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Lesson 26
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)

Previously seen in earlier lesson

shin

two (2)

Previously seen in earlier lesson

boó

three (3)

Previously seen in earlier lesson

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

uzh

symbol (of notation, alphabet, orthography)

Examples

nedethab listen to this pronounced

eleven

11

shinethab listen to this pronounced

twelve

12

bathethab listen to this pronounced

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 eleven to nineteen. Remember to insert the “e” where needed to separate forbidden consonant clusters.

thabeshin listen to this pronounced

twenty

20

thabeboó listen to this pronounced

thirty

30

debeshan listen to this pronounced

five hundred

500

thobebath listen to this pronounced

six thousand

6,000

rodum listen to this pronounced

seven million

7,000,000

merodebud listen to this pronounced

nine billion

9,000,000,000

In the forms greater than the teens, the number by which ten (or one hundred or one thousand or one million or one billion) is multiplied is presented after the base (the ten, hundred, and so on).

thabeshin i shan listen to this pronounced

twenty-five

25

debeshan i thabebath i boó listen to this pronounced

five hundred sixty-three

563

thobenib i debebim i umethablisten to this pronounced

eight thousand four hundred seventeen

8,417

thobebud i debe i thabeshin listen to this pronounced

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.”

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 Non-Number Vocabulary

beróo

Conjunction: because

dalel

object; made-thing [dal (thing) + el (make)]

lam

health

neda

Postposition: only

nidi

Postposition: additional; more (not comparative). When used alone, “one more X” is assumed (though “nede” (one) can be stated for clarity or emphasis), for more than one X, the phrase is “X nidi #” where # is a number or a quantifier. In the case of “only # more X” the phrase is “X nidi # neda” with the # not optional—even if it is “nede” (one). {AB}

shinehothul

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


The word “beróo” (because) was originally formed as “bróo” utilizing a forbidden consonant cluster, “br.” This was considered an historical accident (occasioned by the fact that, linguistically, “r” is a different class of consonant from “b”) and corrected by the second generation developing Láadan. We won’t use the “bróo” form, but you should recognize it if you should happen upon it.


The word “dalel” (object) was originally formed as “dale” with the only feature that distinguished it from “dal” (thing) being an “e” that looks and sounds just like the “e” that is inserted to separate consonants. The result was that, any time either of them received a suffix that began with a consonant (and almost all of them do), it was impossible to determine whether a “thing” or an “object/made-thing” was being discussed. The second generation changed it to “dalel” to solve this problem—and made its etymology transparent at the same time!

Examples

Bíi aril bel be mideth róomathedim wáa.

She will take the animal to the barn.

Bíi aril mebel bezh mideth róomathedim wáa.

They (few) will take the animal to the barn.

Bíi aril bel be mideth róomathedim nedebe wáa.

She will take the animal to several barns.

Bíi aril bel be mideth róomathedim menedebe wáa.

She will take the animal to many barns.

Bíi aril bel be mideth róomathedim nib wáa. listen to this pronounced

She will take the animal to eight barns.


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 aril bel be mideth nedebe róomathedim.

She will take several animals to the barn.

Bíi aril mebel bezh mideth menedebe róomathedim.

They (few) will take many animals to the barn.

Bíi aril bel be mideth shan róomathedim nedebe.

She will take five animals to several barns.


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 listen to this pronounced

2

debeshin i thabeshan i bath listen to this pronounced

3

thobeshan i debeshan i thabeshan i shin listen to this pronounced

4

debebud i thabebath i shin listen to this pronounced

5

thobebath i debeshan i thabebud i bud listen to this pronounced

6

thobenib i debe i thabeshan i nib listen to this pronounced

7

thobebath i debeshin i bim listen to this pronounced

8

debeboó i thabeshan listen to this pronounced

9

thobum i nibethab listen to this pronounced

10

thobeboó i debenib i thabebim listen to this pronounced

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 omá um waá. listen to this pronounced

22

Báa mehim mewolawida wowith nedebe bodim?

23

Bíi menédeshub meshumáad Méri i edin betha bath womodi womiwithede wowam womeladim wáa.

24

Báa eril thel hothul déelahátha binith nedebe dimede?

25

Bíi eril bel Ána daleleth raho belid onidathode nedebe wa.

26

Bíi shóodehul thul áshemetha nib beróo menin áwith menedebe halehuleth wi.

Note that, as in #21 and #22, when a quantifier or a number greater than “nede” (one) is used to modify the Subject, the verb must be plural.

In #25, did you notice that the phrase “belid onidathode nedebe” is ambiguous? It’s impossible to tell without more information whether the “nedebe” refers to “belid” or to “onida”—that is, whether no objects were taken out of “several houses belonging to one family” or “one house belonging to several families”—or, indeed, “several houses belonging to several families”.

In #26, did you notice the word “áshem?” It’s made up of á– (life-stage: infant) and “shem” (offspring), and it means “infant offspring.”

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

Bíi eril néde ban loshá wolaya wohesh lan nathodim wáa.

several more red boats

29

Bóo medibé mewida nezh bodeth sheni wethethudim. listen to this pronounced

almost all the dishes

30

Bé aril u urahu wa; nosháad lalomá déela lethodim.

all the gates, three singers

31

Báa eril an bebáa amedaraháth? listen to this pronounced

ten dancers

32

Bíi úuya ra héena shonátho beróo eril dutha sherídanizh betha beth wa. listen to this pronounced

many heart-siblings

Though the surface shapes of the Object form 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.

Translate the following into Láadan.

33

The many extremely colorful birds are beautiful.

34

They (few) will buy many tools from the storekeeper.

35

Prithee teach (you many) a few of your songs to all our grandchildren.

36

A few farmers can move one hundred large pigs to five farms.

37

The three small plants have few flowers but many leaves—and no fruit.

38

Many animals come from the forest to the creek; Mary cares for them all.

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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. listen to this pronounced

12

debeshan i thabeshin i bim. listen to this pronounced

13

thobebim i debeshan i thabenib i um. listen to this pronounced

14

thobeboó i debebath i shan. listen to this pronounced

15

thobebath i debeshan i thabebim. listen to this pronounced

16

thobebath i debe i thabeshan i nib. listen to this pronounced

17

thobeboó i debebath i thabeshan i nede. listen to this pronounced

18

thobebath i thabeshan i nib. listen to this pronounced

19

thob i debeshin i thabebud i shan. listen to this pronounced

20

thobum i debenib i thabeshan i bim. listen to this pronounced

 

21

The seven teachers were amazed (I don’t believe it).

22

Are the several pregant women traveling to the mountain?

23

Mary and her six cousins intend to fly from the ugly city to the calm ocean.

24

Did the gardener’s grandparent get several gifts from the container?

25

Anna took none of the objects from several families’ houses.

26

The parent of eight infant offspring is extremely busy because many babies clearly cause an immense amount of work.

 

27

The horse eats this grain.

Bíi meyod omid bath neda edeth hi wa. listen to this pronounced

Only six horses eat this grain.

28

The banker wanted to give your (you, beloved) friend the red boat.

Bíi eril néde ban loshá mewolaya wohesh nidi nedebe lan nathodim wáa.

The banker wanted to give your (you, beloved) friend several more red boats.

29

Prithee promise (you few, beloved) to carry the dish to the intersection of the paths.

Bóo medibé mewida nazh bodeth woho rano sheni wethethudim.

Prithee promise (you few, beloved) to carry almost all the dishes to the intersection of the paths.

30

I promise the gate will be open; the singer will arrive in my garden.

Bé aril mehu urahu woho wa; menosháad lalomá boó déela lethodim.

I promise all the gates will be open; three singers will arrive in my garden.

31

Who knew the dancer?

Báa eril an bebáa amedaraháth thab? listen to this pronounced

Who knew the ten dancers?

32

The peace-maker’s heart-sibling doesn’t hurt now because her niece healed her.

Bíi ril mehúuya ra héena shonátho menedebe beróo eril dutha sherídanizh betha beneth wa. listen to this pronounced

The peace-maker’s many heart-siblings don’t hurt because her niece healed them.

 

33

Bíi meháya mewolirihul wobabí menedebe wa. listen to this pronounced

34

Bíi aril meheb bezh edeth menedebe weheháde wáa. listen to this pronounced

35

Bóo mehom nen lom nenethoth nedebe hoshem lezhethadim woho.

36

Bíi methad memina ábedá nedebe meworahíya womudath debe ábededim shan wáa.

37

Bíi methi mewohíya wodala boó mahinath nedebe izh mith menedebe—i yuth raho wa.

38

Bíi mesháad mid menedebe olinede wilidim; naya Méri beneth woho wa.

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