Counting in Mwotlap

Language overview

Forty-two in Mwotlap The Mwotlap language (M̄otlap) belongs to the Malayo-Polynesian group (and more specifically to the oceanic sub-group) of the Austronesian family. It is spoken on the island of Motalava in Vanuatu, and counts about 2,100 speakers.

Mwotlap numbers list

  • 1 – vitwag
  • 2 – vōyō
  • 3 – vētēl
  • 4 – vēvet
  • 5 – tēvēlēm
  • 6 – levete
  • 7 – liviyō
  • 8 – levetēl
  • 9 – levevet
  • 10 – son̄wul
  • 11 – son̄wul tiwag nanm̄e vitwag
  • 12 – son̄wul tiwag nanm̄e vōyō
  • 13 – son̄wul tiwag nanm̄e vētēl
  • 14 – son̄wul tiwag nanm̄e vēvet
  • 15 – son̄wul tiwag nanm̄e tēvēlēm
  • 16 – son̄wul tiwag nanm̄e levete
  • 17 – son̄wul tiwag nanm̄e liviyō
  • 18 – son̄wul tiwag nanm̄e levetēl
  • 19 – son̄wul tiwag nanm̄e levevet
  • 20 – son̄wul yō
  • 30 – son̄wul tēl
  • 40 – son̄wul vet
  • 50 – son̄wul tēvēlēm
  • 60 – son̄wul levete
  • 70 – son̄wul liviyō
  • 80 – son̄wul levetēl
  • 90 – son̄wul levevet
  • 100 – m̄eldēl
  • 1,000 – tey vag-tiwag
  • one million – tey vag-tey

Mwotlap 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 on to nine are rendered by specific words: vitwag [1], vōyō [2], vētēl [3], vēvet [4], tēvēlēm [5], levete [6], liviyō [7], levetēl [8], and levevet [9]. The digits from one to four have two forms: a simple form (tiwag, , tēl, and vet) used as multiplier for ten or bigger numbers with the prefix vag- (times), and a prefixed form (vitwag, vōyō, vētēl, and vēvet) used in the other cases (simple or compound unit).
  • We can note in the digits seven, eight and nine the remains of a quinary numeration system: we find the of two in liviyō (seven, or five plus two), the tēl of three in levetēl (eight, or five plus three), and the vet of four in levevet (nine, or five plus four).
  • Tens are formed starting by the word for ten (son̄wul), followed by the multiplier digit (in its simple form), separated with a space: son̄wul [10], son̄wul yō [20], son̄wul tēl [30], son̄wul vet [40], son̄wul tēvēlēm [50], son̄wul levete [60], son̄wul liviyō [70], son̄wul levetēl [80], and son̄wul levevet [90].
  • The compound numbers are formed starting with the ten, followed by the word nanm̄e (plus) and the unit digit (in its prefixed form). From eleven to nineteen, ten is in its long form, i.e. son̄wul tiwag and not only son̄wul, tiwag meaning together. We thus get son̄wul tiwag nanm̄e vitwag [11], son̄wul yō nanm̄e vētēl [23] or son̄wul liviyō nanm̄e vēvet [74].
  • Hundreds are formed starting with the word for hundred (m̄eldēl) followed by the prefix vag- (times) and the simple form of the multiplier digit, except for one hundred itself: m̄eldēl [100], m̄eldēl vag-yō [200] (literally, two times (one) hundred), m̄eldēl vag-tēl [300], m̄eldēl vag-vet [400], m̄eldēl vag-tēvēlēm [500], m̄eldēl vag-levete [600], m̄eldēl vag-liviyō [700], m̄eldēl vag-levetēl [800], and m̄eldēl vag-levevet [900].
  • The compound hundreds, when they don’t have a ten, link the hundred and the unit with the word vēpnegi (eg.: m̄eldēl vag-vet vēpnegi liviyō [407]).
  • Thousands are formed starting with the word for thousand (tey), followed by the prefix vag- (times) and the simple form of the multiplier digit: tey vag-tiwag [1,000], tey vag-yō [2,000] (literally, two times (one) thousand), tey vag-tēl [3,000], tey vag-vet [4,000], tey vag-tēvēlēm [5,000], tey vag-levete [6,000], tey vag-liviyō [7,000], tey vag-levetēl [8,000], and tey vag-levevet [9,000].
  • The thousand multiples are formed by composing the multiplier with the thousand. For instance, [30,000] is tey vag-son̄wul tēl, or thirty times (one) thousand.
  • One million is tey vag-tey, or literally one thousand times one thousand.


La Sémantique du Prédicat en Mwotlap (Vanuatu) La Sémantique du Prédicat en Mwotlap (Vanuatu)
by , editors Peeters Publishers (2003)


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.