Counting in Biak

Language overview

Forty-two in Biak Biak (wós Vyak), or Biak-Numfor, is an Austronesian language spoken on the islands of Biak and Numfor, as well as numerous small islands in the Schouten Islands of the Papuan province of Western New Guinea, Indonesia. It belongs to the Eastern Malayo-Polynesian languages subgroup, and more specifically, to the Cenderawasih languages branch, more or less synonymous with the West New Guinea languages branch. It is spoken by about 70,000 people. Biak has different dialects depending on the islands where it is spoken: Betew, Kafdaron, Karon, Usba, and Wardo.

Biak numbers list

  • 1 – oser
  • 2 – suru
  • 3 – kyor
  • 4 – fyak
  • 5 – rim
  • 6 – wonem
  • 7 – fik
  • 8 – war
  • 9 – siw
  • 10 – samfur
  • 11 – samfur sesr oser
  • 12 – samfur sesr di suru
  • 13 – samfur sesr di kyor
  • 14 – samfur sesr di fyak
  • 15 – samfur sesr di rim
  • 16 – samfur sesr di wonem
  • 17 – samfur sesr di fik
  • 18 – samfur sesr di war
  • 19 – samfur sesr di siw
  • 20 – samfur di suru
  • 30 – samfur di kyor
  • 40 – samfur di fyak
  • 50 – samfur di rim
  • 60 – samfur di wonem
  • 70 – samfur di fik
  • 80 – samfur di war
  • 90 – samfur di siw
  • 100 – utin
  • 1,000 – syaran
  • one million – juta

Biak 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 from one to nine are rendered by specific words, namely oser [1], suru [2], kyor [3], fyak [4], rim [5], wonem [6], fik [7], war [8], and siw [9].
  • Tens are formed statrting with the word for ten (samfur), followed by the linking word di, and the multiplier unit separated with a space, except for ten itself: samfur [10], samfur di suru [20], samfur di kyor [30], samfur di fyak [40], samfur di rim [50], samfur di wonem [60], samfur di fik [70], samfur di war [80], and samfur di siw [90].
  • Compound numbers are formed starting with the ten, then the word sesr if the unit is one, or sesr di if the unit is two to nine, and the unit itself (e.g.: samfur sesr oser [11], samfur di suru sesr di fyak [24]).
  • Hundreds are formed starting with the word for hundred (utin), followed by the linking word di, and the multiplier unit separated with a space, except for one hundred: utin [100], utin di suru [200], utin di kyor [300], utin di fyak [400], utin di rim [500], utin di wonem [600], utin di fik [700], utin di war [800], and utin di siw [900].
  • Thousands are formed starting with the word for thousand (syaran), followed by the linking word di, and the multiplier unit separated with a space, except for one thousand: syaran [1,000], syaran di suru [2,000], syaran di kyor [3,000], syaran di fyak [4,000], syaran di rim [5,000], syaran di wonem [6,000], syaran di fik [7,000], syaran di war [8,000], and syaran di siw [9,000].
  • Millions are formed starting with the word for million (juta), followed by the linking word di, and the multiplier unit separated with a space, except for one million: juta [1 million], juta di suru [2 million], juta di kyor [3 million]…
  • There is no linking word that connects the millions with the thousands, the thousands with the hundreds, or the hundreds with the tens. Instead, big compound numbers start with the highest power of ten the number consists of, then the same for one power lower, and so on until we reach the digits. For example, utin di siw samfur sesr oser [911] (literally, nine hundreds, ten and one), and syaran utin di kyor samfur di fyak [1,340] (literally, one thousand, three hundreds, four tens).

Write a number in full in Biak

Let’s move now to the practice of the numbering rules in Biak. 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.


  • Biak: description of an Austronesian language of Papua, by Wilco van den Heuvel, LOT editions (2006)

Eastern Malayo-Polynesian languages

Araki, Biak, Cèmuhî, Māori, Marshallese, Mussau-Emira, Mwotlap, Nêlêmwa, Nengone, Paicî, Rapa Nui, Tahitian, Tongan (telephone-style), and Yuanga-zuanga.

Other supported languages

As the other currently supported languages are too numerous to list extensively here, please select a language from the full list of supported languages.