Making my pronunciation systems even more like base ten in English.

How my basic systems for pronouncing numbers in other bases could be modified to make them more closely analogous to the standard pronunciation of base ten.

I’m not saying this is a good idea, just that it is possible, and this is one way to do it.


Instead of 11,110two being ‘ri mi ni ti’, it could be ‘ti si mi ni ti’. (Or in the easy/beginner version that uses some base ten names: ‘ri mi four two’ could be ‘two one mi four two’). Note that the version that mimics more closely our way of pronouncing base ten has more syllables.

This a bit like how in base ten we don’t pronounce 11,110ten as ‘myriad thousand hundred ten’ or ‘one myriad one thousand one hundred ten’ but rather ‘eleven thousand one hundred ten’. Myriad is usually used to mean ‘a great number of’ but technically also/originally meant ‘ten thousand’.

Base eight.

Instead of 11,110eight being ‘one tin one pi one shi one mi’, it could be ‘one mi si pi one shi one mi’ or if base ten names are shunned: ‘si tin si pi si shi si mi’ could be, ‘si mi si pi si shi si mi’ (shunning base ten names makes it a lot harder to pronounce, in my view, so I don’t normally do it. Anyway, the point, as I see it, is to complement base ten, not to get away from it as completely as possible.

An interesting reply from Ajay Kumar Bisoi to my question posted about four days ago that is relevant to this and the resulting thread so far.

Two days ago Ajay Kumar Bisoi on this page said, in response to my repeated questions, that he might pronounce binary 110101101111 as ‘Six b-billion, five b-million, five b-thousands and seven’, ‘where b-billion=2⁹, b-million=2⁶, b-thousand=2³’. (Fourteen syllables not counting the ‘and’).

I think this is not too bad at all. I’ve not been able to find anything like it using Google, so it seems to be AKB’s invention.

It inspired me to come up with something more purely binary by getting rid of ‘six’, and the other base ten numbers, as well as to get rid of the commas, and the typo (I assume it’s a typo) that left and ‘s’ on ‘thouand’, and the unneeded ‘and’, to create my:

‘four two b-billion four one b-million four one b-thousand seven’. (Seventeen syllables).

In my system it would have been written 110,101,101,111two and have been pronounced ‘one tit one tis one fi one shi one li one mi four two one’. (Fifteen syllables)

Mimicking English denary more closely, I created for 110,101,101,111two:

‘four two pi four one shi four one mi four two one’. (twelve syllables).

Edit: six pi five shi five mi seven is the same number in octal. Aha. ‘pronounce binary 110101101111 as ‘Six b-billion, five b-million, five b-thousands and seven’, ‘where b-billion=2⁹, b-million=2⁶, b-thousand=2³’ is easier to understand now. It’s actually the binary number converted to base eight (because binary has no ‘six’ or ‘five’ or ‘seven’), but the powers of eight are named as if they are powers of two. It is fascinating because octal is a form of binary.

For the record.

This is what is on the Quora page right now, on March 24th 2021. Here’s the link:

It is how I remember it, so it seems that nothing has been edited there yet.

How should you pronounce binary numbers when counting and doing arithmetic in binary?

Ajay Kumar Bisoi

, former Professor(retired) at Utkal University, Bhubaneswar

Answered Mon

There is seldom any need to do so, although it can be pronounced analogous to the decimal system,e.g.,

1011 is one eights one twos and one, or simply eight two one

Practically one uses hexadecimal notation to convey large strings of binary numbers, e.g,

110101101111= 1101 0110 1111= D6F in hex, which is easy to pronounce


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· Answer requested by Matthew Bartsh

You upvoted this

Matthew Bartsh


How would you pronounce binary 110101101111 in binary, without converting it to hex?

Ajay Kumar Bisoi


One has to invent names for place values like in the decimal sytem, e.g.,

100 can be b-hundred for binary hundred ( decimal 8)

1000 b-thousand

1000000 b- million

1000000000 b-billion


You can pronounce any string of binary numbers following this prescription of mine.

However, the listner has to be taught how to decode

Matthew Bartsh


Up voted because I like your core idea, but I think perhaps that the names could do with some work.

Could you answer my question specifically: How would you pronounce binary 110101101111 in binary, without converting it to hex?

Ajay Kumar Bisoi


How about

Six b-billion, five b-million, five b-thousands and seven

where b-billion=2⁹, b-million=2⁶, b-thousand=2³

Matthew Bartsh


Upvoted. I like it. I have not seen that before. How did you learn to count like that in binary?

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About the Author

Ajay Kumar Bisoi

Former Professor(retired) at Utkal University, Bhubaneswar

Ph D from Utkal University, Bhubaneswar

Lives in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India

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Matthew Christopher Bartsh

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