words for numbers in Slavic languages

Like English, the Slavic languages derive most of their words for integers from a few words for the numbers 1 to 9 and selected powers of 10.

Also like English, the teens $10 get their own irregular words which don’t follow the pattern established for $20. However, these words are irregular in different ways among the different languages. Note also the special Russian word for 40, whereas most of the other Slavic languages use a word which is obviously “four tens.”

The Slavic languages developed from Old Russian and Church Slavonic, adapting the Greek alphabet for their own purposes, coming up with the Cyrillic alphabet.

Modern Russian is of course written in the Cyrillic alphabet, which is still used for some of the other slavic languages. PlanetMath has facilities for including Russian text in entries, however, for the sake of easier comparison, I’ve decided to transliterate the Russian words to the Roman alphabet. Note however that I’ve tried to do so as a speaker of some Slavic language would do, and not as an English-speaker.

If it’s not too much of a digression, I’d like to mention that the Slavic languages using the Roman alphabet are fairly consistent about using “c” only for a “ts” sound (any other sound being indicated by the addition of a diacritical mark). The cited books have much more detailed information on pronunciation than can be given here.

In the following table, the first word given is the cardinal (e.g., “twelve”), and if a second word is given, it’s the ordinal (e.g., “twelfth”).

$n$ 0 1 2 Russian (translit.) Polish Serbo-Croat Slovene nul’ zero nula nič odín, perviy jeden, pierwszy jedan, prvi ena, prvi dva, vtoróy dwa, drugi dva, drugi dva, drugi tri, trétiy trzy, trzecy tri, treći tri, tretje četire, četvyortiy cztery, czwarty četiri, četvrti štiri, četrti pyat’, pyatiy piȩć, pia̧ty pet, peti pet, peti šest’, šestóy sześć, szósty šest, šesti šest, šesti sem’, sedimóy siedem, siódmy sedam, sedmi sedem, sedmi vosém’, vosemóy osiem, ósmy osam, osmi osem, osmi devyat’, devyatiy dziewiȩć, dziewia̧ty devet, deveti devet, deveti desyat’, desyatiy dziesiȩć, dziesia̧ty deset, deseti deset, deseti odinnadcat’, odinnadcatiy jedenaście, jedenasty jedanaest, jedanaesti enajst, enajsti dvenádcat’, dvenádcatiy dwanaście, dwunasty dvanaest, dvanaesti dvanajst, dvanajsti trinádcat’, trinádcatiy trzynaście, trzynasty trinaest, trinaesti trinajst, trinajsti četirnádcat’, četirnádcatiy czternaście, czternasty četrnaest, četrnaesti štirinajst, štirinajsti pyatnádcat’, pyatnádcatiy piȩtnaście, piȩtnaśty petnaest, petnaesti petnajst, petnajsti šestnádcat’, šestnádcatiy szesnaście, szesnasty šestnaest, šestnaesti šestnajst, šestnajsti semnádcat’, semnádcatiy siedemnaście, siedemnasty sedamnaest, sedamnaesti sedemnajst, sedemnajsti vosemnádcat’, vosemnádcatiy osiemnaście, osiemnasty osemnaest, osemnaesti osemnajst, osemnajsti devyatnádcat’, devyatnádcatiy dziewiȩtnaście, dziewiȩtnaśty devetnaest, devetnaesti devetnajst, devetnajsti dvadcat’, dvadcátiy dwadzieścia, dwudziesty dvadeset, dvadeseti dvajdeset, dvajdeseti dvadcat’ odín dwaddzieścia jeden, , dwudziesty pierwszy dvadeset i jedan enaindvajdeset tridcat’, tridcatiy trzydzieści, trzydziesty trideset, trideseti trideset sorok, sorokovóy czterdzieści, czterdziesty četrdeset, četrdeseti štirideset pyat’desyat’ piȩćdziesia̧t, piȩćdziesia̧t pedeset petdeset šest’desyat sześćdziesia̧t, sześćdziesia̧ty šezdeset šestdeset sem’desyat siedemdziesia̧t, siedemdziesia̧ty sedamdeset sedemdeset vocem’desyat osiemdziesia̧t, osiemdziesia̧ty osamdeset osemdeset devyanósto dziewiȩćdziesia̧t, dziewiȩćdziesia̧t devedeset devetdeset sto sto, setny sto, stoci sto, stoti dvesti dwieście, dwusetny dvesta dvesto trista trzyście, trzysetny trista tristo tisyača tysia̧c, tysiȩczny hiljada, hiljaditi tisoč dve tisyači dwatysia̧ce dve hiljade millión milion milijun milijon

In Serbo-Croat, they say “comma” where we would say “point,” reflecting the European preference for the decimal comma instead of our decimal point. For example, 3.5 = “tri koma pet.” The fractions in Serbo-Croat are as irregular as in most other languages. A few examples:

$\frac{1}{2}$ polovina trećine četrvina stotinka

References

• 1 Anonymous, Serbo-Croat Phrasebook Bristol: Hadder & Stoughton Ltd. (1982): 77 - 79
• 2 Hania Forss, Polish Phrase Book Lincolnwood: NTC Publishing Group (1996): 114 - 117
• 3 Della Thompson, ed., Oxford Russian Starter Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Title words for numbers in Slavic languages WordsForNumbersInSlavicLanguages 2013-03-22 17:33:04 2013-03-22 17:33:04 PrimeFan (13766) PrimeFan (13766) 8 PrimeFan (13766) Topic msc 00A99