Counting in Kali’na

Enter a number and get it written in full in Kali’na.

Language overview

The Kali’na language (also known as Carib, Cariña, Galibi or Maraworno) is an Amerindian language belonging to the Cariban language family. It is spoken on the coast band from Venezuela to Brazil, through Guyana, Suriname, and French Guyana. Kali’na counts about 10,000 speakers.
Due to lack of data, we can only count accurately up to 399 in Kali’na. Please contact us if you can help us counting up from that limit.

Body language counting

The Kali’na numbering system is based on the human body: hands and toes are etymologically at the root of it. The digit five can be decomposed into aina (hand) and atone (on one side), or the fingers of one hand. From six to nine, Kali’na combines the first five digits names with tòima, a contraction of tywopyima, which means “crossed over (to the other side)”. Ainapatoro, the word for ten, is composed of aina (hand) and opatoro (on both sides), meaning litterally “two hands”. Fifteen, or atonèpu, is made of atone (on one side) and pupu (foot), litterally adding the toes of one foot to the fingers of both hands. The word used for twenty is òwin-karìna, meaning “one Kali’na”, or “one Carib person”. The multiples of twenty are all constructed the same way: oko-karìna [40] (2 times 20), oruwa-karìna [60] (3 times 20)… oruwa-tòima-karìna [160] (8 times 20), ainapatoro-karìna [200] (10 times 20)… The Carib numbering system is thus both a quinary (number of fingers or toes) and a vigesimal system (number of men).

Kali’na numbering rules

  • Digits from one to four are specific words, five being the turning point (meaning one hand), and digits beyond five, from six to nine, are formed by adding the four first ones to five: òwin [1], oko [2], oruwa [3], okupàen / okupaime [4], ainatone [5], òwin-tòima [6] (5 plus 1), oko-tòima [7] (5 plus 2), oruwa-tòima [8] (5 plus 3), and okupàen-tòima [9] (5 plus 4). The second form of four, okupaime, litterally means “2 times 2” (from oko, two, pai, times, and me, as).
  • Tens follow a vigesimal system: ainapatoro [10] (litterally, two hands), òwin-karìna [20] (one man), òwin-karìna itùponaka ainapatoro [30] (20+10, or one man and two hands), oko-karìna [40] (2*20), oko-karìna itùponaka ainapatoro [50] (2*20+10), oruwa-karìna [60] (3*20), oruwa-karìna itùponaka ainapatoro [70] (3*20+10), okupàen-karìna [80] (4*20), and okupàen-karìna itùponaka ainapatoro [90] (4*20+10).
  • Compound numbers are formed by adding the digit to the ten with the word itùponaka (on top of it): ainapatoro itùponaka oko [12], oko-karìna itùponaka ainapatoro itùponaka okupàen [54].
  • One hundred is ainatone-karìna, meaning five men, or five times twenty. All multiples of twenty are built the same way: oruwa-karìna [60] (3 times 20), oruwa-tòima-karìna [160] (8 times 20), ainapatoro-karìna [200] (10 times 20), ainapatoro-itùponaka-okupàen-karìna [280] (14 times 20)…


A Carib grammar and dictionaryA Carib grammar and dictionary
by , editors Magoria Books (2008)

Kali’na, une famille indienne en Guyane françaiseKali’na, une famille indienne en Guyane française
by , editors Albin Michel (2002)

Numbers list

1 – òwin
2 – oko
3 – oruwa
4 – okupàen
5 – ainatone
6 – òwin-tòima
7 – oko-tòima
8 – oruwa-tòima
9 – okupàen-tòima
10 – ainapatoro
11 – ainapatoro itùponaka òwin
12 – ainapatoro itùponaka oko
13 – ainapatoro itùponaka oruwa
14 – ainapatoro itùponaka okupàen
15 – atonèpu
16 – ainapatoro itùponaka òwin-tòima
17 – ainapatoro itùponaka oko-tòima
18 – ainapatoro itùponaka oruwa-tòima
19 – ainapatoro itùponaka okupàen-tòima
20 – òwin-karìna
30 – òwin-karìna itùponaka ainapatoro
40 – oko-karìna
50 – oko-karìna itùponaka ainapatoro
60 – oruwa-karìna
70 – oruwa-karìna itùponaka ainapatoro
80 – okupàen-karìna
90 – okupàen-karìna itùponaka ainapatoro
100 – ainatone-karìna

Other supported languages

Supported languages by families
As the other currently supported languages are too numerous to list extensively here, please select a language from the following select box, or from the full list of supported languages.