SECTION III: NUMBERS

IIIa – Plurals

This language pays little attention to the distinction, ever‐present in European languages, between “this dog” and “these dogs” – both are usually saiók·ellu.  There are no “plural endings”.  This may seem likely to cause ambiguity, but if so it's a form of ambiguity that's accepted as trivial; it is always possible to explicitly pluralise a noun by bringing in the irregular adjective lo “plural, several” (as in l·a saiók·ellu, “these dogs” – see Va), but this is used very sparingly.  Once the fact they're plural has been established there's no need to repeat it – so it's ruk·a saiók “two dogs”, never l·a ruk·a saiók “several two dogs”.

The numbers emme and ruk (“one” and “two”) occur almost as often as lo, marking things that occur alone or in pairs – emme·ra saiók is “one dog” or just “a dog”, ruk·a ianúr·ap is “my two legs” or just “my legs”.

None of the pronouns (see following section) carries a distinction between singular and plural either – so for instance both “it” and “they” can translate as is – but all of them may be accompanied by number words where appropriate:

pa “I” (first‐exclusive, subject)
lo pa “we”, “my friends and I” (plural ditto)
uton·na “you, ye” (second‐polite, object)
l·a uton·na “you guys, you‐all” (plural ditto)
is·on “(to) it” (third‐neuter, oblique)
ruk·on is·on “(to) them both” (dual ditto)

The pronoun‐suffixes (see VIc) cannot be modified in this way – adding the plural adjective to saiók·ap “my/our dog(s)” makes the dogs unambiguously plural, not their owners.

IIIb – Person

“Person” is the term used for one of the dimensions along which pronouns are classified.  As in most languages, three categories are recognised: “first person” means “I/we”; second person is “you”; and third person covers everything else (“he/she/it/they” or normal nouns).  Where European languages tend to subdivide each “person” category into “singular” and “plural” forms, this one has different criteria for subdividing each “person”.

FIRST PERSON: EXCLUSIVE vs. INCLUSIVE
“Exclusive we” is the kind of “we” that leaves out the addressee (“forgive us!”), whereas “inclusive we” is the kind that refers to both the speaker and the addressee (as in “shall we dance?”), and perhaps others (“so we all agree?”).  In practice this works very much like the familiar singular/plural distinction, because “I” is invariably exclusive, and inclusive is automatically plural.
SECOND PERSON: FAMILIAR vs. POLITE
This is like the Shakespearean English (or French) division between “thou” (“tu”), used to address family, friends, servants, or animals, and “ye” (“vous”), used to address superiors and (respectable) strangers.  Its usage varies with the social standing of the speaker and the addressee.
THIRD PERSON: NEUTER vs. EPICENE
This is explained in detail under the slightly misleading heading of gender (IVa); neuter is used to designate animals, objects, or ideas while epicene is used to point at people.

IIIc – Counting

The basic cardinal numbers are:

emme “one”
ruk “two”
chu “three”
thamme “four”
panei “five”
fonei “six”
iro “seven”
botu “eight”
sachaso “nine”
ikh “ten” (ik before a hyphen)

Higher numbers are built up as hyphenated phrases using these elements; the whole expression acts almost as a single compound word (see Xa), with regular adjective endings on the last element (see Va).  However, the hyphenated forms do not obey the usual restrictions on consonant clusters in compounds, and each of the bits obeys the normal stress rules for an independent word (IIb).

ik‐t‐emme “eleven” (ten‐and‐one)
ik‐ta‐ruk “twelve” (ten‐and‐two)
ik‐ta‐chu “thirteen” (ten‐and‐three)
ik‐ta‐thamme “fourteen” (ten‐and‐four)
ik‐ta‐panei “fifteen” (ten‐and‐five)
ik‐ta‐fonei “sixteen” (ten‐and‐six)
ik‐t‐iro “seventeen” (ten‐and‐seven)
ik‐ta‐botu “eighteen” (ten‐and‐eight)
ik‐ta‐sachaso “nineteen” (ten‐and‐nine)
rúkikh “twenty” (ruk‐ikh, “two tens”)
rúkik‐t‐emme “twenty‐one”
chúikh “thirty”
thammeikh “forty”
paneikh “fifty”
foneikh “sixty”
iroikh “seventy”
botuikh “eighty”
sachasoikh “ninety”
sachasoik‐ta‐sachaso “ninety‐nine”
ajakh “a hundred” (again kh‐ becomes k‐)
ajak‐t‐emme “a hundred and one”
iro‐ajak‐t‐ik‐t‐iro “seven hundred and seventeen”
ik‐ajakh “a thousand” (ten hundred)
satoe “ten thousand” (one word – a “myriad”)
ik‐satoe “a hundred thousand” (ten myriad)
ajak‐satoe “a million” (a hundred myriad)
ik‐ajak‐satoe “ten million” (a thousand myriad)
itullu “a hundred million” (etc., e.g. 10¹² = satoe‐itullu)

Thus:

The comparative marker bei (see Va) also serves to form ordinals (“the nth”):