Counting in Antillean Creole of Martinique
Antillean Creole of Martinique (kréyòl, patwa) is a French-lexified creole language. Spoken in Martinique by about 400,000 speakers, it is closely-related to the other Antillean Creoles spoken for instance in Guadeloupe, in Dominica or in Trinidad and Tobago, although it differs from them by its vocabulary and grammar.
Antillean Creole of Martinique numbers list
- 1 – yonn
- 2 – dé
- 3 – twa
- 4 – kat
- 5 – senk
- 6 – sis
- 7 – sèt
- 8 – uit
- 9 – nèf
- 10 – dis
- 11 – wonz
- 12 – douz
- 13 – trèz
- 14 – katòz
- 15 – tjenz
- 16 – sèz
- 17 – disèt
- 18 – dizuit
- 19 – diznèf
- 20 – ven
- 30 – trant
- 40 – karant
- 50 – senkant
- 60 – swasant
- 70 – swasanndis
- 80 – katrèven
- 90 – katrèvendis
- 100 – san
- 1,000 – mil
- one million – an milyon
- one billion – an milya
Numbering in Antillean Creole of Martinique
The vocabulary of Antillean Creole of Martinique is mainly based on French, which can be particularly striking in numbers names. Their pronunciation is transposed in a specific spelling system, while keeping the French numbering and its features, like for instance the use of vigesimal system between sixty (swasant) and ninety-nine (katrèvendiznèf). The etymological meaning can thus be found by reverse transcribing from Creole to French. However, phonetic changes, and therefore alterations of the spelling, still remain, as in the case of the number one, which is quite difficult to recognize at a glance when used in a compound number: yonn , ventéen , san-en , mil yonn [1,001], an milyon [one million], an milya [one billion] (in the last two cases, the indefinite article replaces it). If the underlying numbering system is identical between the two languages, we do speak of translation here – and not only transcription – once the phonetical rules are made explicit.
Antillean Creole of Martinique numbering rules
Now that you’ve had a gist of the most useful numbers, let’s move to the writing rules for the tens, the compound numbers, and why not the hundreds, the thousands and beyond (if possible).
- Digits and numbers from zero to sixteen are specific words, namely zéwo , yonn , dé , twa , kat , senk , sis , sèt , uit , nèf , dis , wonz , douz , trèz , katòz , tjenz , and sèz . Seventeen to nineteen are regular numbers, i.e. named after the ten and the digit: disèt [10+7], dizuit [10+8], diznèf [10+9].
- The tens are specific words too from ten to sixty, namely dis , ven , trant , karant , senkant , and swasant .
- From sixty to ninety-nine, the base 20 is used (this vigesimal system seems to be an inheritance from Celtic languages imported via the French language), hence swasanndis [60+10], swasanndiznèf [60+10+9], katrèven [4*20], katrèvendis [4*20+10].
- Tens and units are put together (e.g.: karannsis ), unless the unit is a one. In that case, the word é (and) is inserted between tens and units, figuring an addition (e.g.: karantéen ). The compound numbers based on twenty cause the addition of an -n before the unit for twenty, and the replacement of the final -t with an -n from thirty to sixty, except when the unit is one in order to make the syllable longer (e.g.: venndé , tranntwa , karannsenk ).
- Hundreds are formed by juxtaposing the unit to the word for hundred san, with the exception of one hundred itself: san , désan , twasan , katsan , sensan , sisan , sètsan , uisan , and nèfsan .
- Hundreds composed with the unit one are linked with a dash, the other hundreds being directly attached to the following ten or unit (e.g.: san-en , twasan-en , sisankarant ).
- One million is an milyon and one billion, an milya, the one unit being replaced here by the indefinite article an (a).
Write a number in full in Antillean Creole of Martinique
Let’s move now to the practice of the numbering rules in Antillean Creole of Martinique. Will you guess how to write a number in full? Enter a number and try to write it down in your head, or maybe on a piece of paper, before displaying the result.
Guide de conversation créole martiniquais
by Manuella Antoine, editors Assimil (2010)
Écrire en créole : oralité et écriture aux Antilles
by Marie-Christine Hazaël-Massieux, editors L’Harmattan (1993)
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French-based creoles and pidgins
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