we say "one ten" every time we want to say "ten". Now that is illogical

Our cavemen ancestors must have had a sizeable input into the development of our numbers system. For all those who have read Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M Auel, or watched the the very lovely Darryl Hannah in the movie of the same name, it is clear that the breakthrough in counting came at this time.

Who can forget the scene where the leaders of the cave tribe are struggling to count beyond ten, and Darryl’s younger version manages to figure it out in about 10 minutes. Of course, not wanting to be shown up, the leaders banish her from the tribe. You can get more information about language through language facts.


Our ancestors might have had two extra fingers and could count to 12. When you learned how to count, you did it using your fingers right? As we have a different number for 11 and 12, it must be that our ancestors had 12 fingers.

During those early days of counting, this makes perfect sense – it explains why we have different, unrelated words for each of the numbers 1-12.

Perhaps our cousins, the Neanderthals, had 2 extra digits. They were of course the more advanced branch of humans at one point.


If it wasn’t our ancestors, then perhaps the originator of the counting system was somehow genetically mutated and born with 12 fingers.

The sort of person who was thinking about numbers (instead of hunting deer) must have had some sort of genetic advantage, so they could well have had 12 fingers.


Perhaps the origins of 11 and 12 came from the ancient, and long forgotten race of Elves. If I had rather pointy ears that are ideal for counting, then I would have invented a number system based on my 10 fingers, and 2 pointy ears.

If these numbers did originate from the Elves, then Eleven and Twelve would come quite naturally.

Why is 11 not pronounced onety one funny meme



I seem to remember the German for 11 is Elf, which backs up point 4 quite nicely.


If anything, 11 should be tenty-one rather than onety-one.


11 is not onety-one because 10 is ten and not onety. Why isn’t it onety? Well, try counting 1-10 really fast, out loud in the middle of your office. One-two-three-four-five-six-seven-eight-nine and here it comes, onety.

I hope no-one heard you, otherwise you’d sound like a real idiot. It just doesn’t flow off the tongue does it. So if 10 isn’t onety, why can’t we make 11 whatever we like.


Interestingly, the number 11 also doesn’t follow logic in lots of other languages around the world, German, French, Spanish. If no-one else follows a logical counting system, then why should English? I would be interested if there are any Esperanto speakers reading this.

As it’s a fairly new language, you would hope they would have fixed this counting anomaly.


If 11 was onety-one then what would you call elevenses? For those not in the UK, this is our mid-morning snack. Presumably this would become onety-onesies?

That is just another reason why it shouldn’t be onety-one.


Bingo callers would have a tough time with Legs Onety-one. It doesn’t have quite the same ring as Legs Eleven.


Finally, our eleventh reason, just imagine how long it would take on Armistice Day parades to say "At the onety-first hour of the onety-first day of the onety-first month" A definite no-no.

At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month is much easier to remember.

And maybe it's because that would be too easy, the universe does not work that way.

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Ryan Carter

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