Numbers who are characters

September 13, 2009

In ordinal-linguistic personification, a type of synesthesia,

Letters or numbers trigger, not colour, but the impression of a personality or gender. So, you don’t know that number seven is green, but you know that it’s a maniacal husband who comes home from work and shouts at his wife. You might not have a colour for Thursday, but you know that it’s a young girl who has spent too long kept in the house and wants to break out into the world.

According to one patient in an 1893 study:

4 is a good peaceful woman, absorbed by down-to-earth occupations and who takes pleasure in them. 5 is a young man, ordinary and common in his tastes and appearance, but extravagant and self-centered. 6 is a young man of 16 or 17, very well brought up, polite, gentle, agreeable in appearance, and with upstanding tastes; average intelligence; orphan. 7 is a bad sort, although brought up well; spiritual, extravagant, gay, likeable; capable of very good actions on occasion; very generous.

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