Numerals

The numeral system is organized in decades, hundreds, and thousands. It shows affinities with central Algonquian languages, most   particularly with Kickapoo and Sauk-Fox, but also with Miami, Illinois,  Potawatomi, and Menomini. The system below in the main follows Gatschet's careful elicitations, but using Voegelin's phonemic transcription (in my regularized orthography.  Major variants are indicated in the tables, but general  variations are listed in the NOTES following the table.

nekoti

2 times 10, etc.

2 times 100, etc.

1

niishwi

20

niishwaapitaki

200

2

niishenee tepeewe  

nthwi

30

nthwaapitaki

300

3

nthenee tepeewe

niyeewi

40

niyeewaapitaki

400

niyeewene tepeewe

4

niyaalanwi

50

niyaalanwaapitaki

500

5

niyaalanee tepeewe

nekotwa'thwi,   nekotwaathi

60

nekotwaashi

600

nekotwa'thenee tepeewe

6

niishwa'thwi

7

70

niishwaashi

700

niishwa'thenee tepeewe

nthwashikthwi

8

80

nthwaashi

nthwashikthenee tepeewe

800

chakat'thwi

9

90

chaka

900

chakat'thenee tepeewe

meta'thwi

10

100

tepeewi

1000

meta'thenee tepeewe

10 plus 1, etc.

2 10s plus 1, etc.

11

meta'thwi   kitenekoti

21

niishwaapitaki   kitenekoti

2000

niishina meta'thene tepeewe

12

meta'thwi kiteniishwi

22

3000

nthene meta'thene tepeewe

niishwaapitaki   kiteniishwi

4000

niyeewene meta'thene tepeewe

etc.

etc.

5000

niyaalane meta'thene tepeewe

etc.

10,000

100,000

tepeewit'thene meta'thene tepeewe

NOTES:

1.  -akw-, -ene  'X number of times'. The -ene is used to specify the number of times an action takes place in a specified period (Christley, 1992:85; Andrews, 136). Thus, nthene 'three times', niyeewene 'four times' (lit. four number of times), niyaalane 'five times', meta'thene 'ten times'.

2.  The formative -aapitaki 'tens' ('decades' CFV:SS:102),  [X-ty] (Voorhis, 1977:47) is used after stems for 2, 3, 4, 5, to form 20, 30, 40, 50, respectively. (Voegelin 1938-40:102). Voegelin suggests it may be an animate plural for 'strings'  -aapiti (even though as such, the word 'strings'is inanimate). Voegelin suggested that strings may have been used in the same manner as sticks or beans are sometimes used in counting at times for important forthcoming events.The animate may be used to mark prominence as it is associated with sacred duties.

Example: ni-nyeew-aapitaki-kite-n'thwi 'I (first person singular) 4 10s plus 3' = 'I am 43'.

Variants found:

1. The initial n- is sometimes unvoiced (Voegelin's unpublished fieldnotes, 1933); as a result, in the Shawnee texts I collected in 1972 (JB and MW), I have with thwi beside nthwi 'three' (as in thwiileniik 'three men' and yaalanwaapitaki beside niyaalanwaapitaki for the number 50. I also found thwashikthwi for 8.  The iinitial ni- was also sometimes truncated as n-, but both variants are found in the sources. This same variation is found between different Algonquian languages (e.g., for 'one' nekoti (e.g. Shawnee, Kickapoo and Fox), but ngot in Menomini and ngoti in Miami.

2. Another variation is in the endings for 6,  7 and 8. Some sources give -thi and others -thwi. In my own texts, it is consistently -thwi. The form -thwi is found for numbers 6 through 10 in Johnston (1819), Howe (1850), Denny, Gatschet (p. 92: -thui) and Alford -- but not in Whipple (1854) where it is -thi -- as it is in Voegelin's Shawnee Stems (e.g., nekotwa'thi 'six' and niswa'thi 'seven'.  However, nthwaashikthwi 'eight' [SS:379-381]). Thomas Wildcat Alford indicated the full form for nekoti for 6, 16, 60 and 600 (i.e., the final vowel was not left off in composition).  Curiously, Voegelin gives -thwi consistently in his 1933 fieldnotes and unpublished grammar, but he altered it to -thi in publishing Shawnee Stems.  Perhaps it is a legitimate dialect variation, but the Williams family, used by both Voegelin, Kenneth Andrews, and myself all use -thwi.

3. The final apparent variation occurs in the numbers for 200 and upward numbers where Gatschet uses niishenetepeewi, thenetepeewi, etc., with the final -ene 'times'. On the other hand, Johnston uses niishwitepeewi, nthwitepeewi, and so on.  Voegelin has all these with a final -e in his unpublished grammar and I have followed tht above. All sources agree with Gatschet as seen in Voegelin (SS:388): niyeewenetepeewe 'four times one hundred' (i.e., four hundred). Note also Trowbridge: They enumerate by tens, until they get to one hundred, which is called Tepaawaa -- a thousand they call, Metothenee tepaawaa, or Ten hundreds -- & Ten thousand, Metothenee, metatheses tepaawaa or Ten, Ten, hundreds(p. 38).  The figures for up to five thousand are given in Archaeologia Americana, 1818 and agree with Gatschet.

The following shows the numbers 1 to 5 in several Algonquian languages along with the reconstructed proto-Algonquian (PA) forms shown for comparison. Some apparent differences are actually differences in notation (e.g. /s/?and /sh/:  the Shawnee /sh/ in some speakers sounds a bit like English /s/ and some have recorded it as such.However, since there is only one sound the difference is not significant comparatively.

Three

Four

Five

One

Two

PA

*nekotwi

*ni:shwi

*ne:thwi

*nye:wi

*nya:lanwi

Shawnee

nekoti

niishwi

nthwi

niyeewi

niyaalanwi

Kickapoo

nekoti

niiswi

nethwi

niei

niananw

Fox

nekoti

ni:shwi

neswi

nye:wi

nya:nanwi

Sauk

nekotah

niish

nissoah

neeawah

neeananon

Miami

ngoti

nijwi

nisswi

niwi

yalanwi

Illinois

nicote

nihssou

nihssoui

nihoui

niaharaugh

Potawatomi

ngot

nish

nswe'

nyaw

nyanIn

Menomini

nekot

ni:s

neqniw

ni:w

nianan

Please write me with any corrections, additions, or comments at noelschutz@yahoo.com

meta'thene meta'thene tepeewe