Numbers in Gilbertese

Learn numbers in Gilbertese

Knowing numbers in Gilbertese is probably one of the most useful things you can learn to say, write and understand in Gilbertese. Learning to count in Gilbertese may appeal to you just as a simple curiosity or be something you really need. Perhaps you have planned a trip to a country where Gilbertese is the most widely spoken language, and you want to be able to shop and even bargain with a good knowledge of numbers in Gilbertese.

It's also useful for guiding you through street numbers. You'll be able to better understand the directions to places and everything expressed in numbers, such as the times when public transportation leaves. Can you think of more reasons to learn numbers in Gilbertese?

Gilbertese (Kiribati) is a language from the Austronesian family, belonging to the Oceanian branch and the Micronesian subbranch. Most of the Kiribati speakers (97%) live on the Kiribati island, other speakers live in Rabi Island (Fiji), Nauru, the Solomon Islands, Nui (Tuvalu) and Vanuatu. Kiribati counts about 102,000 speakers.

List of numbers in Gilbertese

Here is a list of numbers in Gilbertese. We have made for you a list with all the numbers in Gilbertese from 1 to 20. We have also included the tens up to the number 100, so that you know how to count up to 100 in Gilbertese. We also close the list by showing you what the number 1000 looks like in Gilbertese.

  • 1) teuana
  • 2) uoua
  • 3) tenua
  • 4) aua
  • 5) nimaua
  • 6) onoua
  • 7) itua
  • 8) wanua
  • 9) ruaiwa
  • 10) tebwina
  • 11) tebwi ma teuana
  • 12) tebwi ma uoua
  • 13) tebwi ma tenua
  • 14) tebwi ma aua
  • 15) tebwi ma nimaua
  • 16) tebwi ma onoua
  • 17) tebwi ma itua
  • 18) tebwi ma wanua
  • 19) tebwi ma ruaiwa
  • 20) uabwi
  • 30) tenibwi
  • 40) abwi
  • 50) nimabwi
  • 60) onobwi
  • 70) itibwi
  • 80) wanibwi
  • 90) ruabwi
  • 100) tebubua
  • 1,000) tengaa
  • one million) te mirion
  • one billion) te birian

Numbers in Gilbertese: Gilbertese numbering rules

Each culture has specific peculiarities that are expressed in its language and its way of counting. The Gilbertese is no exception. If you want to learn numbers in Gilbertese you will have to learn a series of rules that we will explain below. If you apply these rules you will soon find that you will be able to count in Gilbertese with ease.

The way numbers are formed in Gilbertese is easy to understand if you follow the rules explained here. Surprise everyone by counting in Gilbertese. Also, learning how to number in Gilbertese yourself from these simple rules is very beneficial for your brain, as it forces it to work and stay in shape. Working with numbers and a foreign language like Gilbertese at the same time is one of the best ways to train our little gray cells, so let's see what rules you need to apply to number in Gilbertese

  • Digits from one to nine are based on specific roots followed with the generic classifier -ua: akea [0] (which means nothing), teuana [1] (root: te-, suffix -na), uoua [2] (its root uo- only appears with the general classifier -ua and the classifier for animate things -man. In all other cases, it appears as ua-), tenua [3] (root: ten(i)-), aua [4] (root: a-), nimaua [5] (root: nima-), onoua [6] (root: ono-), itua [7] (root: it(i)-), wanua [8] (root: wan(i)-), and ruaiwa [9] (root: ruai-). The forms of three, seven and eight using the letter i (teniua [3], itiua [7], and waniua [8]) only appear in Southern Kiribati.
  • Tens are formed by suffixing the root of the multiplier digit with the tens classifier -bwi: tebwina [10] (from te-, suffixed with -na), uabwi [20] (and not uobwi), tenibwi [30], abwi [40], nimabwi [50], onobwi [60], itibwi [70], wanibwi [80], and ruabwi [90].
  • Compound numbers are formed by linking the ten to the unit with the word ma (and/with), ten itself being shortened for numbers from eleven to nineteen as it looses its -na suffix: tebwi ma uoua [12], tenibwi ma teuana [31].
  • Hundreds are formed by suffixing the root of the multiplier digit with the word for hundred (bubua): tebubua [100], uabubua [200], tenibubua [300], abubua [400], nimabubua [500], onobubua [600], itibubua [700], wanibubua [800], and ruabubua [900].
  • In the compound hundreds with units, the word ma is replaced with ao (and): uabubua ao tenua [203], nimabubua ao teuana [501]. There is no linking word between hundreds and tens (e.g.: itibubua wanibwi ma uoua [782]).
  • Thousands are generally constructed by preceding the word for thousand (tengaa) by the multiplier digit. Most of the time, however, the root -ngaa is simply preceded by the root numeral prefix: (teuana) tengaa/tengaa [1,000], uoua tengaa/uangaa [2,000], teniua tengaa/teningaa [3,000], aua tengaa/angaa [4,000]…
  • In the compound thousands with tens or units, the word ma is replaced with ao (and): uangaa ao tenua [2,003], angaa ao uabwi [4,020]. There is no linking word between thousands and hundreds (e.g.: angaa nimabubua [4,500]).
  • Millions are usually formed by setting the multiplier before the expression for one million te mirion (borrowed from the English million), except for one million itself: te mirion [1 million], tenibubua te mirion [300 million].
  • Billions are formed like millions, i.e. usually formed by setting the multiplier before the expression for one billion te birian (borrowed from the English billion), except for one billion itself: te birian [1 billion], tenibubua te birian [300 billion].
  • In the old traditional Kiribati system, for numbers of 1,000 and higher, the numeral prefixes were used with the forms for one thousand, ten thousand and further multiples of ten on up to a billion: te ngaa [1,000], te rebu [10,000], te kuri [100,000], te ea [1 million], te tano [10 million], and te taki [100 million].
  • Kiribati, by Stephen Trussel
  • Numbers in different languages