Counting in Welsh
The Welsh language (Cymraeg), belongs to the Celtic languages of the Indo-European languages family, and more precisely to its Brittonic branch. Spoken in Wales, but also in England and Argentina (in the Welsh colony of Y Wladfa), it counts about 700,000 speakers.
Welsh numbers list
- 1 – un
- 2 – dau
- 3 – tri
- 4 – pedwar
- 5 – pump
- 6 – chwech
- 7 – saith
- 8 – wyth
- 9 – naw
- 10 – deg
- 11 – undeg un
- 12 – undeg dau
- 13 – undeg tri
- 14 – undeg pedwar
- 15 – undeg pump
- 16 – undeg chwech
- 17 – undeg saith
- 18 – undeg wyth
- 19 – undeg naw
- 20 – dauddeg
- 30 – trideg
- 40 – pedwardeg
- 50 – pumdeg
- 60 – chwedeg
- 70 – saithdeg
- 80 – wythdeg
- 90 – nawdeg
- 100 – cant
- 1,000 – mil
- one million – miliwn
- one billion – biliwn
Traditional Welsh numbers
Traditional Welsh uses the vigesimal system, hence based on twenty and its multiples, rather than on ten and its multiples (the decimal system otherwise used). It is still used to express age and years, but is replaced by the decimal system for its ease to learn for English-speaking people.
Its tens are: deg , ugain , deg ar hugain (ten on twenty) , deugain (two twenties) , hanner cant (half hundred) , trigain (three twenties) , deg a thrigain (ten on three twenties) , pedwar ugain (four twenties) , and deg a phedwar ugain (ten on four twenties) .
In the vigesimal system, compound numbers are formed starting with the unit, then the particle ar, a or ac, and the ten: un ar hugain , pedwar a deugain , hanner cant a chwech , tri ar ddeg a phedwar ugain .
Welsh 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 zero to nine are rendered by specific words: sero (or dim) , un , dau / dwy (masculine/feminine) , tri / tair (masculine/feminine) , pedwar / pedair (masculine/feminine) , pump (or pum when directly followed by a noun) , chwech (or chwe when directly followed by a noun) , saith , wyth , and naw .
- The tens in the decimal system are formed by prefixing the word for ten (deg) with its multiplier digit (separated with a space or not): deg , dauddeg , trideg , pedwardeg , pumdeg , chwedeg , saithdeg , wythdeg , and nawdeg .
- Teens are formed by starting with the word for ten (deg) prefixed by its multiplier (one), followed by the unit, separated with a space: undeg un , undeg dau , undeg tri , undeg pedwar , undeg pump , undeg chwech , undeg saith , undeg wyth , and undeg naw .
- Compound numbers are formed the same way, starting with the ten, followed by the unit digit (e.g.: dauddeg pump , chwedeg pedwar ).
- Hundreds are formed by stating the multiplier digit before the word for hundred (cant, gant or chant), except for one hundred: cant , dau gant , tri chant , pedwar cant , pum cant , chwe chant , saith cant , wyth cant , and naw cant .
- When compound with numbers from one to ten, hundreds are linked with the particle ac or a (e.g.: cant ac un , cant a dau , cant a deg ), while no particule is needed between the hundred and upper numbers (e.g.: cant dauddeg ).
- Thousands are formed by stating the multiplier digit before the word for thousand (mil), except for one thousand: mil [1,000], dau vil [2,000], tri mil [3,000], pedwar mil [4,000], pump mil [5,000], chwech mil [6,000], saith mil [7,000], wyth mil [8,000], and naw mil [9,000].
- The word for million is miliwn (plural: miliynau), and the word for billion (109) is biliwn (plural: biliynau).
Write a number in full in Welsh
Let’s move now to the practice of the numbering rules in Welsh. 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.
The Welsh Language: A History
by Janet Davies, editors University of Wales Press (2015)
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Basic Welsh: A Grammar and Workbook
by Gareth King, editors Routledge (2014)
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Welcome to Welsh: A Complete Welsh Course for Beginners
by Heini Gruffudd, editors Y Lolfa (2008)
Y Wladfa Yn Dy Boced (English and Welsh Edition)
by Cathrin Williams, editors Gwasg y Bwthyn (2015)
Crónica de la Colonia galesa de La Patagonia
by Abraham Matthews, editors Alfonsina (2004)
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.