Monday, 29 June 2009

Post#132 The Power of Seven

Have you read Tristram Shandy, Laurence Stern's roller-coaster of a novel? If you have you may recall the conversation between Dr Slop and Uncle Toby on the significance of the number seven: the seven sacraments, the seven days of the week, the seven deadly sins, the seven wonders of the world, the seven planets and the seven plagues.

Is there magic in the number seven? Perhaps there is. I've certainly been told that seventh children have extraordinary powers, though I've been unable to verify this, never having met a seventh child. :-)


Retarius said...

Some Sevenalia;

(Arnie says)Dere are some moofies vid seven in dem: "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers", S7ven, Seven Samurai...

In China seven is considered to be unlucky because its Chinese name sounds like the word for "death" in one of the Chinese languages.

In Australia the European 7 with a crossbar, like F (only backwards) has taken off over the past twenty years. I started using it just because I thought it was exotic. I don't know why so many others are.

Anastasia F-B said...

I adopted the practice of using the crossbar seven under the influence of my mother. She spent some time in Germany, where the usage is commonplace. "Write four without the bar and see how that looks." She had a point: it does not look like a four. :-))

Retarius said...

But what kind of four do you mean? And which bar?

Anastasia F-B said...

Well, the number! It would be traditionally written like an upside down seven, with the bar across the short arm. I hope that makes sense. I'm a bit jolly tonight. :-)

Retarius said...

I get it; it was an analogy!

To a person used to the barred seven, the absence of the horizontal bar is as blatant as would be a lack of the vertical bar on the four.

I was trying to decide whether you meant the open four or this one: 4
This forms a closed right triangle and I was heinously criticised in primary school for experimenting with the writing of this type of numeral. "That's how Americans do fours", I was told. Enough said.