Counting in Inupiaq
The Inupiaq language (Iñupiatun, Inupiatun, Inupiaqtun) is a group of dialects of the Inuit languages family within the Eskimo-Aleut family. It is spoken by the Iñupiat people in northern and northwestern Alaska, and part of the Northwest Territories. We will focus here on the Northern Alaskan Iñupiaq language. The Iñupiaq language counts about 2,000 speakers.
Due to lack of data, we can only count accurately up to 100 in Inupiaq. Please contact me if you can help me counting up from that limit.
Inupiaq numbers list
- 1 – atausiq
- 2 – malġuk
- 3 – piŋasut
- 4 – sisamat
- 5 – tallimat
- 6 – itchaksrat
- 7 – tallimat malġuk
- 8 – tallimat piŋasut
- 9 – quliŋuġutaiḷaq
- 10 – qulit
- 11 – qulit atausiq
- 12 – qulit malġuk
- 13 – qulit piŋasut
- 14 – akimiaġutaiḷaq
- 15 – akimiaq
- 16 – akimiaq atausiq
- 17 – akimiaq malġuk
- 18 – akimiaq piŋasut
- 19 – iñuiññaŋŋutaiḷaq
- 20 – iñuiññaq
- 30 – iñuiññaq qulit
- 40 – malġukipiaq
- 50 – malġukipiaq qulit
- 60 – piŋasukipiaq
- 70 – piŋasukipiaq qulit
- 80 – sisamakipiaq
- 90 – sisamakipiaq qulit
- 100 – tallimakipiaq
- 1,000 – kavluutit
Designed by students of the Harold Kaveolook School on Barter Island, Alaska, in September 1994, the Kaktovik Inupiaq numerals made it easier to do calculations in the base-20 of the Inupiaq language numeral system. It is now widely used among Alaskan Iñupiat.
Inupiaq 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: atausiq , malġuk , piŋasut , sisamat , tallimat , itchaksrat , tallimat malġuk  (5+2), tallimat piŋasut  (5+3), and quliŋuġutaiḷaq .
- Following a full vicesimal system, the tens are: qulit , iñuiññaq , iñuiññaq qulit  (20+10), malġukipiaq  (2*20), malġukipiaq qulit  (2*20+10), piŋasukipiaq  (3*20), piŋasukipiaq qulit  (3*20+10), sisamakipiaq  (4*20), and quliŋuġutaiḷaq .
- From eleven to thirteen, the numbers are formed stating the word for ten (qulit), then the unit. The word for fourteen is based on fifteen (akimiaq), coming from aki- which roughly means other half. From sixteen to eighteen, the numbers are formed starting with the word for fifteen, then the unit from one to three. Nineteen is based on the word for twenty (iñuiññaq). The numbers from eleven to nineteen are: qulit atausiq , qulit malġuk , qulit piŋasut , akimiaġutaiḷaq  (15-1), akimiaq , akimiaq atausiq  (15+1), akimiaq malġuk  (15+2), akimiaq piŋasut  (15+3), and iñuiññaŋŋutaiḷaq  (20-1).
- The compound numbers are formed starting with the ten, then the unit when the ten is either ten or a multiple of twenty (e.g.: qulit malġuk , iñuiññaq tallimat ). When the ten is based on an addition of a multiple of twenty and ten, like thirty (20+10) or fifty (2*20+10), the compound numbers are formed with the previous ten and the numbers from eleven to nineteen (e.g.: iñuiññaq akimiaq , piŋasukipiaq akimiaq atausiq ).
- The word for hundred is tallimakipiaq (or qavluun) .
- The word for thousand is kavluutit [1,000].
Write a number in full in Inupiaq
Let’s move now to the practice of the numbering rules in Inupiaq. 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.
Sivuninga Sikum (The Meaning of Ice) Inupiaq Edition: People and Sea Ice in Three Arctic Communities
editors International Polar Institute (2017)
Iñupiatun Uqaluit Taniktun Sivuninit/Iñupiaq to English Dictionary
by Edna MacLean, editors University of Alaska Press (2014)
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Inupiaq Eskimo Nations of Northwest Alaska
by Ernest Burch Jr., editors University of Alaska Press (1998)
- A grammar of Iñupiaq morphosyntax (pdf), by Linda A. Lanz
- Sharing our pathways (volume 2, issue 1) (pdf)
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.