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Ojebway Language:

A Manual for missionaries
and others employed among the Ojebway Indians
by Edward F. Wilson, 1874



The Cardinal Numbers
Numeral Affixes
The Ordinal Numbers



We shall have some little difficulty with the numerals, and perhaps require a little extra patience. First, we have the simple cardinal numbers, one, two, three, four, &c., and then slight modification of these numbers must take place to fit them for use in composition, and then again must certain tiresome little particles be added to them to indicate the character of the object specified: thus, ishwáuswe, is eight. In composition, this changes to ishwáuso; then, if we are speaking of globular objects, we must say ishwáusomenug. So to express correctly in Ojebway eight apples, we must not say ishwáuswe meshémenug, but ishwáusomenug meshémenug. The advantage, however is, that if apples are present while speaking, or there appears any obvious reason for our alluding to that fruit, we may drop the word apples, and simply use ishwáusomenug; which same word, if used while passing through a turnip field, would obviously mean eight turnips. In like manner there are other particles which denote metal, wood, canoes, bagfuls, handfuls, &c., &c.

We will now give the simple cardinal numbers, and allude again presently to these somewhat perplexing terminations:

  Simple In Composition   Simple
1 pázhig ningo, or ningotoo- 21 neezhtuhnuh 'zhe pazhig
2 neezh neezho- 22 neezhtuhnuh 'zhe neezh
3 neswé neso- 23 neezhtuhnuh 'zhe neswe
4 néewin neeö- 24 neezhtuhnuh 'zhe neewin
5 naáhnun nahno- 30 nesémeduhnuh
6 ningodwáuswe ningodwauso- 40 néemeduhnuh
7 néezhwahswe neezhwauso- 50 náhnemeduhnuh
8 ishwáhswe ishwauso- 60 ningodwáusemeduhnuh
9 sháunguswe shaunguso- 70 neezhwáusemeduhuh
10 medáhswe medauso- 80 ishwáusemeduhnuh
11 medahswe 'zhe pazhig medahswe 'zhe ningo- 90 sháugusemeduhnuh
12 medahswe 'zhe neezh medahswe 'zhe neezho- 100 ningodwáuk
13 medahswe 'zhe neswe medahswe 'zhe neso- 101 ningodwauk 'zhe pazhig
14 medahswe 'zhe neewin medahswe 'zhe neeö- 110 ningodwauk 'zhe medahswe
15 medahswe 'zhe nahnun medahswe 'zhe nahno- 120 ningodwauk 'zhe neezhtuhnuh
16 medahswe 'zhe ningodwauswe medahswe 'zhe ningodwauso- 200 neezhwauk
17 medahswe 'zhe neezhwauswe medahswe 'zhe neezhwauso- 300 néswauk
18 medahswe 'zh' ishwauswe medahswe 'zhe ishwauso- 1,000 medauswauk
19 medahswe 'zhe shaunguswe medahswe 'zhe shaunguso- 10,000 medahching medauswauk
20 néezhtuhnuh neezhtuhnuh dusso-    

Note. - All numbers above 20 have marely dusso added in composition. 'Zhe is the contradiction of the conjunction uhzhe.

Numeral Affixes.

-menúg, singifies globular objects. Thus five turnips, nahnomenug cheesug; fifty seeds, nahnemedahnuh dussómenug menekáunun.

-nug, canoes, boats, &c. Thus: twenty canoes, neezhtuhnuh dussonug cheemáunun.

-shk, breadths of cloth, &c. Thus: two breadths of flannel, neezhooshk wahbeeginoon.

-óoshkin, bags-full. Thus: two bags-full, neezhooshkin; one hundred bags-full, ningodwauk dassooshkin.

-sug, wooden vessels, barrels, boxes, &c. Thus: thirty barrels, nesemeduhnuh dussosug; half a barrel (or box), ahbettuhwesug.

-wáhbik, metal, stone, glass, &c. Thus: thirty pieces of silver, nesemeduhnuh dusswuhbik shooneyah. Two dollars, neezhwáhbik.

-wáhtig, wood, or lumber. Thus: twenty-two planks, neezhtuhnuh 'zhe neezh dussowahtig nuhbuggesugoog.

-wag, cloth, &c. Thus: twelve pocket-handkerchiefs, medahswe 'zhe neezhwag mooshwag.

-wáwaun, pair, couple, yoke. Thus: three pair of chicken, neswawaun puhkuhuhquayag.

Note. - There are many other similar numeral endings, as goon, days; góonuhgeze, day's old; 'zid, feet; ninj, inches; bonekun, handsful, &c., &c.; but all will be found under their proper heads in the Dictionary, and the above are given as examples of the principal ones.

For the verbal use of Numerals, see one, two, three, &c., in the Dictionary.

The Ordinal Numbers.

1st netúm, or nátumesing 18th ako 'zh' ishwauching.
2nd ako-néezhing 19th ako 'zhe shaunguching
3rd ako-nesíng 20th ako neezhtuhnuhwag
4th ako-néewing 21st ako neezhtuhnuh 'zhe pazhig
5th ako-náhning 22nd ako neezhtuhnuh 'zhe neezhing
6th ako-nindogwáuching 23rd ako neezhtuhnuh 'zhe nesing
7th ako-néezhwauching 24th ako neezhtuhnuh 'zhe neewing
8th ako-ishwáuching 30th ako nesemeduhnuhwag
9th ako-sháunguching 40th ako néemeduhnuhwag
10th ako-medáuching 50th ako nahnemeduhnuhwag
11th ako-'zhe pázhig 60th ako ningoodwáusemeduhnuhwag
12th ako-'zhe néezhing 70th ako néezhwauseméduhnuhwag
13th ako-'zhe nésing 100th ako ningodwáukwuk
14th ako-'zhe néewing 101st ako ningodwáukwuk 'zhe pázhig
15th ako-'zhe náhning 110th ako ningodwáuk 'zhe medáhching
16th ako-'zhe ningodwáuching 200th ako neezhwáukwuk
17th ako-'zhe néezhwauching 1000th ako medáuswáukwuk

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