Counting in Nengone

Language overview

The Nengone language belongs to the Austronesian language family, and more specifically to the New Caledonian languages. Spoken on islands of Maré and Tiga of the Loyalty Islands in New Caledonia, it counts about 8,000 speakers.

Due to lack of data, we can only count accurately up to 30 in Nengone. Please contact me if you can help me counting up from that limit.

Nengone numbers list

  • 1 – sa
  • 2 – rewe
  • 3 – tini
  • 4 – ece
  • 5 – sedong
  • 6 – sedong ne sa
  • 7 – sedong ne rew
  • 8 – sedong ne tin
  • 9 – sedong ne ec
  • 10 – ruenin
  • 11 – ruenin ne sa
  • 12 – ruenin ne rew
  • 13 – ruenin ne tin
  • 14 – ruenin ne ec
  • 15 – adenin
  • 16 – adenin ne sa
  • 17 – adenin ne rew
  • 18 – adenin ne tin
  • 19 – adenin ne ec
  • 20 – sarengom
  • 30 – sarengom ne ruenin

Nengone quantifiers

The Nengone language uses quantifiers to expresss quantities. They have different form when talking about animate or inanimate beings, expressing a total, a partial or an exact value.

  • ehna: indicating plural, it is used for living animate beings
    Ehna morow (children), ehna wai (fishes)
  • ileoden: all the elements of a class, with no exception
    Ileoden ore nodei waia ha ded (All the birds have flown away)
  • ko: this quantifier expresses a precise quantity and is used with a numeral
    Tini ko wanu (three coconuts)
  • nodei: extension of a class, it allows a margin of error
    Ore nodei waia ha ded (The birds have flown away, all of them or almost all of them)
  • rue: from rewe (two), rue expresses the notion of dual, of pair or couple
    Rue mohma ci nengoc du rue Riko (The two old people are talking to Riko and his wife)
  • so: like ehna, it indicates the plural of inanimate beings and dead animals
    So len (roads), so titew (chickens)
  • ta: this quantifier designates a subset comparatively to another, often implicit
    Buic ci eran ore ta lan me k’ariroi (They sing the beautiful melodies (implicitly: not the others))

Nengone 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 five are specific words, and digits beyond five, from six to nine, are formed by adding the four first ones to five with the word ne (and, plus), while reducing the digit number to its root element: sa [1], rewe [2], tini [3], ece [4], sedong [5], sedong ne sa [6] (5 and 1), sedong ne rew [7] (5 and 2), sedong ne tin [8] (5 and 3), and sedong ne ec [9] (5 and 4).
  • Tens follow a vigesimal system: ruenin [10] (literally, the two hands), sarengom [20] (one man), sarengom ne ruenin [30] (20+10, or one man and two hands).
  • Compound numbers from eleven to fourteen are formed by adding the digits one to four to the word for ten with the word ne (and, plus): ruenin ne sa [11], ruenin ne rew [12], ruenin ne tin [13], and ruenin ne ec [14]. Fifteen is adenin (some hands). From sixteen to nineteen, the compound numbers add the digits one to four to the word for fifteen: adenin ne sa [16], adenin ne rew [17], adenin ne tin [18], and adenin ne ec [19].
  • Compound numbers from twenty-one to twenty-five formed by adding the digits one to four to the word for twenty with the word ne (and, plus): sarengom ne sa [21], sarengom ne rew [22], sarengom ne tin [23], sarengom ne ec [24], and sarengom ne ec [25]. From twenty-six to twenty-nine, the formation is the same (ten + unit), but sedong ne is contracted to sedo and the separating space with the unit disappears: sarengom ne sedosa [26] (instead of sarengom ne sedong ne sa), sarengom ne sedorew [27] (instead of sarengom ne sedong ne rew), sarengom ne sedotin [28], and sarengom ne sedoec [29].

Write a number in full in Nengone

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


Nengone Grammar
by , editors Pacific Linguistics (1971)

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.