Counting In Esperanto

Hey, folks. Today’s Daily Prompt is all about teaching. Specifically, teaching others that one thing you can do really well. This one’s actually kind of hard for me, because my specialty is writing…like the majority of the people on WordPress. I’m pretty sure most of you don’t need another how-to-write lecture, so I won’t even bother focusing on it. Instead, I’ll do something a little bit more obscure: Esperanto. Created in 1887, it’s the most widely-used constructed international auxiliary language. Basically, it was an attempt to get around the communication barrier by using with words influenced by multiple languages. And while it’s never been an official second language in any country, it still has a small but devoted following. Rather than giving a full rundown – even I don’t know everything about it – I’ll stick with just a brief lesson on counting in Esperanto:

  • 0 = Nulo  6 = ses
  • 1 = unu   7 = sep
  • 2 = du     8 = ok
  • 3 = tri     9 = naŭ
  • 4 = kvar   10 = dek
  • 5 = kvin

The tens are expressed by adding dek after the matching digit. 20 = dudek, 30 = tridek, etc. The rules for individual numbers are basically the same as they are in English; you just say the word for the corresponding ten, and whatever digit needed. For example: 11 = dek unu, 27 = dudek sep, 35 = tridek kvin,  79 = sepdek naŭ.

Still with me, right?

When you get up to a hundred, things change up just a tiny bit. 100 = cent. You know, like a penny? The rest of the rules still apply, though: 101 = cent unu, 200 = du cent, 500 = kvincent, 999 = naŭcent naŭdek naŭ. As you might guess, 1,000 = mil. You know, like the thousandth of an inch? So, following these rules a number like 2,679 = dumil sescent sepdek naŭ.

10,000 = dek mil

20,000 = dudek mil

589,345 = kvincent okdek naŭmil tricent kvardek kvin

1,000,000 = miliono

5,000,000 = kvin milionoj

Once you start getting up into the billions and beyond, things start to get…interesting. You can use words like biliono, triliono, etc., but there are different terms depending if you’re using the long or short scales for number systems. If you’re up for learning it, you can find a handy chart for it here.

Adiaŭ, amikoj!