AcademiaAgriculture & FarmingHumanitiesSocial SciencesSTEM

Count from 1 to 10 in 51 Languages

Updated on February 04, 2017
calculus-geometry profile image

TR Smith is a product designer and former teacher who uses math in her work every day.

Going on a trip abroad, and need a crash course in a foreign language? Besides directions, greetings, and emergency phrases, some of the most important words to learn in any language are the numbers from one to ten. While you can communicate numbers by holding up fingers, it's important to also know the words for numbers since you will need to hear them, read them, and say them.

For travelers and the linguistically curious, here is a list of 50 languages and how to count to ten in each of them. Most of these foreign languages are commonly spoken tongues, some are endangered indigenous languages with relatively few speakers, and a few are even dead languages.

(1) Albanian

Albanian is the official language of Albania, but it also has pockets of speakers in other Southeastern European countries as well as the US, Canada, and Australia. It is an Indo-European Language spoken by roughly 7.6 million people throughout the world.

  1. one = një
  2. two = dy
  3. three = tre or tri
  4. four = katër
  5. five = pesë
  6. six = gjashtë
  7. seven = shtatë
  8. eight = tetë
  9. nine = nëntë
  10. ten = dhjetë

(2) Arabic (MSA)

The Arabic language has many spoken dialects that vary from country to country. But Modern Standard Arabic is the universally recognized written and literary form that all speakers of all Arabic dialects know. MSA is most encountered in written form, but is is also the spoken form of Arabic used for broadcasts that reach more than one Arab country. It is also used in formal speeches when the local dialect would not be deemed elegant enough. Combined, all the dialects of Arabic have around 420 million speakers.

Arabic number words and symbols
Arabic number words and symbols
  1. one = waahid
  2. two = itħnaan
  3. three = tħalaatħäh
  4. four = arbarħäh
  5. five = khamsäh
  6. six = sittäh
  7. seven = sabrħäh
  8. eight = tħamaaniyäh
  9. nine = tisrħäh
  10. ten = rħasħräh

Arabic numbers are written out in a different script from the Roman Alphabet, and the glyphs for numbers are different as well.

(3) Basque

Basque is a European language isolate, meaning it does not belong to any known language family, and does not have a genetic relationship to any other language. Its native speakers live in the northeaster part of the boundary between Spain and France. Some attempts have been made to link Basque with other dead language isolates such as Etruscan, Aquitanian, and Iberian. Some linguists have tried to tie it to more distant languages such as those in the spoken in the Caucasus region. The name of the Basque language in Basque is "Euskara" and in Spanish there are many words of Basque origin, such as izquierda (left).

Flag of the Basque autonomous community
Flag of the Basque autonomous community
  1. one = bat
  2. two = bi
  3. three = hiru
  4. four = lau
  5. five = bost
  6. six = sei
  7. seven = zazpi
  8. eight = zortzi
  9. nine = bederatzi
  10. ten = hamar

(4) Bengali

Bengali is one of the most commonly spoken languages in India with about 250 milllion speakers around the world, most of them native speakers in India and Bangladesh. While Bengali is the second most commonly spoken language in India, it is the primary language of Bangladesh, whose name is derived from the Bengal ethnic group. The language of Bengal is written in the Bengali script, which like many Indic scripts is derived from Brahmic. Here are the numbers from 1 - 10 transliterated into the Roman alphabet.

  1. one = æk
  2. two = dui
  3. three = tin
  4. four = char
  5. five = pãch
  6. six = chhôy
  7. seven = shat
  8. eight = at
  9. nine = nôy
  10. ten = dôsh

Bengali also has its own system of writing numbers, distinct from our Arabic numeral system, shown below.

(5) Cherokee

Cherokee is an indigenous language in North America belonging to the Iroquoian language family. Though it has roughly 10,000 to 22,000 native speakers, it is still a healthy language due to the great amount of literature written in Cherokee using the Cherokee script. The language's script is a syllabary developed by Chief Sequoyah, who devised it after having seen Roman, Greek, and Hebrew alphabet letters. In a syllabary, each symbol represents a syllable, rather than a sound as with an alphabet. Sequoyah could not read in any of these languages, thus the sounds of glyphs of the Cherokee script do not correspond to the sounds of similar glyphs in the Roman, Greek, or Hebrew alphabets. Here are the names of the numbers transliterated into English.

Chief Sequoyah and his writing system
Chief Sequoyah and his writing system
  1. one = sowo
  2. two = tali
  3. three = tsoi
  4. four = nvgi
  5. five = hisgi
  6. six = sudali
  7. seven = galiquogi
  8. eight = tsunela
  9. nine = sonela
  10. ten = sgohi

(6) Cree

The Cree dialect continuum is the most commonly spoken indigenous language in Canada. Cree belongs to the Algic language family of North America, in the Algonquian branch. Like Cherokee (which is linguistically unrelated) the Cree language is written in its own script. There are about ten dialects of Cree which are mutually intelligible among the roughly 117,000 fluent speakers. Here are the numbers from one to ten in the Plains Cree dialect transliterated into English

  1. one = pēyak
  2. two = nīso
  3. three = nisto
  4. four = nēwo
  5. five = niyānan
  6. six = nikotwāsik
  7. seven = tēpakohp
  8. eight = ayinānēw
  9. nine = kēka-mitātaht
  10. ten = mitātaht

Below is a sample of Plains Cree written in Cree Syllabics.

(7) Croatian

Croatian is the national language of Croatia with about 5.5 million speakers living in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and surrounding countries. It is an Indo-European language of the Slavic branch, written with the Latin alphabet rather than the Cyrillic alphabet used in Russian and other Slavic languages.

  1. one = jedan
  2. two = dva
  3. three = tri
  4. four = četiri
  5. five = pet
  6. six = šest
  7. seven = sedam
  8. eight = osam
  9. nine = devet
  10. ten = deset

(8) Czech

Czech is Slavic language with about 10 million speakers, most of whom live in the Czech Republic and a lesser number in neighboring Slovakia. Czech is mutually intelligible with Slovak. One of the most famous pieces of Czech literature is the novel Babička, by Božena Němcová.

  1. one = jeden
  2. two = dva
  3. three = tři
  4. four = čtyři
  5. five = pět
  6. six = šest
  7. seven = sedm
  8. eight = osm
  9. nine = devět
  10. ten = deset

(9) Dutch

Dutch is the national language of the Netherlands and one of the closest relatives to English. Due to many similarities in the two languages, Dutch speakers have an easy time learning English. However, because Dutch has slightly more complex grammatical rules than English, English speakers have a little more difficulty learning Dutch. Linguistically, Dutch is "between" English and German. Most of the language's 28 million speakers live in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, with the rest spread out all over the world.

Dutch icons: tulips and windmills
Dutch icons: tulips and windmills
  1. one = één
  2. two = twee
  3. three = drie
  4. four = vier
  5. five = vijf
  6. six = zes
  7. seven = zeven
  8. eight = acht
  9. nine = negen
  10. ten = tien

(10) Esperanto

Esperanto is an invented language developed by L. L. Zemenhof, who constructed it with the hopes of creating an easy-to-learn and politically neutral language for the world. Up to 2 million people world wide are active in the language; perhaps a thousand have spoken it since birth with parents speaking Esperanto at home. Two of the most famous native speakers of Esperanto are George and Paul Soros, the Hungarian-born billionaire brothers.

Ludwik Lazarus Zamenhof
Ludwik Lazarus Zamenhof
  1. one = unu
  2. two = du
  3. three = tri
  4. four = kvar
  5. five = kvin
  6. six = ses
  7. seven = sep
  8. eight = ok
  9. nine = naŭ
  10. ten = dek

(11) Etruscan

Etruscan is a dead language once spoken in Italy. The Etruscans were neighbors of the Latin-speaking Romans, but their languages are completely unrelated, with Etruscan belonging to the Tyrsenian language family, and Latin belonging to the Indo-European family. Some attempts have been made to link it to other isolated languages, but these theoretical linkages are not widely accepted. Much of the ancient Etruscan language is lost, but several hundred words are know with certainty through artifacts such as coins and tablet inscriptions. The script used by the Etruscans was adapted by the Romans to create the now widely used Roman alphabet. Many words we commonly consider to be Latin in origin actually originated with Etruscan, such as "person," "ceremony," "arena," and "satellite."

Ancient Etruscan gold coin
Ancient Etruscan gold coin
  1. one = thu
  2. two = zal
  3. three = ci
  4. four = huth or śa
  5. five = mach
  6. six = huth or śa
  7. seven = semph
  8. eight = czep
  9. nine = nurph
  10. ten = śar

Scholars have not yet figured out which of huth and śa corresponds to four and six.

(12) Finnish

Finnish is one of three non-Indo-European languages spoken in Europe. With Estonian and Hungarian, it is a member of the Uralic family of languages. Uralic languages are also spoken by nomadic Asian and Eurasian hunter-gatherer groups in the far north of Russia and some in central Asia.

  1. one = yksi
  2. two = kaksi
  3. three = kolme
  4. four = neljä
  5. five = viisi
  6. six = kuusi
  7. seven = seitsemän
  8. eight = kahdeksan
  9. nine = yhdeksän
  10. ten = kymmenen

(13) French

French is an Indo-European language in the Romance languages branch. It is the official language not only of France, but of the Canadian province Quebec, and many countries in West Africa. Along with Spanish, French is one of the easiest languages for native English speakers to learn.

  1. one = un
  2. two = deux
  3. three = trois
  4. four = quatre
  5. five = cinq
  6. six = six
  7. seven = sept
  8. eight = huit
  9. nine = neuf
  10. ten = dix

(14) German

German is a member of the Indo-European language family in the Germanic branch, which also includes English, Dutch, and Scandinavian languages (except Finnish). In total, there are 120 million speakers of German world-wide, 35 million of whom know it as a second language. It is the national language of Germany and Austria, and one of four official languages in Switzerland.

  1. one = eins
  2. two = zwei
  3. three = drei
  4. four = vier
  5. five = fünf
  6. six = sechs
  7. seven = sieben
  8. eight = acht
  9. nine = neun
  10. ten = zehn

(15) Greek

Modern Greek is written using the Greek alphabet, the same as ancient Greek. There are about 12 million native speakers of Greek, mostly concentrated in Greece, as well as small pockets in southern Italy, Cyprus, and immigrant groups in North America. There was much borrowing between the ancient Roman and Greek cultures, which is why Latin-influenced languages contain many words of Greek origin, and Greek contains many words of Latin origin.

  1. one = ena = ένα
  2. two = dyo = δυο
  3. three = tria = τρία
  4. four = tessera = τέσσερα
  5. five = pente = πέντε
  6. six = eksi = έξι
  7. seven = epta = επτά
  8. eight = okto = οκτώ
  9. nine = ennea = εννέα
  10. ten = deka = δέκα

Hawaiian

Hawaiian is the native language of the indigenous people of Hawai‘i and is an official language in Hawai‘i alongside English. As part of the Austronesian language family in the Polynesian branch, it is most closely related to Tahitian, Maori, and Samoan, and more distantly related to Malagasy, Tagalog, and Indonesian.

Liliʻuokalani, last monarch of Hawaiʻi
Liliʻuokalani, last monarch of Hawaiʻi

Hawaiian and other Polynesian languages use the apostrophe-like symbol ‘ to represent the glottal stop sound. Though t is properly written as an inverted comma or single quote mark, it can also be transcribed with an apostrophe ' or grave accent mark `.

  1. one = ‘ekahi
  2. two = ‘elua
  3. three = ‘ekolu
  4. four = ‘ehā
  5. five = ‘elima
  6. six = ‘eono
  7. seven = ‘ehiku
  8. eight = ‘ewalu
  9. nine = ‘eiwa
  10. ten = ‘umi

Hebrew

Hebrew is a language in the Afroasiatic family with about 7 million speakers, mostly in Israel and the United States. Arabic is a related language. For many centuries, people stopped using Hebrew as their everyday spoken tongue, though the language survived in writing and religious ceremonies. Then in the 19th century, it was revived as an everyday spoken language once again. The Hebrew language is written in its own alphabet but Modern Hebrew uses Arabic numerals (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 ,9) for numbers. In Hebrew, numbers have masculine and feminine forms depending on what's being counted. For counting in the abstract, the feminine form is usually used.

  1. one = achat = אחת
  2. two = shta-im = שתיים
  3. three = shalosh = שלוש
  4. four = arba = ארבע
  5. five = chamesh = חמש
  6. six = shesh = שש
  7. seven = sheva = שבע
  8. eight = shmone = שמונה
  9. nine = tesha = תשע
  10. ten = eser = עשר

Hindi

Hindi is part of the Indo-European language family and one of the most common mother tongues in India, with about 258 millions reporting it as their native language. Hindi is written in the Devanagari script, an abugida script also used to write Sanskrit. Hindi is mutually intelligible with Urdu (spoke in Pakistan), and in fact, the two are considered to be the same language. The only differences are that Hindi is written in Devanagari while Urdu is written in the Persian script, and that everyday spoken Urdu uses more Persian loanwords. Like many Indian languages, Hindi also uses different symbols for writing the numbers. Here are the Hindi number words transliterated into the Roman alphabet.

  1. one = ēk
  2. two = do
  3. three = teen
  4. four = chaār
  5. five = pānch
  6. six = cha
  7. seven = saāt
  8. eight = āṭh
  9. nine = nau
  10. ten = dus

Below are the numbers 1 - 10 written in Devanagari numerals.

Hungarian

Hungarian is one of three non-Indo-European national languages spoken in Europe, along with Finnish and Estonian. Like Finnish and Estonian, it belongs to the Uralic language family. With around 13 million speakers, Hungarian is mainly spoken in Hungary, but there is also a large group of speakers in Romania.

Flag of Hungary since 1957
Flag of Hungary since 1957
  1. one = egy
  2. two = kettő
  3. three = három
  4. four = négy
  5. five = öt
  6. six = hat
  7. seven = hét
  8. eight = nyolc
  9. nine = kilenc
  10. ten = tíz

Icelandic

Icelandic is the official language of Iceland and is a member of the Indo-European language family, in the Germanic languages branch. Linguistically, Icelandic is similar to Old English, but that doesn't mean it is easy for speakers of Modern English to learn! Icelandic uses the Roman alphabet with diacritics, plus the letters eth ( Ð / ð ) as in "this" and thorn ( Þ / þ ) as in "think."

  1. one = einn
  2. two = tveir
  3. three = þrír
  4. four = fjórir
  5. five = fimm
  6. six = sex
  7. seven = sjö
  8. eight = átta
  9. nine = níu
  10. ten = tíu

Indonesian

Indonesian is the national language of Indonesia and closely related to Malay, the national language of neighboring country Malaysia. The two languages are mutually intelligible; their differences are mostly in spelling and vocabulary. Since Indonesian is a member of the Austronesian family of languages, it is a relative of Tagalog, Hawaiian, Malagasy, Maori and other languages of the Pacific. Indonesian is a particularly rich language with many words and forms borrowed from Arabic (due to the influence of Islam), Dutch (due to colonization), Chinese, Sanskrit, and Portuguese (due to contact with spice traders).

  1. one = satu
  2. two = diga
  3. three = tiga
  4. four = empat
  5. five = lima
  6. six = enam
  7. seven = tujuh
  8. eight = delapan
  9. nine = sembilan
  10. ten = sepulah

Inuktitut

Inuktitut is the name of the language of the Inuit people who live near the arctic circle. Inuktitut is actual a dialect continuum of mutually intelligble dialects across Northern Canada, parts of Alaska, and Greenland. It is one of the official languages of the Canadian territory of Nunavut, and also spoken in parts of Quebec "above the tree line." The Eskimo-Aleut or Eskaleut language family contains Inuktitut, Aleut, Yupik, and Kalaallisut (aka "Greenlandic," the language of Greenland). Some languages related to Yupik are also spoken in pockets in Siberia. The Inuits use a vigesimal or base-20 counting system with sub-bases in 5 and 10. Here is a list of numbers in the South Baffin Dialect

  1. one = atausiq
  2. two = marruuk
  3. three = pingasut
  4. four = tisamat
  5. five = tallimat
  6. six = pingasuujuqtut
  7. seven = tisamaujunngigaaqtut
  8. eight = tisamaujuqtut
  9. nine = quliunngigaaqtut
  10. ten = qulit

Irish

Irish Gaelic is a national language of Ireland alongside English. Although the Irish languages is a compulsory subject for students who wish to enter the national university system, only 1.7 million people can speak Irish with some fluency. Most of the speakers have learned it as a second language, with only about 100,000 to 130,000 speaking it as a first language. As an Indo-European language in the Celtic branch, its closest relatives are Scottish Gaelic and Welsh.

  1. one = aon
  2. two = dó
  3. three = trí
  4. four = ceathair
  5. five = cúig
  6. six = sé
  7. seven = seacht
  8. eight = ocht
  9. nine = naoi
  10. ten = deich

Italian

Italian is a Romance language in the Indo-European family. Its closest relatives are Spanish, Portuguese, French and Romanian.

  1. one = uno
  2. two = duo
  3. three = tre
  4. four = quattro
  5. five = cinque
  6. six = sei
  7. seven = sette
  8. eight = otto
  9. nine = nove
  10. ten = dieci

Japanese

Japanese and the Ryukyuan dialect spoken on the island of Ryukyu are the sole members of the Japonic language family. Many attempts have been made to link Japanese to other language families, such as the Altaic family (which includes Turkish) and the Korean language family. So far these distant connections are not universally accepted among linguists and Japanese is more or less considered a language isolate. The Ainu people, who have lived on the island of Hokkaido since before the ancestors of modern-day Japanese people migrated to the islands, speak the Ainu language, which is also considered a pure isolate.

Japanese is written both in a native syllabary and in Chinese-influenced characters. While the Japanese use Arabic numerals in many contexts, they also use Chinese symbols for numbers. Here are the Japanese names of numbers transliterated into English.

  1. one = ichi
  2. two = ni
  3. three = san
  4. four = shi or yon
  5. five = go
  6. six = roku
  7. seven = sichi or nana
  8. eight = hachi
  9. nine = kyū or ku
  10. ten = jū

(26) K'iche'

K'iche' (spelled Quiché in Spanish-speaking countries) is and was the language of the Mayan tribes who lived on the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico and in Central America. Though there are many dialects and languages in the Mayan family of languages, K'iche' is the variety with the most speakers in modern times. In Guatemala, about 2.3 million are fluent in K'iche'. The most notable work written in the K'iche' Mayan language is Popul Vuh. The ancient Mayans used a base-20 counting system, but today Mayan language speakers use Arabic Numerals like the predominant Spanish-speaking culture. Here are the words for the numbers one through ten in K'iche' transliterated into Spanish. These words should be pronounced as if they were in Spanish.

Mayan numerals 0 - 19
Mayan numerals 0 - 19
  1. one = jun
  2. two = quieb
  3. three = oxib
  4. four = quijeb or cajib
  5. five = job
  6. six = wakib
  7. seven = wukub
  8. eight = wajxakib
  9. nine = belejeb
  10. ten = lajuj

(27) Korean

Korean is like Japanese, a language isolate, meaning it is the sole member of its language family. Though some linguists have attemtped to classify it in larger hypothetical macro-families, these proposals are not widely accepted. Korean is a rich language with many influences from Chinese, Japanese, and English. It is written in a native alphabet called Hangul. What is unique about Hangul is that the alphabet symbols are arranged into blocks to represent syllables, which makes it look as though Korean is written Chinese-style characters or Japanese-style syllabics. Here are the Romanized words for numbers in Korean.

  1. one = hana
  2. two = dul
  3. three = set
  4. four = net
  5. five = daseot
  6. six = yeoseot
  7. seven = ilgop
  8. eight = yeodeol
  9. nine = ahop
  10. ten = yeol

(28) Latin

Latin was the tongue of the Romans and is the parent language of the Romance languages in the Indo-European family of languages. The major Romance languages are Spanish, Italian, French, Romanian, Portuguese, and several minor languages spoken in pockets of countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. Learning Latin provides a great foundation for learning many other languages, even non-Romance languages, since most European languages have borrowed from Latin. English is a prime example of this phenomenon. Besides vocabulary, the Latin alphabet is another feature of Latin that has influenced many more distant languages. Although Latin is a dead language, it is still used as the language of liturgy, and the system of Roman numerals is still used for formal or "fancy" numbering.

  1. one = unus
  2. two = duo
  3. three = tres
  4. four = quattuor
  5. five = quinque
  6. six = sex
  7. seven = septem
  8. eight = octo
  9. nine = novem
  10. ten = decem

(29) Malagasy

Malagasy is the national language of Madagascar and a member of the Austronesian family of languages, which also includes other far-flung island languages such as Tagalog, Indonesian, and Hawaiian. The island's first inhabitants were South Asian peoples of the same racial stock as Pacific Islanders and South Asians. But due to its proximity to Africa, the people of Madagascar today are racially a mixture of black Africans and South Asians. This is similar to how Latin Americans are generally a mixture of indigenous Amerindians and Europeans. Malagasy has many borrowings from Arabic and Bantu languages, as well as from French and English.

  1. one = iray
  2. two = roa
  3. three = telo
  4. four = efatra
  5. five = dimy
  6. six = enino
  7. seven = fito
  8. eight = valo
  9. nine = sivy
  10. ten = folo

(30) Malayalam

Malayalam is a language of India, part of the Dravidian family, and predominantly spoken in the Kerala region of India. Malayalam is related to Tamil and Telugu, two other Dravidian languages. With about 38 million speakers, it is the 11th most commonly spoken language in India. Since about the 9th century AD, Malayalam has been written in a form of the Grantha script. The Malayalam script has 574 characters which represent sounds and syllables. Here is a list of the number words transliterated into English.

  1. one = onnu
  2. two = randu
  3. three = moonnu
  4. four = naalu
  5. five = anchu
  6. six = aaru
  7. seven = eezhu
  8. eight = ettu
  9. nine = onpathu
  10. ten = pathu

(31) Mandarin

Mandarin Chinese is a group of closely related dialects spoken by about 960 million people, mostly in China but also in Chinese ethnic communities around the world. It is a member of the Sino-Tibetan language family, which includes languages spoken in Tibet and Burma. The Beijing dialect is the most influential since it is spoken in the capital region, and is the dialect most often taught to foreigners learning the language. One feature of Mandarin Chinese that makes it difficult to learn as a second language are the tones, or rising and falling pitches, that distinguish words. The Chinese writing system is also a major hurdle in achieving reading fluency. Each character represents a whole word or idea, or often a part of a word. Modern Chinese has over 10,000 characters and an average educated Chinese person knows about 4,000 of them. Here are the number words transliterated using the Pinyin system.

  1. one = yī
  2. two = èr
  3. three = sān
  4. four = sì
  5. five = wǔ
  6. six = liù
  7. seven = qī
  8. eight = bā
  9. nine = jiǔ
  10. ten = shí

Although Arabic numerals are sometimes used in China, they also have their own native system of numbering, which has been adopted by other Asian countries such as Japan. See "Japanese" above.

(32) Nahuatl

Nahuatl was the language of the ancient Aztecs and is still spoken by descendants of the Aztec people in Mexico, the Nahua. Nahuatl is part of the Uto-Aztecan language family of North America and Central America, and is spoken by about 1.5 million Nahua, mainly concentrated in Mexico and El Salvador. The Uto-Aztecan family includes Native American languages in the northern part of the the US, such as Shoshoni. From the pre-contact Aztec civilization to today, Nahuatl has changed under the influence of Spanish, and likewise Mexican Spanish has also been heavily influenced by Nahuatl. Some words of Nahuatl origin are avocado, chocolate, tomato, and coyote. Here are the basic Nahuatl number words transliterated into Spanish. These words should be pronounced as if they were words in Spanish. Like Mayan and other non-related Amerindian languages, Nahuatl uses a base-20 system.

  1. one = ce
  2. two = ome
  3. three = yei
  4. four = nahui
  5. five = macuilli
  6. six = chicuace
  7. seven = chicome
  8. eight = chicuei
  9. nine = chicnahui
  10. ten = mahtlactli

(33) Navajo

Navajo or Navaho, called Diné by its speakers, is one of the few indigenous languages of the Americas whose number of speakers is actually on the rise, thanks to the Navajo Nation's efforts to revitalize the language. Currently there are about 170,000 speakers. Navajo is a member of the Na-Dene language family, which includes at one geographic extreme the Eyak and Tlingit lanugages of Alaska, and at the other extreme the Apache and Chiricahua languages of the Southwest. Navajo has very complex grammar, which makes it more difficult for English-speakers to learn than European languages; it also contains many sounds that do not exist in English. This is generally true of most Native American languages, which makes native language revitalization efforts challenging. During WWII, the US Military recognized the value of Navajo's complexity and used native speakers to transmit undecipherable coded messages. This made Navajo a prestige language and has enticed more people to learn it.

Navajo WWII code talkers above and Navajo nation flag below.

The system of writing Navajo using Latin letters was perfected in 1940. An ogonek (like a reverse cedilla) diacritic mark is placed under vowels to indicate that they are nasalized. The written language also uses apostrophes and barred l's. Here are the numbers one through ten.

  1. one = tʼááłáʼí
  2. two = naaki
  3. three = tááʼ
  4. four = dį́į́ʼ
  5. five = ashdlaʼ
  6. six = hastą́ą́
  7. seven = tsostsʼid
  8. eight = tseebíí
  9. nine = náhástʼéí
  10. ten = neeznáá

Navajo language keyboard
Navajo language keyboard

(34) Persian

Persian is the language of Iran, Afganistan, and Tajikistan, and is a member of the Indo-European language family. Iranians call their language "Farsi," Afgans call it "Dari," and Tajiks call it "Tajiki." Though it is written in an alphabet based on the Arabic script, it is not related to Arabic, however, modern Persian does contain many borrowings from Arabic. Here are the numbers from one to ten transliterated into English.

  1. one = yek
  2. two = do
  3. three = seh
  4. four = chahaar
  5. five = anj
  6. six = shesh
  7. seven = haft
  8. eight = hasht
  9. nine = noh
  10. ten = dah

(35) Polish

Polish is another Indo-European language in the Slavic languages branch. It is written in the Latin alphabet rather than the Cyrillic alphabet in contrast to Russian. Like Navajo, it uses the ogonek and barred l. There are currently about 70 million speakers of Polish, most of who live in Poland, followed by other Eastern European countries and the Polish diaspora in the Americas.

  1. one = jeden
  2. two = dwa
  3. three = trzy
  4. four = cztery
  5. five = pięć
  6. six = sześć
  7. seven = siedem
  8. eight = osiem
  9. nine = dziewięć
  10. ten = dziesięć

(36) Portuguese

Portuguese is a Romance language (and therefore Indo-European lanuage) with about 250 million speakers, most of whom live not in Portugal, but in former Portuguese colony Brazil. It is an official national language in many other former colonies of Portugal, such as Angola, East Timor, Macau, and Mozambique. Portuguese is closely related to and mutually intelligible with Galician, another language spoken on the Iberian peninsula . Portuguese speakers often have no trouble understanding Castillian Spanish; it is a bit harder (though not terribly difficult) for Castillian Spanish speakers to understand Portuguese.

  1. one = um
  2. two = dois
  3. three = três
  4. four = quatro
  5. five = cinco
  6. six = sies
  7. seven = sete
  8. eight = oito
  9. nine = nove
  10. ten = dez

(37) Quechua

Quechua is an indigenous language of Peru and parts of Bolivia and Ecuador. It has about 9 million speakers and is part of the Quechuan language family. The ancient Inca of Peru spoke a Quechuan language, as do their descendants in modern-day Peru. Quechua was originally written in Latin characters with Spanish orthography, but recently a shift was made to change the spellings of Quechuan words to better reflect how they are pronounced. This includes using the letters K and W, which are not normally used in Spanish.

Quechua woman and child
Quechua woman and child
  1. one = huk
  2. two = iksay
  3. three = kimsa
  4. four = pichqa
  5. five = suqta
  6. six = qanchis
  7. seven = pusaq
  8. eight = isqun
  9. nine = chunka
  10. ten = chunka-hukniyuq

(38) Russian

Russian is an Indo-European language of the Cyrillic branch. The Cyrillic alphabet used to write Russian was devised by the monks Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius, borrowing from the Latin and Greek alphabets. Today the Cyrillic script is used to write other languages of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Here are the Russian words for numbers transliterated phonetically into the Latin script along with the original.

  1. one = один = adeen
  2. two = два = dva
  3. three = три = tri
  4. four = четыре = chetyre
  5. five = пять = pyat
  6. six = шесть = shest
  7. seven = семь = sem
  8. eight = восемь = vocem
  9. nine = девять = devyat
  10. ten = десять = desyat

(39) Spanish

Spanish is the second most commonly spoken native language on Earth after Mandarin, with about 470 million native speakers, and about 70 million more who speak it as a second language. To some degree it is mutually intelligible with Portuguese, which makes its reach even greater. Though it is an Indo-European language of the Romance branch, it has many influences from non-Indo-European languages, particularly Arabic, which came to Spain during the Moorish occupation of the Iberian peninsula. In the Americas, where most Spanish speakers live, many everyday vocabulary words are derived from indigenous languages, such as Nahuatl, K'iche' Mayan, and Quechua.

The Alcazaba of Málaga, an example of Moorish architecture in Spain
The Alcazaba of Málaga, an example of Moorish architecture in Spain
  1. one = uno
  2. two = dos
  3. three = tres
  4. four = cuatro
  5. five = cinco
  6. six = seis
  7. seven = siete
  8. eight = ocho
  9. nine = nueve
  10. ten = diez

(40) Swahili

Swahili is a member of the Niger-Congo family of languages in the Bantu languages branch. It is an official language of Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya, but is widely spoken in many other African nations. Though only 15 million people speak Swahili as their native language, about 125 million more speak it as a second language, making it a lingua franca for much of southern and southeastern Africa. In some ways, Swahili is to Africa what English is to India. Today, Swahili is written in the Latin script, which makes it easier for more new speakers to learn.

  1. one = moja
  2. two = mbili
  3. three = tatu
  4. four = nne
  5. five = tano
  6. six = sita
  7. seven = saba
  8. eight = nane
  9. nine = tisa
  10. ten = kumi

(41) Swedish

Swedish is the national language of Sweden, but is also spoken by ethnic Swedes in Finland. Since it is mutually intelligible with Norwegian and Danish and there is a lot of migration among Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, the number of Swedish speakers may be as high as 16 million. Because it is a Germanic language, it is easy to learn Swedish if you already know German.

  1. one = ett
  2. two = två
  3. three = tre
  4. four = fyra
  5. five = fem
  6. six = sex
  7. seven = sju
  8. eight = åtta
  9. nine - nio
  10. ten = tio

(42) Tagalog

Tagalog is the language of the Philippines and is sometimes called Filipino. As a member of the Austronesian language family, it is related to Malay and Indonesian, and more geographically distant languages such as Malagasy, Hawaiian, and the native islander languages of Oceania. Tagalog is one of two official languages of the Philippines, with English being the other. Like Indonesian, it is a particularly rich language with borrowings and loanwords from many other languages such as Malay, Chinese, Arabic, Japanese, English, and most notably Spanish. About 30%-40% of everyday spoken Tagalog consists of words that originate from Spanish! This is due to the heavy influence of Spaniards who traded with and later colonized the Philippines.

  1. one = isa
  2. two = dawala
  3. three = tatlo
  4. four = apat
  5. five = lima
  6. six = anim
  7. seven = pito
  8. eight = walo
  9. nine = siyam
  10. ten = sampu

(43) Tamil

Tamil is a language of India with about 78 million speakers. It is also the national language of Sri Lanka, and an official language of Singapore. Unlike most other Indian Languages, it is not a member of the Indo-European family, but instead of the Dravidian language family, which makes it a relative of Malayalam and Telugu. Tamil is also one of the longest surviving languages in the world; some of the oldest writings in Tamil are over 2000 years old. Though it is currently written in the Tamil script, the language used to be written in Brahmi, Vatteluttu, Grantha, and Pallava. Despite changes in the writing system over the centuries, the language itself has not changed as dramatically as most European languages over the same time period. Here are the numbers from one to ten transliterated into English.

  1. one = oṉṟu = ஒரு
  2. two = iraṇṭu = இரு
  3. three = mūṉṟu = மூன்று
  4. four = nāṉku = நான்கு
  5. five = aintu = ஐந்து
  6. six = āṟu = ஆறு
  7. seven = ēḻu = ஏழு
  8. eight = eṭṭu = எட்டு
  9. nine = oṉpatu = ஒன்பது
  10. ten = pattu = பத்து

(44) Telugu

Telugu is a Dravidian language spoken by 75 million people in India and surrounding islands. It is distantly related to Tamil and Malayalam, two other Dravidian languages of India. Currently the language is written in the Telugu script, which evolved from the Brahmic script. Like Tamil, it is an extremely old language, and it still retains the influence of Sanskrit from centuries ago. Here are the numbers from one to ten transliterated into English.

  1. one = oka = సున్న
  2. two = reṇḍu = రెండు
  3. three = mūḍu = మూడు
  4. four = nālugu = నాలుగు
  5. five = ayidu = అయిదు
  6. six = āru = ఆరు
  7. seven = ēḍu = ఏడు
  8. eight = enimidi = ఎనిమిది
  9. nine = tommidi = తొమ్మిది
  10. ten = padi = పది

(45) Thai

Thai is a member of the Tai-Kadai language family and is the national language of the Kingdom of Thailand, with over 40 million native and non-native speakers. Over the half the language is borrowed from the linguistically unrelated Chinese, Sanskrit, and Mon-Khmer languages. Thai is written in the Thai script, which is derived from the old Khmer script, which in turn was derived from the Brahmic script of India. Lao, the language of Laos, is mutually intelligible with Thai, though the languages are written in slightly different scripts. Here are the numbers from one to ten transliterated into English.

  1. one = nueng
  2. two = song
  3. three = sam
  4. four = si
  5. five = ha
  6. six = hok
  7. seven = chet
  8. eight = paet
  9. nine = kao
  10. ten = sip

Unlike other many languages that use a non-Latin script, the transliteration to Thai into the Roman alphabet is standardized according to the Royal Thai General System of Transcription (RTGS). It is akin to the Pinyin transliteration of Mandarin.

(46) Turkish

Turkish is the national language of Turkey and an official language of Cyprus. It is a member of the Turkic language family with about 71 million speakers. Linguists have long tried to classify Turkish into larger macrofamilies of languages to establish more connections between Turkish and Other languages. One such proposed family is the Altaic language family, which would include Turkic, Tungusic, Mongolic, Korean, and Japanese languages. This classification is not accepted by all linguists. Since 1928, Turkish has been written in the Turkish Alphabet, based on the Latin script. Prior to this it was written in a version of the Arabic script, which did not suitably represent the sounds of Turkish.

  1. one = bir
  2. two = iki
  3. three = üç
  4. four = dört
  5. five = beş
  6. six = altı
  7. seven = yedi
  8. eight = sekiz
  9. nine = dokuz
  10. ten = on

(47) Ukrainian

Ukrainian is a Slavic language with about 30 million native speakers. It is a Slavic language that uses the Cyrillic script, which makes it more difficult for English speakers to learn than Slavic languages that use the Latin script, such as polish and Czech. Because Ukrainian shares most of its vocabulary with Russian and Belarusian, it is mutually intelligible with these languages to some extent. Here are the Ukrainian numbers from one to ten transliterated into English.

Ukrainian decorated eggs
Ukrainian decorated eggs
  1. one = один = odin
  2. two = два = dva
  3. three = три = tri
  4. four = чотири =chotyry
  5. five = п'ять = pyat
  6. six = шість = sheest
  7. seven = сім = sim
  8. eight = вісім = visim
  9. nine = дев'ять = devyat
  10. ten = це = tse

(48) Vietnamese

Vietnamese is spoken by about 75 million people in Vietnam and in ethnic Vietnamese communities around the world. It is part of the Mon-Khmer language family, which also includes Khmer, the language of Cambodia. Though it has many borrowings from Chinese and is a tonal language, it is not related to Chinese. The script used to write Vietnamese is the Latin alphabet but with the addition of extra letters and a lot of diacritical marks. This is an improvement over the old system of using Chinese characters.

Typical Vietnamese noodle soup
Typical Vietnamese noodle soup
  1. one = một
  2. two = hai
  3. three = ba
  4. four = bốn
  5. five = năm
  6. six = sáu
  7. seven = bảy
  8. eight = tám
  9. nine = chín
  10. ten = mười

(49) Welsh

Welsh is a Celtic language spoken in Britain and part of the Indo-European family of languages. It is also known as Cambrian. Although there are less than 1 million speakers of Welsh worldwide, and only 22% of the population knows Welsh, Welsh is an official language of Wales and all official documents, road signs, etc are printed in both Welsh and English. Written Welsh is notable for using "w" as a vowel, as in the word "crwth," a type of violin.

  1. one = un
  2. two = dau / dwy
  3. three = tri / tair
  4. four = pedwar / pedair
  5. five = pum(p)
  6. six = chwe(ch)
  7. seven = saith
  8. eight = wyth
  9. nine = naw
  10. ten = deg

(50) Xhosa

Xhosa is a language of the Niger-Congo family in the Bantu branch. Bantu languages are spoken throughout southern Africa, and Xhosa is one of the official languages of South Africa. Like Mandarin Chinese, Xhosa uses tones, or rising and falling pitches, to distinguish words. And due to the influence of neighboring peoples, Xhosa also has click consonants, something that is not a universal feature of Bantu languages. Written in the Latin alphabet, click sounds are represented by the letters c, q and x. Xhosa has about 8 million speakers.

Xhosa children
Xhosa children
  1. one = nye
  2. two = mbini
  3. three = ntathu
  4. four = ne
  5. five = ntlanu
  6. six = ntandathu
  7. seven = xhenxe
  8. eight = bhozo
  9. nine = lithoba
  10. ten = lishuymi

(51) Yoruba

Yoruba is a West African language spoken in Benin and Nigeria and is part of the Niger-Congo family of languages, which also includes Swahili, distantly related to Yoruba. Languages in the Niger-Congo family are notable for their noun-class systems. About 28 million people speak Yoruba, most as their first language.

  1. one = eni
  2. two = eja
  3. three = eta
  4. four = erin
  5. five = arun
  6. six = efa
  7. seven = eje
  8. eight = ejo
  9. nine = esan
  10. ten = ewa

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 2 years ago from California

      Amazing, absolutely amazing the research you put into this. I tried to learn to count in Yupik this summer. Wasn't very successful. Maybe next year. Very interesting to learn Yupik has sister dialects in Russia, but not surprising. The Yupik on Saint Lawrence Island are only about twelve miles from Russia. It was almost dead in Alaska, until they began to teach it in schools.

      Very interesting how so many languages have similar number systems.

    • calculus-geometry profile image
      Author

      TR Smith 2 years ago from Eastern Europe

      It's amazing how linguists can analyze grammar, vocabulary, and sound patterns to tell if languages are related, and to use these connections to deduce the migration patterns of ancient humans. Thanks for reading!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

      So interesting--a neat read for any word lover.

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 2 years ago from London UK

      Amazing! I wish I could get my head around the pronunciation of these words! Very interesting hub

    Click to Rate This Article