Tatari Faran Grammar

Numbers and Quantifiers


Tatari Faran uses a number system based on base-5 counting. There are 5 sets of number words, each of which consists of multiples of a power of 5. These are combined to refer to numbers in between.

Base numbers

The following table shows the first set of numbers. Many of these number words are derived from nouns which serve as a mnemonic for their value:

jiras1jiri a finger
bunas2bunai two thumbs
pikas5pika a hand

These are the multiples of 1 (50).

The next set of numbers are multiples of 5:

(pikas)(5)(pika) (a hand)
heibikas10he- + pika hands (i. e., two hands)
dibikas15di'as + pika 3 hands
kuanas20kuana a family
meijas25meija a bunch

We have repeated pikas here, because it is the first multiple of 5.

The third set are multiples of 25 (52). Again, we repeat the last member of the previous set, since it coincides with the first multiple of 25.

(meijas)(25)(meija) (a bunch)
hujas50hujai a sackful
teri'as75teri'an a crowd
tan'as100tan'at an assembly
titiras125titiran many

The fourth set are multiples of 125 (53):

(titiras)(125) (titiran)(many)
heiniras250- possible portamenteau of he- + titiras?

Finally, the last set consists of multiples of 625 (55):

heiranas1875- These seem to be analogies of heiniras and keiniras
fiiranas3125fii + -ranas reaching the sky

Compound numbers

Since each of the basic numbers shown in the above tables are formed from different stems, they can be unambiguously combined to refer to numbers that are not multiples of a power of 5. The trailing -s is dropped from all but the last word in the compound. The order of combination is from least-significant to most-significant. For example:

jirapikas = 1 + 5 = 6

bunapikas = 2 + 5 = 7

di'apikas = 3 + 5 = 8

ni'apikas = 4 + 5 = 9

Combining a number stem with itself is not allowed, so one cannot say *pikapikas to refer to 10; rather, one uses the next multiple of 5: heibikas. Thereafter, the smaller numbers are combined with heibikas to count past 10:

jiraheibikas = 1 + 10 = 11

bunaheibikas = 2 + 10 = 12

And so forth, until one reaches 15, where dibikas is used as the basis for counting up to the next multiple of 5:

dibikas = 15

jiraribikas = 1 + 15 = 16

bunaribikas = 2 + 15 = 17

Note the spelling rule that the phoneme /d/ is spelled r when medial, hence jira(s) + dibikas = jiraribikas.

Once one reaches multiples of 25, more than two number stems may be combined. For example:

hujas = 50

heibikahujas = 10 + 50 = 60

jiraheibikahujas = 1 + 10 + 50 = 61

bunaheibikahujas = 2 + 10 + 50 = 62

And so forth.

It should be noted that the values given for these number words are precise only when used in calculations. The number words themselves, especially the base number words, are often used only approximately in casual speech. Compound numbers, especially those that are precise to the unit, are usually only used when doing calculations. Short compounds of large numbers (e. g., heibikahujas) may also used in an approximate sense in casual speech.


Cardinals are numbers used to refer to the quantity of a noun referent. There are two types of cardinals: the indefinite cardinal, and the definite cardinal.

Indefinite cardinals are used with nouns that refer to things that have not yet been introduced in the conversation. Indefinite cardinals are formed by placing a number in the adjectival position. For example:

san jiras.
One man.

bunari di'as.
Three women.

kiran heibikas.
Ten young men.

Definite cardinals are used to refer to things that have already been introduced in the conversation. They are formed by placing the partitive case of the noun being modified in the adjectival position of the number:

jiras sanis.
One of the men.

di'as bunaris.
Three of the women.
Or, the three women.

heibikas kiranis.
Ten of the young men.
Or, the ten young men.

Note that although the literal meaning of the partitive case is a subset of the noun referent, definite cardinals can refer to the entire set of referents as well. For example, di'as bunaris literally means “three of the women”, but it may simply mean the three women if there are only three women mentioned previously.


Ordinals are numbers that refer to one of an ordered sequence of noun referents. There are two ways of forming ordinals in Tatari Faran.

The first way is to use a number with the postposition te':

san jiras te'.
The first man.

diru bunas te'.
The second girl.

The second way is to use the compositive form of the numbers:

san ijirasan.
The best (number one) man.

diru ibunasan.
The second best girl.

The difference between these two forms is that the first is used for ranking in an arbitrary sequence (e. g., the second girl on my right—she just happens to be the second in line), whereas the second is used for ranking in terms of quality or achievement (the girl who came second in the race—she is the second-best in ability, not just because she happens to be standing second in line).


The number words may also be used with the postpositional adverb me to indicate repetition:

jiras me.

bunas me.

banta jiras me.
Jump once.

banta di'as me.
Jump three times.

tara' kei tsana bunas me huu na aniin.
She spoke to me twice.


Quantifiers are a general class of words in Tatari Faran that includes the cardinal numbers. There are also other, non-numerical, quantifiers, which can be used in the same fashion as the cardinals.

Indefinite quantifiers are formed just like indefinite cardinals, by placing the quantifier in adjectival position:

san meija.
Many people.

san bara.
Some people.

Definite quantifiers are formed just like definite cardinals, by placing the partitive case of the noun after the number:

meija sanis.
Many of the people.
(Or, the many people.)

bara sanis.
The rest of the people.

Last updated 09 Apr 2007.

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