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Counting in Acholi

Language overview

Forty-two in Acholi The Acholi language (also known as Acoli and Lwo) belongs to the Nilo-Saharan family, and more specifically to the Luo languages of the Western Nilotic branch. It is spoken in Uganda and South Sudan by the Acholi people, and counts about 1,215,000 speakers.

Due to lack of data, this program can only count accurately up to 99,999 in Acholi. Please contact me if you can help me counting up from that limit.

Acholi numbers list

  • 1 – acel
  • 2 – aryo
  • 3 – adek
  • 4 – aŋwen
  • 5 – abic
  • 6 – abicel
  • 7 – abiro
  • 8 – aboro
  • 9 – aboŋwen
  • 10 – apar
  • 11 – apar wiye acel
  • 12 – apar wiye aryo
  • 13 – apar wiye adek
  • 14 – apar wiye aŋwen
  • 15 – apar wiye abic
  • 16 – apar wiye abicel
  • 17 – apar wiye abiro
  • 18 – apar wiye aboro
  • 19 – apar wiye aboŋwen
  • 20 – pyeraryo
  • 30 – pyeradek
  • 40 – pyeraŋwen
  • 50 – pyerabic
  • 60 – pyerabicel
  • 70 – pyerabiro
  • 80 – pyeraboro
  • 90 – pyeraboŋwen
  • 100 – miya
  • 1,000 – elfu

Acholi numbering rules

  • Digits from one to nine are specific words, namely acel [1], aryo [2], adek [3], aŋwen [4], abic [5], abicel [6] (5+1), abiro [7] (5+2), aboro [8], and aboŋwen [9] (5+4). From the digit names, we can see that the Acholi language follows a quinary numeral system.
  • The tens are formed by the word pyer (plural form of apar, ten) prefixing the multiplier digit, except for ten itself: apar [10], pyeraryo [20], pyeradek [30], pyeraŋwen [40], pyerabic [50], pyerabicel [60], pyerabiro [70], pyeraboro [80], and pyeraboŋwen [90].
  • Compound numbers are formed by saying the ten, then the word wiye (meaning on top of it), and the digit (e.g.: apar wiye acel [11], pyerabic wiye aŋwen [54]).
  • The hundreds are built stating the multiplier digit after the word for hundred (miya), except for one hundred itself when not compound: miya [100], miya aryo [200], miya adek [300], miya aŋwen [400], miya abic [500], miya abicel [600], miya abiro [700], miya aboro [800], and miya aboŋwen [900].
  • The thousands follow the same structure, the word for thousand being elfu, or tuntumiya: elfu [1,000], elfu aryo [2,000], elfu adek [3,000], elfu aŋwen [4,000], elfu abic [5,000], elfu abicel [6,000], elfu abiro [7,000], elfu aboro [8,000], and elfu aboŋwen [9,000].
  • The compound hundreds and thousands both use the coordinator ki (and) to link them to the lower numbers, whether hundreds, tens or units (e.g.: miya acel ki adek [103], miya abicel ki apar wiye aŋwen [614], elfu aŋwen ki miya aryo ki pyerabiro wiye aboro [4,278]).

Write a number in full in Acholi

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Books

Coono Leb Acoli (introduction) Acoli Accented OrthographyCoono Leb Acoli (introduction) Acoli Accented Orthography
by , editors Gbila (2011)
[Amazon.com Amazon.com]

Oteka Okello Mwoka Lengomoi: A Legend Among the Acholi of UgandaOteka Okello Mwoka Lengomoi: A Legend Among the Acholi of Uganda
by , editors Sahel Books (2010)
[Amazon.com Amazon.com]

Lwo English DictionaryLwo English Dictionary
by , editors Fountain (2001)
[Amazon.com Amazon.com]

Sources

  • The Essentials of Lwo (Acoli), G. A. R. Savage, 1956

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