Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The World of Numbers

Dr Abe V Rotor
Lesson: Continue with this list to enrich your vocabulary for use in school and in conversation.  

A swarm of locust

 We are fond of numbers and we use different terms to denote animals, plants and our own species. These terms given to groups of animals give us distinct and more vivid imagery about their natural gregarious character.

Here are common examples.

• Lions – pride
• Goat – trip
• Cows – flink
• Sheep – flock
• Birds – flock 
• Fishes – school
• Ants - colony

• Flies – swarm
• Cattle – herd
• Bacteria – colony
• Geese – gaggle (on the ground); skein (in the air)

A flock of birds

Grouping of plants is unique. Botanists and agriculturists use terms like tillers, as in rice; suckers in banana, runners and stolons in gabi and Bermuda grass, slips in pineapple. All these refer to the asexual progeny of a mother plant, duplicating itself many times in its lifetime. These are agronomic terms: a paddy of rice, an orchard, a grove of coconut, a plot or patch of vegetables.

Among us humans we use many terms such as a battery of lawyers, a battalion or platoon of soldiers, class in schools, team in games. a choir, a batch of graduates, or simply throng for a huge crowd. In an organization we group people into departments, divisions, sections, etc, specifying work and responsibility. Then we have such terms as congregation, fraternity, gang, and the like.

Systematics became a science not only to quantify but organize numbers. In biology, systematics which refers to identification and classification of organisms adopts the terms kingdom, phylaor division, class, order, family, genus and species, among sub-types, including smaller categories as races, varieties, breeds, accessions and cultivars.

Numbers, numbers, numbers - we live by numbers.

x x x

Reference: Living with Folk Wisdom, by AV Rotor, UST Press Manila

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