Counting in Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European (PIE) is the theorized common ancestor of the Indo-European language family, spoken between 3.500 and 2.500 BC. By linguistic reconstruction, linguists have reconstructed a language for which no direct record exists. The reconstructed numerals presented on this page are taken from the Late Indo-European stage, when the distinction with its parent, the Proto-Indo Hittite (PIE) has been done.
Due to lack of data, we can only count accurately up to 1,000 in Proto-Indo-European. Please contact me if you can help me counting up from that limit.
Proto-Indo-European numbers list
- 1 – oinos
- 2 – dwōu
- 3 – trejes
- 4 – qétwores
- 5 – penqe
- 6 – seks
- 7 – septḿ
- 8 – oktṓu
- 9 – newṇ
- 10 – dekṃ
- 11 – sémdekṃ
- 12 – dwōu dekṃ
- 13 – trejes dekṃ
- 14 – qétwores dekṃ
- 15 – penqe dekṃ
- 16 – sweks dekṃ
- 17 – septḿ dekṃ
- 18 – oktṓ dekṃ
- 19 – newṇ dekṃ
- 20 – dwid kṃtī
- 30 – trídkṃta
- 40 – qetwŕdkṃta
- 50 – penqédkṃta
- 60 – sé ksdkṃta
- 70 – septḿdkṃta
- 80 – oktṓdkṃta
- 90 – néwṇdkṃta
- 100 – dkṃtóm
- 1,000 – sṃgheslom
Proto-Indo-European 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: oinos/oinā/oinom (m/f/n) , dwōu/dwāi/dwoi (m/f/n) , trejes/trja or trī/trísores (m/f/n) , qétwores , penqe , seks , septḿ , oktṓu , and newṇ . It seems that weks, six, could have been the ‘original’ PIH (Proto-Indo Hittite) form, to which an s- from septḿ was added; it would have lost the w- later.
- The tens are formed starting with the multiplier unit, directly followed by the suffix -dkṃta (group of ten), with no space, except for twenty: dekṃ , dwid kṃtī or wid kṃtī , trídkṃta , qetwŕdkṃta , penqédkṃta , swé ksdkṃta or sé ksdkṃta, septḿdkṃta , oktṓdkṃta , and néwṇdkṃta .
- Compound numbers from eleven to nineteen are formed starting with the unit, then the word for ten (dekṃ), separated with a space: sémdekṃ or oinos dekṃ , dwōu dekṃ , trejes dekṃ , qétwores dekṃ , penqe dekṃ , sweks dekṃ , septḿ dekṃ , oktṓ dekṃ , and newṇ dekṃ .
- Compound numbers above twenty are formed starting with the unit, then the ten separated with a space (e.g.: qétwores tridkṃta , oktṓu penqédkṃta ).
- Hundreds are formed starting with the multiplier digit root, directly followed by the plural form of the word for hundred (singular: dkṃtóm or kṃtóm, plural: kṃtos), with no space, except for one hundred: dkṃtóm , dwikṃtos , trikṃtos , qatwṛkṃtos , penqekṃtos , sekskṃtos , septṃkṃtos , oktōkṃtos , and newṇkṃtos .
- Compound hundreds start with the unit, then the ten and the hundred, separated with spaces (e.g.: penqe dekṃ dkṃtóm , oinos qetwŕdkṃta septṃkṃtos ).
- The word for thousand is sṃgheslom [1,000].
Write a number in full in Proto-Indo-European
Let’s move now to the practice of the numbering rules in Proto-Indo-European. 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.
A Tentative Syntax of Modern Indoeuropean
by Fernando López-Menchero, editors CreateSpace (2013)
A Grammar of Modern Indo-European, Prometheus Edition
by Carlos Quiles & Fernando López-Menchero, editors CreateSpace (2012)
A Grammar of Modern Indo-European (Third edition)
by Carlos Quiles & Fernando López-Menchero, editors CreateSpace (2011)
The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World
by David W. Anthony, editors Princeton University Press (2010)
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The Oxford Introduction to Proto-Indo-European and the Proto-Indo-European World
by J. P. Mallory, editors Oxford University Press (2006)
[ , ]
- A Grammar of Modern Indo-European, by Carlos Quiles and Fernando López-Menchero, 2011
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