Sunday, January 6, 2008

Counting in Tanii... Apatani numeral system 1

Counting in Tanii is not easy… It may be useful here to sum up the basic features of the Apatani numeral system, although I’m not too sure to understand it fully. Differences are often subtle, and there may exist several ways to express the same number. Moreover, though originally there are only 7 Apatani villages, some dialectal variations occur which can easily lead to confusion. Therefore, as usual, corrections and comments from Tanii readers are welcome...
In this post I am only considering numbers when they are used without any reference to an object. In a next post I shall deal with numbers when they are associated with particular objects, animals, humans, etc.

1°) The numeral system is a simple decimal system

The main units are 10 and multiples of 10, 100 and multiples of 100, 1000 and multiples of 1000.



photographer: Christa Neuenhofer

2°) numbers from 1 to 10 are unique forms

1
ako or kone
2
anye or anyi
3
hinge
4
piilye
5
yango
6
khiiye
7
kanu
8
pinye
9
kowa
10
alyan

3°) Numbers from 11 to 19 are compound words, of the form : ‘ten + unit’.

Units 2, 4, 5 appearing in compound forms are shortened; unique and compound forms for 1 are different; units 3, 6, 7, 8, 9 remain unchanged. The correspondence is given below for the main dialect :


Appearing in unique form
Appearing in compound form
1
ako-kun or -he
2
anye/anyi-nyi
3
hin-hin
4
piilye-pii/-pe/-pyi
5
yango-ngo
6
khiiye-khii
7
kanu-kanu
8
pinye/pinyi-pinye/-pinyi
9
kowa-kowa

A particle, LE (or HELA), which can be roughly translated as ‘and’, is inserted between ‘ten’ and the unit. The difference between LE and HELA corresponds to 2 ways of counting, which are equivalent :

  1. ‘ten + HELA + unit (as appearing in unique form)
  2. ‘ten + LE + unit (as appearing in compound form)

Thus 11 is ‘alyan hela ako’ or alyan-le-kung. Both literally mean "ten and one" and can be used indiscriminately.



10 + HELA + unit10 + LE + unit
11alyan hela akoalyan le-kun
12
alyan hela anyealyan le-nye/nyi
13
alyan hela hingealyan le-hin
14
alyan hela piilyealyan le-phe/pi
15
alyan hela yangoalyan le-ngo
16
alyan hela khiiyealyan le-khii/khe
17
alyan hela kanualyan le-kanu
18
alyan hela pinye/pinyialyan le-pinye/nyi
19
alyan hela kowaalyan le-kowa

4°) Multiples of ten are compound forms. Compoundings are made either of the form :

  1. number of tens + KHAN’ : for 20, 30, 70, 80, 90.
  2. ten + number of tens’ : for 40, 50, 60
Thus :

20
lyikhan
30
hikhan
40
alyan-piilye
50
alyan-yango
60
alyan-khiiye
70
kanu-khange
80
pinyi-khange
90
kowa-khange

* Note that the prefixes used for 20 and 30 are respectively LYI- and HI-, different from the shortened forms -NYI- and –HING used as suffixes.

* Note also the difference between :

14 (alyan-hela-piilye) and 40 (alyan-piilye)

15 (alyan-hela-yango) and 50 (alyan-yango)

16 (alyan-hela-khiiye) and 60 (alyan-khiiye)

It seems confusing at first sight, but after all no more than English 'fourteen' and 'fourty, 'fifteen' and 'fifty', 'sixteen' and 'sixty'....

5°) multiples of hundred take the form ‘hundred + numeral, i.e. LANG- + numeral except for 200 and 300 where the compound form of the numeral is prefixed by LA- only. Note also that LANG becomes LAM before the consonant p)

100
lan(h)e
200lanye/lanyi
300
lahin
400
lampii/lampyi
500
lango
600
lankhii
700
lankanu
800
lampinye/lampinyi
900
lankowa

6°) Multiples of thousand take the form
'thousand (LALYAN) + numeral' :

lalyan ako = 1000
lalyan anye = 2000
lalyan ahin = 3000
etc.

However in recent years a new compound form including the Hindi word for 'thousand' (JAR) tends to replace it. It takes the form 'thousand (JAR) + numeral (contracted)'
1000
jar(h)e
2000
jarnye/jarnyi
3000
jarhin
4000
jarpii/jarpyi
5000
jarngo
6000
jarkhii
7000
jarkanu
8000
jarpinye/jarpinyi
9000
jarkowa

7°) Expressing any number above 10 is made by combining thousands, hundreds, tens and units and separating each category by the particle ‘LA’ (or HELA/LE between tens and units)

Example :

Jarnyi la lahin la alyan hela ako : 2311

P. Bouchery

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am really highly impressed by your ethno-linguistic work. Nevertheless you should ask people, when you use their photo or at least make clear, where you got the photo from. In this case it is from our homepage, in the description of our 3rd Arunachal tour: http://www.neuenhofer.de/guenter/Arunachal/aru2005.html
I want you at least to add the source of your photo: photographer: Christa Neuenhofer christa@neuenhofer.de
Regards
Christa

NPR said...

@Christa,
Thanks for you visiting my blog. I will take care of such issue in coming future,keep visiting.