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Lesson 55: Numbers, Part 2

This lesson is actually more about some number-related idioms than any new grammatical features of Láadan. The vocabulary section of the lesson will, therefore, be atypical; no list of words will be presented; rather, we’ll see instructions on how to apply the various models addressed.

Vocabulary

Fractions

This one is, actually, a new vocabulary item. To form a fraction, we insert the infix “–yi–” between the numerator (the top number) and the denominator (the bottom number). So, one-half would be nedeyishin [nede (one) + –yi– (fraction) + shin (two)]. Similarly, two-thirds would be shineyiboó [shin (two) + –yi– (fraction) + boó (three)].

Bíi thi le thuzheth nedeyishin wa.

I have half a cake.

Interrogative Quantifier

We’ve had occasion to notice the lack of any mechanism to ask “How many...?” We now have one: lamiba (interrogative quantifier) [lami (number) + –ba (interrogative inspired by “báa”)]. It is used just like any other quantifier, but rather than meaning “several” or “many” or “all,” “lamiba” means “how many”—of course, it’s used only in interrogative settings.

Báa thi ne thuzheth lamiba?

How much(many) cake(s) do you have?

Ordinal Numbers

Ordinal numbers (in English, “first,” “second,” “third,” etc.) are formed in Láadan by adding “–ya” (the Time case suffix) to a number. In English, it’s always best to be first; to be second is not nearly so good (the English idioms “second-best,” “second-rate,” “second fiddle,” and “second-class,” among a host of others, all illustrate this), and to be third is to be woefully deficient. In Láadan, on the other hand, “nedeya” simply means the first in time; it carries no “baggage” of “best,” “most proficient,” “most laudable.” And “shineya,” “boóya,” and so on, carry none of the inverse baggage of “lacking,” or “deficient.”

Bée thi ne thuzheth nedeya wa.

[warning] You have the first cake.

Frequency Numbers

We’ve seen the idioms “hath nedebe” (seldom) and “hath menedebe” (often). Well, if we want to speak or write about “once” meaning “on one occasion” in Láadan, we can use the same structure: “hath nede.” Likewise, “twice” meaning “on two occasions” becomes “hath shin.” And “thrice” or “three times” meaning “on three occasions” is “hath boó.” This can continue through all the numbers and quantifiers all the way to “hath woho” (each time; on every occasion). We could, of course, also pose the question “how often” meaning “on how many occasions” with the phrase “hath lamiba”.

Bíi eril thi le thuzheth hath shin sháaleya eril wa.

I had cake twice yesterday.

Factors of Comparison

[(Aux) + hesho [verb:surpass] + (Neg) + Subject + (#nal)]

A very different use of the English words “twice” or “thrice” or “three times” or their ilk is in comparisons, to mean “double” or “treble/triple.” The idiom above, “hath #” (on # occasions), is not appropriate for this use. There is another idiom altogether that fills this need, which would be used in the explicit comparison structure—the one that uses “hesho” (to surpass, in comparisons).

The new element in this structure is #nal (factor of surpassing) [# (a number word or quantifier) + –nal (Manner case)]. The use of the Manner case on the number is saying that the one that surpasses does so two-ly/twofold” (shinenal) or three-ly/threefold” (boónal) or “fourly/four-fold (bimenal)—or, indeed, several-ly/several-fold (nedebenal) or many-ly/manifold” (menedebenal).

Bíi methi le i ne thuzheth; hesho le shinenal wa.

I have twice as much cake as you do.

Examples

Báa eril yod Méri doyuth lamiba?

How many apples did Mary eat?

Bíi eril yod be doyuth boóyibim neda wa.

She only ate three quarters of an apple.

Bíi eril yod le doyuth nede i nedeyishin wa.

I ate an apple and half.

Báa eril yod Méri doyuth bethoth nedeya e shineya?

Did Mary eat her apple first or second?

Bíi eril yod Méri doyu bethoth nedeya; yod le shineya wa.

Mary ate her apple first; I ate second.

Báa yod ne doyuth hath lamiba?

How often (on how many occasions) do you eat apples?

Bíi yod le doyuth hath menedebe; eril yod le doyuth hath bim sháaleya eril wa.

I eat apples often; I ate apples four times yesterday.

Bíi eril meyod Méri i le doyuth; hesho le wa.

I ate more apple than Mary.

Báa hesho ne lamibanal?

How much more?

Bíi hesho le shinenal wa.

Twice as much.

Exercises

Translate the following into English.

1  

Bíi háya sháal ril i háya sháal eril; hesho sháal ril menedebenal wa.

2  

Báa thi ni háawitheth lamiba?

3  

Bíi wéedan Bétheni áabeth hi hath menedebe; dódelishe woshaneya wowud bath hath woho wáa.

4  

Bíi eril ban hothul letha dalathameth ledi; yod le bineth nede i shineyiboó wa.

5  

Bíi eril mesháad le i lan letho shan elaheladi sháal shin eril; nosháad Máyel batheya wa.

6  

Bíi mesho rul i omid; hesho omid wi; báa hesho omid lamibanal?

7  

Báa mahinin Mázhareth hath nede sháaleya woho?

8  

Bóo dóham ne womileth duneha wohiwetha wonedeyishin; bíi ham ede wohiwetho wonedeyishineha wa.

9  

Bíi Alel wonedeya wohathóol i Adol woshinethabeya wohathóol wi; báa Athil wolamibaya wohathóol?

10  

Bíi merahíya áwith i with; hesho with thabeshin i shanenal wa.

Translate the following into Láadan.

11  

Each year the farmer uses only six-sevenths of his fields.

12  

If Monday is the first day of the week, then which is Wednesday?

13  

Anthony attends church three times each week.

14  

February is half-again as cold as November.

15  

How many times did the filly eat yesterday?

16  

Many flowers bloomed last spring; the jonquils bloomed first.

17  

Thunder is many times as loud as the wind.

18  

The drinker drank three-fifths of the coffee that was in the cup [I dreamed].

19  

Steven knows how much fruit the tortoise ate.

20  

Will Elizabeth fast eight times this year?

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Answers

1  

Today is many times more beautiful than yesterday.

2  

How many children do you (honored) have?

3  

Bethany reads this book often; the fifth part makes her (beloved) cry every time.

4  

My grandmother gave me berries; I ate a bowl and two-thirds.

5  

Five friends of mine and I went to the celebration day before yesterday (two days ago); Michael arrived sixth.

6  

A horse is clearly heavier than a cat; by how much?

7  

Does Margaret cook once each day?

8  

Prithee put (cause to be present/cause there to be) the livestock in the left half of the field; there’s grain in the right half.

9  

January is the first month and December is the twelfth month, obviously; which month is April?

10  

A person is twenty-five times as large as an infant.

 

11  

Bíi duth ábedá dun betho(th) batheyihum neda hathóolethameya woho wáa.

12  

Báa bre Henesháal wonedeya wosháal híyahathethu, ébre Hunesháal lamibaya?

13  

Bíi ham Ánetheni áathameha hath boó híyahatheya woho wáa.

14  

Bíi merahowa Ayáanin i Athon; hesho Ayáanin boóyishinenal (—or—nede i nedeyishinenal) wa.

15  

Báa eril yod háahomid hath lamiba sháaleya eril?

16  

Bíi eril memahina mahina menedebe wemeneya eril; memahina léeli nedeya wa.

17  

Bíi mezho yul i lorolo; hesho lorolo menedebenal wa.

18  

Bíi eril rilin ranahá ham yob nihasháa(th) boóyishan we.

19  

Bíi lothel Thíben eril yod balinemid yuth lamibahée wáa.

20  

Báa aril dod Elízhabeth hath nib hathóolethameya ril?

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