Counting in Punu

Language overview

Forty-two in Punu Punu, also known as Yipunu, is a Bantu language from the Niger-Congo family. Spoken in the Tchibanga area of Gabon by the Bapunu people, it counts about 130,000 speakers.

Due to lack of data, we can only count accurately up to 999,999 in Punu. Please contact me if you can help me counting up from that limit.

Punu numbers list

  • 1 – imossi
  • 2 – bidédji
  • 3 – birriéwou
  • 4 – bine
  • 5 – biranou
  • 6 – bissiaamounou
  • 7 – issambouali
  • 8 – inane
  • 9 – ifou
  • 10 – diwouni
  • 11 – diwouni na imossi
  • 12 – diwouni na bidédji
  • 13 – diwouni na birriéwou
  • 14 – diwouni na bine
  • 15 – diwouni na biranou
  • 16 – diwouni na bissiaamounou
  • 17 – diwouni na issambouali
  • 18 – diwouni na inane
  • 19 – diwouni na ifou
  • 20 – mawouma bédji
  • 30 – mawouma riérwou
  • 40 – mawoumane
  • 50 – mawoumaranou
  • 60 – mawoumassiamounou
  • 70 – doussambouali doumawoumi
  • 80 – innane imawoumi
  • 90 – ifou mawoumi
  • 100 – kame
  • 1,000 – ivévi

Regional differences

The data used on this page have been collected in the area of Tchibanga, in the Nyanga Province of southern Gabon, by the linguist Jean-Marie Hombert, in June 2009. The pronunciation in the city of Port-Gentil in the province of Ogooue-Maritime is a bit different: 2 is said bibédji (instead of bidédji), 3 is said birriérou (instead of birriéwou), 8 is said yinaane (the first syllable is very similar to the yi of yipunu, a bit longer on the middle syllable), 9 is said yifu (same remark about the first syllable yi), and 10 is rather said diwoumi (instead of diwouni).

Punu 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).

  • Numbers from one to nine are specific words, namely imossi [1], bidédji [2], birriéwou [3], bine [4], biranou [5], bissiaamounou [6], issambouali [7], inane [8], and ifou [9].
  • The tens are formed by putting mawouma before their multiplier digit, with some exceptions: diwouni [10], mawouma bédji [20], mawouma riérwou [30], mawoumane [40], mawoumaranou [50], mawoumassiamounou [60], doussambouali doumawoumi [70], innane imawoumi [80], and ifou mawoumi [90].
  • Compound numbers are formed by saying the ten, then the coordinator na, and the unit (e.g.: diwouni na inane [18], mawoumaranou na bine [54]).
  • Hundreds are formed by setting the multiplier digit after the word for hundred (kame), except for one hundred itself, unless composed: kame [100], kame bidédji [200], kame birriéwou [300], kame bine [400]…
  • Thousands are formed the same way as hundreds, i.e. by setting the multiplier digit after the word for thousand (ivévi), except for one thousand itself, unless composed: ivévi [1,000], ivévi bidédji [2,000], ivévi birriéwou [3,000], ivévi bine [4,000]…
  • Each group of numbers is linked to the others with na (and), tens and units, but also hundreds and tens, thousands and hundreds… (e.g.: mawouma bédji na birriéwou [23], kame imossi na mawoumaranou [150], ivévi imossi na kame bidédji na mawouma riérwou na bine [1,234]).

Write a number in full in Punu

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


Parlons yipunu : langue et culture des Punu du Gabon-Congo Parlons yipunu : langue et culture des Punu du Gabon-Congo
by , editors L’Harmattan (2001)


  • Videos in Punu conducted in June 2009 in Tchibanga, southern Gabon, for Sorosoro

Bantu languages

Gwere, Kinyarwanda, Lingala, Makhuwa, Mwani, Nyungwe, Punu, Shona, Soga, Swahili, Tsonga, Tswana, Xhosa, Yao, and Zulu.

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.