Rotuman has a 10-based counting system, which means that following the Rotuman number for ‘10’, the numbers mean literally ‘ten and one’ (for 11), ‘ten and two’ (for 12), and so on.

When counting, you should use the long forms of the numerals. They are as follows:

 tā ‘1’ saghul ma tā ‘11’ rua ‘2’ saghul ma rua ‘12’ folu ‘3’ ruaghulu ‘20’ häke ‘4’ folaghulu ‘30’ lima ‘5’ tarau ‘100’ ono ‘6’ tarau ma tā ‘101’ hifu ‘7’ tarau ma rua ‘102’ vạlu ‘8’ tarau rua ‘200’ siva ‘9’ tarau folu ‘300’ saghulu ‘10’ äfe ‘1,000’

When the numerals are used together with a noun, the regular rules about the use of long and short forms apply (See the link on long and short at:

The numeral follows the noun; the noun itself is always in the short form, while the numeral is long if definite and short if indefinite. So hȧn fol means ‘3 women’, while hȧn folu means ‘the 3 women’. You might use this last form when you are, for example, talking about some specific women that you met.

An interesting thing about Rotuman counting words is that the language has special words for counting certain edible things. This shows the importance of food to the culture. Some of these words are nouns:

poa            ‘20 alili shellfish’

katoʽa        ‘100 fish (of any kind)’

kiu             ‘1,000 taro or yams’

Others of these special words occur together with regular nouns:

niu asoa            ‘2 coconuts’

iaʽ siga            ‘(the) 10 fish’

puak savaʽa       ‘(the) 10 pigs’ (also used for cows, chickens, and eggs)

Exercises

A. Tell what each word means. You can click on the word to get an answer.

2.  ono

3.  tarau

4.  saghulu

5.  siva

6.  rua

7.  tā

8. lima

9. folu

10. äfe

B. Now, based on the pattern above for the numerals 10 and 19, give the Rotuman for the following:

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

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C. Now, based on the pattern above for numerals 20 and 99, give the Rotuman for the following:

22

36

49

51

63

78

84

95

D. How would you say the following in Rotuman:

the 5 women

the 4 pigs

6 people

9 letters

14 bananas

68 houses

33 ceremonies

27 dances

B.      saghul ma folu

saghul ma häke

saghul ma lima

saghul ma ono

saghul ma hifu

saghul ma vlu

saghul ma siva

C.      ruaghul ma rua

folaghul ma ono

häkaghul ma siva

limaghul ma tā

onaghul ma folu

hifaghul ma vlu

vlaghul ma hake

sivaghul ma lima

D.      hȧn lima

puak häke

famör on

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puk siav

pȧr saghul ma häk

rī onaghul ma vl

katoʽag folaghul ma fol

mak ruaghul ma hif

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