Numerals

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A numeral is simply a word used to designate a number, specifically a counting number.

In Mi'gmaq, the numbers used to count objects (e.g.: "two tables" or "seven women") are different from the numbers used to count in the abstract sense (e.g.: "three, two, one, blast-off!").

[edit] Basic Number Words

Mi'gmaq wordNumberMi'gmaq wordNumberMi'gmaq word Number
newt one newt-isga'q / mtlin ten gasg'ptnnaqan one hundred
ta'pu two ta'pu-isga'q twenty ta'pu gasg'ptnnaqan two hundred
si'st three nes-isga'q thirty si'st gasg'ptnnaqan three hundred
ne'w four ne'w-isga'q forty ne'w gasg'ptnnaqan four hundred
na'n five na'n-isga'q fifty na'n gasg'ptnnaqan five hundred
as'gom six as'gom te'sisga'q sixty as'gom gasg'ptnnaqan six hundred
lluigneg seven lluigneg te'sisga'q seventy lluigneg gasg'ptnnaqan seven hundred
ugumuljin eight ugumuljin te'sisga'q eighty ugumuljin gasg'ptnnaqan eight hundred
pesgunateg nine pesgunateg te'sisga'q ninety pesgunateg gasg'ptnnaqan nine hundred

Numbers 1-9 are given in the table above; these basic numbers are used to form the rest of the number words. To form two-digit numbers from these basic words, for 10 through 50 the suffix [-isga'q] is added to the basic number word. ("Three", si'st, is different here; nesi is always used as a prefix to mean "three".) For 60 through 90, the stand-alone word te'sisga'q follows the basic number. Note that there are two words for ten - newt-isga'q and mtln. When simply saying the word "ten", both can be used; however, mtln is the source of the number prefix used to count objects or things (see Number Words with Classifiers).

To change the second digit of two-digit numbers, jel (roughly translating to "and") is added with the desired number - e.g., newtisga'q jel newt is "eleven", more literally "ten and one".

Three digit numbers involve the word for one hundred, gasg'ptnnaqan. Alternate spellings for this word include gasg'mtlnaqan, indicating that the word is morphologically built off of the word mtln for "ten", but any possible meanings of gasg- or -aqan as separate morphemes are unclear at this point. The basic number word is simply placed in front of gasg'ptnnaqan and the second and third digits are changed by adding numbers with jel, e.g. na'n gasg'ptnnaqan jel na'nisgaq' jel na'n for "five hundred fifty-five", literally "five hundred and fifty and five".

For four digit numbers and beyond, the word for "one thousand" is pituiptnnaqan, and "one million" is igjipituiptnnaqan.

[edit] Number Words with Classifiers

When counting nouns in Mi'gmaq, one adds certain classifiers to the number word depending on potential classifications of the noun being counted. Nouns can possibly be:

  • Bare (only require an animacy marker)
  • Kinds or groups of objects
  • Long and cylindrical
  • Round or globe-like
  • Flat and thin or sheet-like
  • Money
  • Years of age
  • Dates
  • Hierarchical systems or series (such as order [first, second, third], military rank, floors of a building, etc.)

Different classifiers exist for each of these categories and are applied to number words when counting nouns in each category. Each number takes an animacy classifier, and further classifiers are infixed between the number word and the animacy classifier. In the table below, examples are given with the word for "two":

Counting wordClassifierGloss
ta'pu-sijig -sijig two animates
ta'pu'-gl -gl two inanimates
ta'pu-nemig-sijig -nemig- two kinds of animates
ta'pu-nemi-gl -nemig- two kinds of inanimates
ta'pu-oq-sijig -oq- two cylinder-like animates
ta'pu-a'-gl -a'- two cylinder-like inanimates
ta'pu-anqa-sijjig -anqa- two sheet-like animates
ta'pu-anqe-gl -anqe- two sheet-like inanimates
ta'pu-apsg'-sijig -apsg'- two globe-like animates
tapu-apsge-gl -apsge- two globe-like inanimates

Note that for "three", the prefix is nemi- and not si'st, and for "ten", the mtln variant is prefixed as opposed to newtisga'q.

These number words with classifiers can be used to describe the number of according nouns, as shown in the example below.

  1. ta'pu-apsge-gl       alawe'-l  
    two.round.inanimate  pea.PL    
    'Two peas'

These classifiers also seem to play a role in verbal modification, as seen in the Modification section.

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