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Lesson 23
Quantifiers & Numbers, Pt 1


This lesson is going to contain a lot of vocabulary. But the two types of words we will learn fulfill the same function: they talk about the number of a noun—either amplifying and specifying the plural or standing in where we have no verb to take the plural. Both are used postpositionally (that is they’re placed after the case phrase (noun + ending) they modify). And like other postpositions, their forms are immutable; they take no affixes.

Number Vocabulary

raho

zero (0)

nede

one (1)

Introduced in
Lesson 21

shin

two (2)

boó

three (3)

bim

four (4)

shan

five (5)

bath

six (6)

um

seven (7)

nib

eight (8)

bud

nine (9)

thab

ten (10)

debe

hundred (100)

thob

thousand (1,000)

rod

million (1,000,000)

merod

billion (1,000,000,000)

Additional Number Vocabulary

lami

number

lamith

to count

elamith

mathematics [e– (SCIof) + lamith (count)]

shinehoberídan

great-great aunt/uncle [shin (two) + hoberídan (great-aunt/uncle)

shinehoshem

great-grandchild [shin (two) + hoshem (grandchild)]

shinehosherídan

great-great-niece/nephew [shin (two) + hosherídan (great-niece/nephew)

shinehothul

great-grandparent [shin (two) + hothul (grandparent)]

uzh

symbol (of notation, alphabet, orthography)

Examples

nedethab

eleven

11

shinethab

twelve

12

bathethab

sixteen

16

Just as in English, the “teen” forms add “thab” (ten) after the number to be added to ten. This rule applies to numbers from “nedethab” (eleven) to “budethab” (nineteen). Remember to insert an “e” where needed to separate forbidden consonant clusters.

thabeshin

twenty

20

thabeboó

thirty

30

debebim

four hundred

400

thobeshan

five thousand

5,000

rodebath

six million

6,000,000

merodum

seven billion

7,000,000,000

In the forms greater than the teens, the base (the ten, hundred, and so on) is presented first, followed by the number by which it is multiplied.

thobethabenib

eighty thousand

80,000

thobedebebud

nine hundred thousand

900,000

rodethab

ten million

10,000,000

rodethabeshin

twenty million

20,000,000

rodedebeboó

three hundred million

300,000,000

merodethabim

forty billion

40,000,000,000

merodedebeshan

five hundred billion

500,000,000,000

merodethobebath

six thousand billion

6,000,000,000,000

While numbers on this scale are not really Láadan’s core mission, it is feasible to form them. Just remember that when the bases decrease in magnitude, their values are multiplied—whereas, if the bases’ magnitude increases, their values are added (as in the “teen” forms).

thabeshin i shan

twenty-five

25

debeshan i thabebath i boó

five hundred sixty-three

563

thobenib i debebim i umethab

eight thousand four hundred seventeen

8,417

thobebud i debe i thabeshin

nine thousand one hundred twenty

9,120

To combine elements having different bases, simply place the word “i” (which means “and,” used with numbers to represent addition) between them.

Notice that the base appears without modification if the digit in that place is “1”.

Notice, also, that any place having a zero value is simply omitted.

Quantifiers

What can we do when we need to be more specific than merely plural—but we don’t want to use a number? Or when we need to make a non-Subject case phrase plural and have no verb to show the plural—and we still don’t want to use a number? Our answer is quantifiers.

Non-Number Vocabulary

menedebe

many

nedebe

few; several

woho

all; every

Introduced in Lesson 21

waha

any

Raho” (zero) can also appropriately be included in this set; in this sense, “raho” would mean “none.”

In English, we have two distinct modes of discussing plurality: a thing is either counted or measured. Things such as plates, cups, bowls, flowers, clouds, skirts, and pairs of shoes or gloves or trousers are counted; things such as water, flour, dirt, air, cloth, and sand are measured. Counted things can be said to be “few” or “several” through “many” to “uncountable,” etc. Measured things would be said to be “a bit” or “a little” through “some” or “quite a bit” to “a lot” or “a bunch” to “all there is.” This can get a bit confusing because sometimes collections of counted things become measured and vice versa: eg, many skirts, shirts, pants, dresses, socks, shoes, etc could easily be termed a lot of clothing. Conversely, several beaches may contain a great deal of sand or a few bolts may hold a lot of cloth. Láadan, like many natural languages, does not employ this mechanism; the quantifiers are applicable equally to whatever objects, regardless of whether English would deem them counted or measured.

When Suzette Haden Elgin first created Láadan, she included a “syllabic n.” As you might glean from the name, it stood as a syllable unto itself (like the final syllable in the English word “button”) and required no vowel to separate it from the letter “d” that always followed it. We’ve noted this when pluralizing verbs beginning with “d.” It was problematic in that setting and was no less so among numbers and quanitifiers.

There were variant formations for “nede,” “menedebe” and “nedebe,” presented here, incorporating the “syllabic n” in place of the “ne” in all these words. “Mendebe” (the variant of “menedebe”) was still a four-syllable word: me-n-de-be. “Ndebe” (the variant of “nedebe”) was still a three-syllable word: n-de-be. “Nde,” (the variant of “nede”) was a two-syllable word: n-de. We won’t be using these variant forms, but you should recognize them if you come across them.

Additional Postposition Vocabulary

neda

Postposition: only

nidi

Postposition: additional; more (not comparative) {AB}
X nidi: one more X—“one” is assumed.
X nidi nede: one more X—“one” is explicit, either for clarity or emphasis.
X nidi #: # more X—“#” is a number or quantifier.
X nidi # neda: only # more X—# is not optional, even if it is “nede” (one).

Examples

Bíi hal with wa.

A person works.

Bíi mehal with boó wa.

Three people work.

When a quantifier or a number greater than “nede” (one) is used to modify the Subject, the verb must be plural.

Bíi naya be mideth wi.

Clearly, s/he cares for an animal.

Bíi menaya bezh mideth wi.

Clearly, they-few care for an animal.


There are times when when you need to indicate a plural, but you have no verb to take the plural marker, [as in the third, fourth and fifth sentences above]. You can then put the word “menedebe” (many) immediately after the noun phrase you want to make plural. The same thing is done with numbers, and with the words “nedebe” (few, several), and “woho” (all, every). These words never change their form, never add prefixes or suffixes; thus, if the “animal” up there were “many animals,” you would use “mideth menedebe” (the case marker would never appear on “menedebe”), as below.


Bíi naya be mideth nedebe wi.

Clearly, s/he cares for several animals.

Bíi naya be mideth menedebe wi.

Clearly, s/he cares for many animals.

Bíi naya be mideth nib wi.

Clearly, s/he cares for eight animals.


Bíi lan bath omám.

The six friends are teachers.

Bíi lan bath omám bim i edalahám shin.

The six friends are four teachers and two botanists.


The above examples do not have any Evidence [Word] at the end, and they are not in a series of connected sentences that would indicate what the speaker intended. This is possible in Láadan, but it can mean only one thing: that the speaker does not wish to state the reason why she considers what she says to be true.

Exercises

Translate the following into numerals.

1

thabum i um

2

debeshin i thabeshan i bath

3

thobeshan i debeshan i thabeshan i shin

4

debebud i thabebath i shin

5

thobebath i debeshan i thabebud i bud

6

thobenib i debe i thabeshan i nib

7

thobebath i debeshin i bim

8

debeboó i thabeshan

9

thobum i nibethab

10

thobeboó i debenib i thabebim

Form the following numerals into Láadan

11

57

12

524

13

4,587

14

3,605

15

6,540

16

6,158

17

3,651

18

6,058

19

1,295

20

7,854

Translate the following into English.

21

Bíi eril memíi elamithá um waá.

22

Báa eril thel hothul déelahátha binith nedebe?

23

Bé eril belid beth onidathom nede neda wa.

24

Bíi shóodehul thul áshemetha bud wi; menin áwith menedebe halehuleth.

25

Bíi medush mebedi mewothad woyáawith woho elamitheth wo.

26

Báa eril menéde mehamedara shinehoberídanizh bebáatha boó?

In #21, did you divine the meaning of the word “elamithá?” Derived from “elamith” (mathematics) and –á (DOER), “elamithá” means “mathematician.”

In #24, did you notice the word “áshem?” It’s made up of á– (life-stage: infant) and “shem” (offspring), and it means “infant offspring.” This form would not usually appear in a dictionary because it’s a regular, derived form whose meaning is transparent from its constituent parts.

In #25, did you notice that the English phrase “every child” is singular while the synonymous “all children” is plural? In Láadan, “háawith woho” is clearly plural.

Translate the second phrase into Láadan & modify the sentence to include the quantified noun phrase; translate into English before and after.

27

Bíi eril yod omid edeth hi wa.

only six horses

28

Bé ril u urahu wa; aril nosháad lalomá.

all the gates, three singers

29

Báa eril an bebáa amedaraháth?

ten dancers

30

Bíi ril úuya ra héena shonátho; eril dutha sherídanizh betha beth wa.

many heart-siblings

31

Báa she wobun wothom beye nath?

sixteen pillows

32

Báa eril dibé bud lamithá beyóoth?

any accountants

Though the surface shape of the Object forms for “ed” (tool) and “ede” (grain) are indistinguishable, the horse in #27 is probably not eating a “tool” (ed); “grain” (ede) is much more likely.

In #32, did you recognize the sources for the word “lamithá” (accountant) [lamith (to count) + –á (DOER)]?

Translate the following into Láadan.

33

The one thousand extremely colorful birds are beautiful.

34

Five farmers cannot bring one hundred more large pigs.

35

The three low plants have many leaves but few flowers—and only one fruit.

36

I doubt they (honored many) counted the million symbols.

37

I swear forty animals departed, and twelve more stayed.

38

Would that (beloved) MIchael’s (birth) great-grandchildren break almost no promise.

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Answers

1

77.

2

256.

3

5,552.

4

962.

5

6,599.

6

8,158.

7

6,204.

8

350.

9

7,018.

10

3,840.

 

11

thabeshan i um.

12

debeshan i thabeshin i bim.

13

thobebim i debeshan i thabenib i um.

14

thobeboó i debebath i shan.

15

thobebath i debeshan i thabebim.

16

thobebath i debe i thabeshan i nib.

17

thobeboó i debebath i thabeshan i nede.

18

thobebath i thabeshan i nib.

19

thob i debeshin i thabebud i shan.

20

thobum i debenib i thabeshan i bim.

 

21

I doubt the seven mathematicians were amazed.

22

Did the gardener’s grandparent get several gifts?

23

I swear the house is the home of only one family.

24

The parent of nine infant offspring is, clearly, extremely busy; many babies cause an immense amount of work.

25

I theorize every child who is able (all children who are able) must learn mathematics.

26

Whose three great-great-aunts wanted to dance?

 

27

The horse eats this grain.

Bíi meyod omid bath neda edeth hi wa.

Only six horses eat this grain.

28

On my oath, the gate is open; the singer will arrive.

Bé ril mehu urahu woho wa; menosháad lalomá boó.

On my oath, all the gates will be open; three singers will arrive.

29

Who knew the dancer?

Báa eril an bebáa amedaraháth thab?

Who knew the ten dancers?

30

The peace-maker’s heart-sibling isn’t in pain now; her niece healed her.

Bíi ril mehúuya ra héena shonátho menedebe; eril dutha sherídanizh betha beneth wa.

The peace-maker’s many heart-siblings aren’t in pain; her niece healed them.

31

Does some new pillow comfort you (beloved)?

Báa meshe mewobun wothom beyen bathethab nath?

Do some sixteen new pillows comfort you (beloved)?

32

Did the accountant promise to clothe her/himself?

Báa eril medibé mebud lamithá waha beyóoth?

Did any accountants promise to clothe themselves?

 

33

Bíi meháya mewolirihul wobabí thob wa.

34

Bíi merathad mebel ábedá shan meworahíya womudath nidi debe wáa.

35

Bíi methi meworahíthi wodala boó mith menedebe izh mahinath nedebe—i yuth nede neda wa.

36

Bíi eril melamith bin uzheth rod waá.

37

Bé eril menasháad mid thabebim wa, i mebenem mid nidi shinethab.

38

Bíi wil methen shinehoshem Máyel bitha dibéth raho rano wa.

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