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  1. blueeye's Avatar
    Junior Member
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      • Native Language:
      • Serbian
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    nineteentimes table

    In Abraham Verghese's novel Cutting for Stone there is a term I do not understand and I didn't find anywhere. The context is following:

    What promise she’d shown in those early years, sailing through church school in Asmara, skipping grades, speaking fluent official Italian (as opposed to the bar-and-cinema version spoken by many Ethiopians, in which prepositions and pronouns were dispensed with altogether), and able to recite even her nineteentimes table.

    What does the "nineteentimes table" mean? Thanx.

  2. BobK's Avatar
    Harmless drudge
    English Teacher
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    Re: nineteentimes table

    Tables seem to have gone out of fashion in the UK education system, but in the '50s I remember chanting (with the rest of my class) 'Once one is one, Once two is two...' - the 'One times table'. There were many others (infinitely many, I suppose, but most people only learnt the first 12). The twelve times table went '12 times 1 is 12, 12 times 2 is 24, 12 times 3 is 36...'.

    I think we stopped at 12 because in those days a shilling (today's 5p) was divided into 12 pennies, and knowing the twelve times table was nearly essential for handling money competently. In some schools - just to show they were 'better' than others - they learnt the 13 times table.

    So the 19 times table is

    19 times 1 is 19
    19 times 2 is 38
    19 times 3 is 57
    (Nowadays a child asked 'What's 19 times 7?' would say 'Easy, it's 140 - 7', but in my day we preferred to do things the hard way!)


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