Counting in Dagbani

Language overview

Forty-two in Dagbani Dagbani (Dagbanli), also known as Dagbane or Dagbanle, is a Niger-Congo language that belongs to the Gur language branch. It is spoken in the Kingdom of Dagbon in Ghana by the Dagomba people. Minimally tonal, but also inflective, Dagbani is written with the Latin alphabet, plus a few added letters (ɛ, ɣ, ŋ, ɔ, and ʒ) and digraphs (ch, gb, kp, ŋm, sh and ny). Dagbani counts about 3.1 million speakers.

Due to lack of data, we can only count accurately up to 100 in Dagbani. Please contact me if you can help me counting up from that limit.

Dagbani numbers list

  • 1 – n-daam
  • 2 – n-yi
  • 3 – n-ta
  • 4 – n-nahi
  • 5 – n-nu
  • 6 – n-yobu
  • 7 – m-pɔi
  • 8 – n-nii
  • 9 – n-wei
  • 10 – pia
  • 11 – pia ni yini
  • 12 – pia ni ayi
  • 13 – pia ni ata
  • 14 – pia ni anahi
  • 15 – pia ni anu
  • 16 – pia ni ayobu
  • 17 – pia ni apɔi
  • 18 – pishi ayi ka
  • 19 – pishi yini ka
  • 20 – pishi
  • 30 – pihita
  • 40 – pihinahi
  • 50 – pihinu
  • 60 – pihiyobu
  • 70 – pisopɔi
  • 80 – pihinii
  • 90 – pihiwei
  • 100 – kɔbiga

Abstract and daily counting numbers

Numbers in Dagbani exist in two forms: abstract counting numbers, and daily counting numbers. The first form is the one we explain on this page. The second form is used in daily life for counting objects. For example, in the sentence “Give me five tomatoes”, or Tim’ma tomatoes anu, the word for five is anu, and not n-nu.
Digits from one to nine in daily counting numbers are: yini [1], ayi [2], ata [3], anahi [4], anu [5], ayobu [6], apɔi [7], anii [8], and awei [9].
Numbers from eleven to eighteen have a slightly simplified form from their abstract counterpart, while the word for ten is the same: pia [10], pin yini [11], pin ayi [12], pin ata [13], pin anahi [14], pin anu [15], pin ayobu [16], pin apɔi [17], and pin ayi ka.

Dagbani 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 n-daam [1], n-yi [2], n-ta [3], n-nahi [4], n-nu [5], n-yobu [6], m-pɔi [7], n-nii [8], and n-wei [9].
  • Tens are formed starting with the root of the word for ten (pi), directly followed by -hi- and the multiplier unit without its n- prefix, except for ten and seventy, irregular: pia [10], pishi [20], pihita [30], pihinahi [40], pihinu [50], pihiyobu [60], pisopɔi [70], pihinii [80], and pihiwei [90].
  • Compound numbers with the unit one to seven are formed starting with the ten, followed by the conjunction ni and the unit separated with a space (e.g.: pia ni anu [15], pihinu ni ata [53]). Please note that daily counting numbers from one to seven are used in compound numbers, namely yini [1], ayi [2], ata [3], anahi [4], anu [5], ayobu [6], and apɔi [7].
  • Compound numbers with the unit eight or nine are formed substractively from the following ten, followed by the word for two or one, and the word ka: pishi ayi ka [18] (litterally 20 2 missing), pihita yini ka [29] (30 1 missing).
  • The word for hundred is kɔbiga [100].

Write a number in full in Dagbani

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


My First Dagbani Dictionary: Colour and Learn My First Dagbani Dictionary: Colour and Learn
by , editors CreateSpace (2018)

My First Dagbani Counting Book: Colour and Learn 1 2 3 My First Dagbani Counting Book: Colour and Learn 1 2 3
by , editors CreateSpace (2017)


Gur languages

Dagbani, and Kabiye.

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.

This site uses cookies for statistical and advertising purposes. By using this site, you accept the use of cookies.