Numbers are words that tell how many there are of something. Depending on what you are describing, they may have different beginnings or small joining words before them.
Basic numbers
With Shiyeyi numbers, they are handled differently depending on whether they are less than or more than ten. The reason that numbers beginning with ldikumi (ten) and makumi (tens) are handled differently is because they are nouns themselves, members of the ldi- and ma- noun classes. The differences and similarities between Shiyeyi and Setswana numbers can be seen below:
Shiyeyi |
Shiyeyi Example |
Setswana |
Setswana Example |
-chiki |
mukazi muchiki, one woman |
-ngwe |
mosadi o mongwe, one woman |
-yiri |
maambo ayiri, two ruins |
-bedi |
marope a mabedi, two ruins |
ldikumi |
mawe i ldikumi, ten stones |
lesome |
mantswe a lesome, ten stones |
makumi |
wanyana wa makumi ayiri, twenty men |
masome |
banna ba masome a mabedi, twenty men |
The basic numbers are the single digits or the groups of makumi, tens, (tens, hundreds, thousands, etc.) where only the first number changes and is followed by zero(s). For example, 1, 40, 700, and 9000 are fairly basic numbers and easy to form, once you know the rule.
Single Digits = beginning matching the noun- + -number (e.g. mukazi muchiki, one woman)
Ten = connector + ldikumi (e.g. mawe a ldikumi, ten stones; zilduwa zi ldikumi, ten foods)
Tens = connector + makumi a-number of tens (e.g. mawe a makumi ayiri, twenty stones, i.e. “stones: two tens”)
Hundreds = connector + makumi a makumi a-number of tens (e.g. mawe a makumi a makumi ataatu, three hundred stones, i.e. “stones: tens of three tens”)
Thousands = same as hundreds, only with an extra makumi a in front (e.g. mawe a makumi a makumi i ldikumi, a thousand stones, i.e. “stones: ten of tens of tens”)
The “Zeros = Makumi” Rule
The formation of tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, and so on is achieved by adding more makumi a. So, for every zero (0) in the written number, there’s either a ldikumi (for numbers starting with 1) or a makumi.
20 → has one zero → makumi ayiri
500 → has two zeros → makumi a makumi ashano
7000 → has three zeros → makumi a makumi a makumi avundja wutaatu
300,000 → has five zeros → makumi a makumi a makumi a makumi a makumi ataatu
Complex numbers
Complex numbers are numbers that contain more than one type of number, making them take longer to say and to write. For example, the number 347 (three hundred forty-seven) contains hundreds (300), tens (40), and a single digit (7). In Shiyeyi, these are listed by the largest group first and joined by the word ni, with. For example:
11 = 10 and 1 = ldikumi ni wuchiki
254 = 200 and 50 and 4 = makumi a makumi ayiri ni makumi ashano ni wunee
3007 =3000 and 8 = makumi a makumi a makumi ataatu ni wuvundja wuyiri
Ordering by numbers
With Shiyeyi ordering by numbers, connectors are used, similar to Setswana. The number that gives the order begins with ka-. The similarities between Shiyeyi and Setswana ordering by numbers can be seen below:
Shiyeyi |
Shiyeyi Example |
Setswana |
Setswana Example |
kataandzi |
muti wa kataandzi, first tree |
-a pele |
setlhare sa pele, first tree |
kayiri |
ldiiwa lda kayiri, second day |
-a bobedi |
leina la bobedi, second name |
kataatu |
itjutu sha kataatu, third thing |
-a boraro |
motse wa boraro, third village |
Counting with numbers
With Shiyeyi counting, this is also similar to Setswana. Shiyeyi single digit numbers begin with wu-, whereas Setswana single digit numbers begin with bo-. This can be seen below:
Shiyeyi |
Setswana |
English |
# |
wuchiki |
bongwe |
one |
1 |
wuyiri |
bobedi |
two |
2 |
Numbers without a connector
Shiyeyi |
Shiyeyi Example |
Number |
# |
Shiyeyi Examples |
mu- |
umutu, person |
pa qhu |
0 |
pa qhu umutu, no person |
wa- |
aŵatu, people |
-yiri |
2 |
aŵatu wayiri, two people |
mu- |
muzi, village |
-chiki |
1 |
muzi muchiki, one village |
mi- |
mizi, villages |
-taatu |
3 |
mizi itaatu, three villages |
ldi- |
ldina, name |
-chiki |
1 |
ldina ldichiki |
ma- |
mana, names |
-nee |
4 |
mana anee |
ma- |
mana, names |
-shano |
5 |
mana ashano |
shi- |
shilduwa, food |
-chiki |
1 |
shilduwa shichiki |
zi- |
zilduwa, foods |
-vundja wunee |
6 |
zilduwa zivundja wunee |
i(n)- |
inywaka, snake |
-chiki |
1 |
inywaka inchiki |
zi(n)- |
zinywaka, snakes |
-vundja wutaatu |
7 |
zinywaka zivundja wutaatu |
ru- |
rupati, rib |
-chiki |
1 |
rupati ruchiki |
zi- |
zimpati, ribs |
-vundja wuyiri |
8 |
zimpati zivundja wuyiri |
wu- |
wuyimi, life |
-chiki |
1 |
wuyimi wuchiki |
ka- |
kati, twig |
-chiki |
1 |
kati kachiki |
tu- |
tuti, twigs |
-vundja wuchiki |
9 |
tuti tuvundja wuchiki |
Numbers with a connector
Shiyeyi |
Example |
Number |
# |
Shiyeyi Examples |
wa- |
aŵatu |
ldikumi |
10 |
aŵatu wu ldikumi |
mi- |
mizi |
makumi ayiri |
20 |
mizi a makumi ayiri |
ma- |
mana |
makumi ayiri ni wutaatu |
23 |
mana a makumi ayiri ni wutaatu |
zi- |
zilduwa |
ldikumi ni wuchiki |
11 |
zilduwa zi ldikumi ni wuchiki |
zi(n)- |
zinywaka |
ldikumi ni wunee |
14 |
zinywaka zi ldikumi ni wunee |
zi- |
zimpati |
makumi a makumi |
100 |
zimpati za makumi a makumi |
tu- |
tuti |
makumi a makumi ayiri |
200 |
tuti twa makumi a makumi ayiri |
Counting to 10
Shiyeyi |
Setswana |
English |
# |
wuchiki |
bongwe |
one |
1 |
wuyiri |
bobedi |
two |
2 |
wutaatu |
boraro |
three |
3 |
wunee |
bone |
four |
4 |
wushano |
botlhano |
five |
5 |
wuvundja wunee |
borataro |
six |
6 |
wuvundja wutaatu |
bosupa |
seven |
7 |
wuvundja wuyiri |
bofera bobedi |
eight |
8 |
wuvundja wuchiki |
bofera bongwe |
nine |
9 |
ldikumi |
lesome |
ten |
10 |
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