A Grammar of Vabungula

Part 6 - Numbers

Two Numbering Systems

Vabungula has two numbering systems: a native Vabungula system, and a borrowed system. While both systems are in use, the borrowed system has largely supplanted the native system. The borrowed system comes from a language called Lorêm. Vabungula words that have number roots nearly always use the native system, very rarely the borrowed Lorêm system. Note that the use of the native "ono" (1) is often preferred to the Lorêm equivalent "sêna", especially when used colloquially, or when enumerating nouns. (This also often applies to the native "dono" (2) and its Lorêm equivalent "bêlê").

The Native System

The native Vabungula numbering system, although simple, is rather crude and cumbersome. Although it has words for "hundred" and "thousand", its use is mainly restricted to relatively small numbers. Native Vabungula numbers are also used in building roots.

     hono      eight
     horota    spider

     dono      two
     donûn     half

     slono     seven
     slorêmlar week

The native Vabungula numbers from 1 through 10 are as follows:

     ono       one
     dono      two
     tono      three
     kono      four
     kwono     five
     sono      six
     slono     seven
     hono      eight
     nono      nine
     drono     ten

Numbers between 10 and 100 are formed by combining the word for ten (drono) as follows:

     dronoiono      eleven ("ten and one")
     dronoidono     twelve ("ten and two")
     dronoitono     thirteen ("ten and three")
     donodrono      twenty ("two ten")
     donodronoiono  twenty-one ("two ten and one")
     tonodrono      thirty ("three ten")
     nonodronoinono ninety-nine ("nine ten and nine")

Hundred is derono and thousand is dorono. Numbers above one hundred are formed similarly.

     121 ("hundred and two ten and one")
     237 ("two hundred and three ten and seven")
     4325 ("four thousand and three hundred and two ten and five")

The Lorêm System

The borrowed Lorêm system is capable of expressing numbers much larger than the native Vabungula system, and in a much more succinct and pleasing manner. All numbers are formed by combining the basic root numbers:

     sêna         1  (one)
     bêlê         2  (two) 
     ana          3  (three) 
     bana         4  (four) 
     kolo         5  (five) 
     olo          6  (six) 
     sali         7  (seven) 
     asi          8  (eight)
     deka         9  (nine)
     resa        10  (ten)
     uza        100  (hundred) 
     ina       1000  (thousand) 
     ova    1000000  (million)
     ela 1000000000  (billion; British: milliard) 

All other numbers are formed by combining the basic root numbers. Note that all Lorêm numbers are formed by alternating vowels and consonants; there are no consonant or vowel clusters. All resulting compound numbers are also formed as alternating vowels and consonants. This is done by dropping final consonants on roots when the following syllable begins with a consonant.

The numbers 11-19 are formed by prefixing an abbreviation for "ten", re or res, to the numbers 1 through 9:

     resêna        11
     rebêlê        12
     resana        13
     rebana        14
     rekolo        15
     resolo        16
     resali        17
     resasi        18
     redeka        19

Multiples of ten, from twenty through ninety, are formed by prefixing abbreviations for the numbers 1 through 9 onto res, an abbreviation for 10:

     bêres         20
     ares          30
     bares         40
     kores         50
     ores          60
     sares         70
     ases          80
     deres         90

Numbers from 21 through 99 are formed by dropping the final "s" of the multiple of ten and suffixing the first syllable (consonant-vowel-consonant) of the one's digit, or, if the one's digit begins with a vowel, retaining the final "s" of the multiple of ten, and suffixing the first syllable (vowel-consonant) of the one's digit. Note that all numbers from 21 through 99 end in a consonant, whereas the numbers from 1 through 19 end in a vowel.

     bêresên       21
     bêrebêl       22
     bêresan       23
     bêreban       24
     bêrekol       25
     bêresol       26
     bêresal       27
     bêresas       28
     bêredek       29
     aresên        31
     aresan        33
     korekol       55
     koresas       58
     sareban       74
     asesên        81
     asesal        87
     asesas        88
     deredek       99

Numbers above 99 are all formed by combining the above sequence with variations of uza (root: u(z)) for hundreds, ina (root: i(n)) for thousands, ova (root: o(v)) for millions, and ela (root e(l)) for billions. The roots vary depending on whether they are followed by a vowel or consonant (avoiding vowel or consonant clusters). If the root appears at the end of the word, the full three-letter form is used. Numbers from 100 to 999 are formed as follows:

     uza         100
     usêna       101
     ubêlê       102
     uzana       103
     ubana       104
     ukolo       105
     uzolo       106
     usali       107
     uzasi       108
     udeka       109
     uresa       110
     uresêna     111
     ubêres      120
     uzares      130
     ubares      140
     ukores      150
     uzores      160
     usares      170
     uzases      180
     bêluza      200
     bêlusêna    201
     bêlubêlê    202
     bêluzana    203
     bêlurekolo  215
     anuza       300
     banuza      400
     koluza      500
     oluza       600
     saluza      700
     asuza       800
     dekuza      900
     dekubêresal 927
     dekuzaresan 933
     dekuzasesas 988
     dekuderedek 999

Numbers from 1000 to 1000000 are formed as follows:

     ina                       1000
     isêna                     1001
     ibêlê                     1002
     inana                     1003
     ideredek                  1099
     inuza                     1100
     inusêna                   1101
     ibêluza                   1200
     ibêluzareban              1234
     inanuza                   1300
     ibanuza                   1400
     bêlina                    2000
     anina                     3000
     banina                    4000
     salina                    7000
     asina                     8000
     resina                   10000
     resisêna                 10001
     resinuza                 10100
     resinanubarekol          10345
     resênina                 11000
     resêniresêna             11011
     rebêlina                 12000
     resanina                 13000
     bêresina                 20000
     bêresanina               23000
     saresina                 70000
     asesina                  80000
     deredekidekuderedek      99999
     uzina                   100000
     uzinuza                 100100
     usêninuresa             101110
     uresina                 110000
     bêluzina                200000
     anuzina                 300000
     saluzasesalinasusaresas 787878
     dekuderedekidekuderedek 999999

Numbers 1000000 and higher are formed as follows:

     ova                      1000000
     osêna                    1000001
     ovuzina                  1100000
     obêluzarebanikoluzoresal 1234567
     bêlova                   2000000
     resova                  10000000
     resovusêniresa          10101010
     barebanova              44000000
     ela                   1000000000
     esêna                 1000000001
     bêlela                2000000000
     olebaresovanubêliresa 5040302010

Lorêm Number Construction

In summary, the construction of a Lorêm number from a given positive integer less than one trillion proceeds as follows:

  1. Break the number down into groups of three digits, according to how they would be written with intervening commas.
           001 for millions group
           234 for thousands group 
           567 for units group
  2. Translate each group of three digits into the corresponding Lorêm number for 1 through 999. (If the three digits are '000', then ignore. If the three digits are '001', ignore for the millions, thousands, and billions groups only.)

    Note that leading zeroes within a group are always ignored.

    Note that "sên" is never used as a prefix:

             100 = "uza" and not "sênuza"
    	1000 = "ina" and not "sênina"
         1000000 = "ova" and not "sênova"
      1000000000 = "ela" and not "sênela"
  3. Fuse the groups together by suffixing each group with the appropriate copula, avoiding consonant or vowel clusters:
           "i" or "in" for thousands
           "o" or "ov" for millions
           "e" or "el" for billions

For absolutely explicit details, here is a programmer's Algorithm for Creating Lorêm Numbers.

Examples of Lorêm Numbers

The number of feet in a mile is kolibêluzases.

The number of days in a year is banuzorekol; in a leap year it's banuzoresol.

Light travels at the speed of approximately uzasesolina miles per second.

In the year ibanuderebêl Columbus discovered America.

The Declaration of Independence was signed in the year isalusaresol.

I was born in the year idekubaredek.

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Page last modified on December 29, 2009
Vabungula is an artificial language invented by Bill Price in 1965.
Vabungula co nûsk mugola famêlêtke onudž Bill Price larla alara idekuzorekol.
Copyright © 1999 by Bill Price