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Counting in Kaqchikel

Language overview

Forty-two in Kaqchikel The Kaqchikel language, also spelled Cakchiquel or Cachiquel, belongs to the Mayan languages family, and more specifically to the Quichean–Mamean branch. Spoken by the Kaqchikel people of the midwestern highlands of Guatemala, it counts about 450,000 speakers. Two numeral systems coexist in Kaqchikel: a substractive system, and an additive system which tends to replace the former. We will explain here the additive numbering system.

Due to lack of data, we can only count accurately up to 459 in Kaqchikel. Please contact me if you can help me counting up from that limit.

Kaqchikel numbers list

  • 1 – jun
  • 2 – kaʼiʼ
  • 3 – oxiʼ
  • 4 – kajiʼ
  • 5 – woʼoʼ
  • 6 – waqiʼ
  • 7 – wuquʼ
  • 8 – waqxaqiʼ
  • 9 – bʼelejeʼ
  • 10 – lajuj
  • 11 – julajuj
  • 12 – kabʼlajuj
  • 13 – oxlajuj
  • 14 – kajlajuj
  • 15 – woʼlajuj
  • 16 – waqlajuj
  • 17 – wuqlajuj
  • 18 – waqxaqlajuj
  • 19 – bʼelejlajuj
  • 20 – jukʼal
  • 30 – jukʼal lajuj
  • 40 – kak’al
  • 50 – kak’al lajuj
  • 60 – oxk’al
  • 70 – oxk’al lajuj
  • 80 – kajk’al
  • 90 – kajk’al lajuj
  • 100 – ok’al

The substractive numeral system of Kaqchikel

Two numeral systems coexist in Kaqchikel: the substractive system, and the additive one. In both systems, numbers from zero to nineteen are identical. In the substractive system, which is more and more replaced by the additive one, easier to learn for Spanish-speaking people, the compound numbers follow a substractive vigesimal system. To form the number 21, jun rukak’al, we start with the unit (1, jun), then the following multiple of twenty (40, kak’al) prefixed with ru- as it begins with a consonant. Thus, we get jun rukak’al [21], ka’i’ rukak’al [22]… waqxaqlajuj rukak’al [38], bʼelejlajuj rukak’al [39]. We go on the same way with 41, jun roxk’al, the next multiple of twenty (60, oxk’al) being prefixed by r- as it begins with a vowel. This process goes on indefinitively from multiple of twenty to multiple of twenty: jun ruwaqk’al [101], waqk’al [120], jun ruwuqk’al [121], wuqk’al [140]…
In the additive system, we start with the ten, then the number from one to nineteen: junk’al jun [21], junk’al ka’i’ [22]… junk’al waqxaqlajuj [38], junk’al b’elejlajuj [39]. The multiples of twenty have the same name in both systems: kak’al [40], oxk’al [60]… ok’al [100], waqk’al [120], wuqk’al [140]…

Kaqchikel 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 zero to nine have specific names: wa’ix [0], jun [1], kaʼiʼ [2], oxiʼ [3], kajiʼ [4], woʼoʼ [5], waqiʼ [6], wuquʼ [7], waqxaqiʼ [8], and bʼelejeʼ [9].
  • The tens multiples of twenty are formed starting with the root of the multiplier digit suffixed with k’al. The other tens are composed starting with the previous multiple of twenty followed by the word for ten (lajuj), except for ten itself: lajuj [10], jukʼal [20], jukʼal lajuj [30] (20+10), kak’al [40] (2*20), kak’al lajuj [50] (2*20+10), oxk’al [60] (3*20), oxk’al lajuj [70] (3*20+10), kajk’al [80] (4*20), and kajk’al lajuj [90] (4*20+10).
  • Numbers from eleven to nineteen are formed starting with the unit root, directly followed by the word for ten (lajuj): julajuj [11], kabʼlajuj [12], oxlajuj [13], kajlajuj [14], woʼlajuj [15], waqlajuj [16], wuqlajuj [17], waqxaqlajuj [18], and bʼelejlajuj [19].
  • Compound numbers above twenty are formed starting with the ten (or rather the previous multiple of twenty), then the number from one to nineteen separated with a space (e.g.: jukʼal oxlajuj [33] (20+13), oxk’al woʼoʼ [65]).
  • This system being completely vicesimal, hundreds and thousands are not expressed as multiples of ten, but as multiples of twenty. Each multiple of twenty is formed the same way, starting with the root of the multiplier, directly followed by k’al up to 380, then by q’o’ above: ok’al [100] (5*20), waqk’al [120] (6*20), wuqk’al [140] (7*20), waqxaqk’al [160] (8*20), b’elejk’al [180] (9*20), lajk’al [200] (10*20), julajujk’al [220] (11*20), kab’lajujk’al [240] (12*20), oxlajujk’al [260] (13*20), kajlajujk’al [280] (14*20), wolajujk’al [300] (15*20), waqlajujk’al [320] (16*20), wuqlajujk’al [340] (17*20), waqxaqlajujk’al [360] (18*20), b’elelajujk’al [380] (19*20), juq’o’ [400] (20*20), juk’al juq’o’ [420] (21*20)… kaq’o’ [800] (40*20)… oxoq’o’ [1,200] (60*20)… jukala’ [160,000] (800*20)…
  • Compound numbers above one hundred are regularly formed, i.e. starting with the previous multiple of twenty, then the number from one to nineteen separated with a space (e.g.: ok’al jun [101], wuqk’al ka’i’ [142], julajujk’al wuqu’ [227]).

Write a number in full in Kaqchikel

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

Books

¿La ütz awäch? Introduction to Kaqchikel Maya Language ¿La ütz awäch? Introduction to Kaqchikel Maya Language
by , editors University of Texas Press (2006)
[Amazon.com Amazon.com]

Gramática del Idioma Kaqchikel Gramática del Idioma Kaqchikel
by , editors Proyecto Lingüístico Francisco Marroquín (1999)
[Amazon.com Amazon.com]

Sources

  • Escribiendo Kaqchikel, Martín Chacach Cutzal, Universidad Rafael Landívar (2004)

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.

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