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Counting in Láadan

Language overview

Forty-two in Láadan Láadan is a constructed language created in 1982 by the American linguist and science fiction novelist Suzette Haden Elgin in her series Native Tongue. Doubly-created as we may say, as Láadan is invented by a group of feminist linguists in her dystopic world in order to communicate with aliens. Beyond its central aspect in the books plot, it has been designed as a female language aimed at expressing feminine perceptions. Among its specific traits, one can express in an unambiguous way how one feels about what she is saying. Laadan is a true thought experiment to understand what would a female language look like, and if it would be acknowledged by women, and particularly by feminists.

Láadan numbers list

  • 1 – nede
  • 2 – shin
  • 3 – boó
  • 4 – bim
  • 5 – shan
  • 6 – bath
  • 7 – um
  • 8 – nib
  • 9 – bud
  • 10 – thab
  • 11 – nedethab
  • 12 – shinethab
  • 13 – boóthab
  • 14 – bimethab
  • 15 – shanethab
  • 16 – bathethab
  • 17 – umethab
  • 18 – nibethab
  • 19 – budethab
  • 20 – thabeshin
  • 30 – thabebóo
  • 40 – thabebim
  • 50 – thabeshan
  • 60 – thabebath
  • 70 – thabum
  • 80 – thabenib
  • 90 – thabebud
  • 100 – debe
  • 1,000 – thob
  • one million – rod
  • one billion – merod

Láadan 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 nede [1], shin [2], boó [3], bim [4], shan [5], bath [6], um [7], nib [8], and bud [9].
  • Numbers from eleven to nineteen are formed by suffixing the unit with the word for ten (thab), and adding the letter e if the digit name of the unit ends with a consonant: nedethab [11], shinethab [12], boóthab [13], bimethab [14], shanethab [15], bathethab [16], umethab [17], nibethab [18], and budethab [19].
  • Tens are formed by prefixing the multiplier digit with the word for ten (thab), except for ten itself, and adding the letter e if the multiplier name starts with a consonant: thab [10], thabeshin [20], thabebóo [30], thabebim [40], thabeshan [50], thabebath [60], thabum [70], thabenib [80], and thabebud [90].
  • Hundreds are formed by prefixing the multiplier digit with the word for hundred (debe), except for one hundred itself, and deleting the final e of debe before a vowel: debe [100], debeshin [200], debebóo [300], debebim [400], debeshan [500], debebath [600], debum [700], debenib [800], and debebud [900].
  • Thousands are formed by prefixing the multiplier digit with the word for thousand (thob), except for one thousand itself, and adding the letter e if the multiplier name starts with a consonant: thob [1,000], thobeshin [2,000], thobebóo [3,000], thobebim [4,000], thobeshan [5,000], thobebath [6,000], thobum [7,000], thobenib [8,000], and thobebud [9 000].
  • Compound numbers are formed by using the conjunction i (and) to link tens and units, hundreds and tens, thousands and hundreds, that is to say the numbers of each rank (e.g.: thabebath i nede [61], debeshan i thabebath i boó [563], thobenib i debebim i umethab [8,417]).
  • Millions are formed the same way as thousands, based on the word for million (rod): rod [one million], rodeshin [two million], rodebóo [three million]…
  • Billions are formed the same way as thousands, based on the word for billion (merod, formed on the plural marker me- and rod, million): merod [one billion], merodeshin [two billion], merodebóo [three billion]…

Write a number in full in Láadan

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

Native Tongue Native Tongue
by , editors The Feminist Press (2000)
[Amazon.com Amazon.com]

A First Dictionary and Grammar of Láadan A First Dictionary and Grammar of Láadan
by , editors Society for the Furtherance & Study of Fantas (1988)
[Amazon.com Amazon.com]

Lengua materna Lengua materna
by , editors Oz Editorial (2020)
[Amazon.com Amazon.com, Kindle - Amazon.com Kindle - Amazon.com]

Other artistic languages

Atlantean, Atrian, Ayeri, Azazilúŝ, Barsoomian, Belter Creole, Dai, Dovahzul, D’ni, Elder Speech, Engála, Giak, Grayis, Hylian, Illitan, Ithkuil, Itláni, Kēlen, Kiitra, KiLiKi, Láadan, Na’vi, Shiväisith, Siinyamda, Tpaalha, Trigedasleng, Tüchte, Va Ehenív, Verdurian, and Wardwesân.

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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