Written numbers can be read aloud in multiple different ways:

  1. Nominal numbers can be read by pronouncing each digit individually: "My phone number is 123456" read as "one, two, three..."
  2. Nominal numbers can also be read by chunking digits together where each chunk is read as a separate whole number: "123456" read as "twelve, thirty-four, fifty-six"
  3. Cardinal numbers can be read as whole numbers: "I'm 40 years old" read as "Forty"
  4. Ordinal number where digits are read as a single number but in a way that is different from cardinal numbers: "February 25, 1991" read as "Twenty-fifth"

What is the name of the linguistic or phonetic category that describes all the different ways a number can be read?

  • This confuses 'way in which a numeral is used' with 'way in which a numeral is pronounced'. You could read aloud your example phone number (a nominal usage) as "twelve thirty-four fifty-six" say, and confirm a cardinal number "We have fifty, that's five-oh, doses of vaccine left" using a different mode of expression. // Are you requesting a term fitting "This number is being used either as a cardinal or a nominal number; what would you say its ----- is?"? – Edwin Ashworth Dec 25 '20 at 14:38
  • There's a process for remembering and saying numbers called number chunking, but I'm not sure what you are asking here. – Cascabel Dec 25 '20 at 17:11
  • @EdwinAshworth Sorry for the late reply (and the unclear wording). I'm purely interested in the phonetic aspect of number reading. So reading nominal number as a series of 2-digit cardinals would certainly fall under the category I'm looking for. I'll edit my question to clarify. – Tenders McChiken Dec 27 '20 at 4:58
  • @Cascabel Thank you for mentioning Number Chunking. While chunking can describe how nominal numbers are read, it doesn't cover how cardinal and ordinal numbers are read. What I want is a category that encompasses all the ways numbers are read. I'll try to clarify my question further. – Tenders McChiken Dec 27 '20 at 5:06
  • Related and also related. // I've a strong suspicion that the optimal descriptor the lengthy one you use in your revised title. << category: all the ways a [whole, real, non-negative] number can be read out >> But note that numbers include vulgar etc fractions, recurring and terminating decimals, percentage representations (250% = 2·5 = 2½) ... irrationals (eg √2) ... complex numbers .... – Edwin Ashworth Dec 27 '20 at 12:02

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