Numerals or How to write a cheque in Gaelic

O Goireasan Akerbeltz
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Gearr leum gu: seòladh, lorg

Numbers ... yes, oh what joy, but there's no avoiding them. There are three sets of numbers in Gaelic, just to keep life interesting, plus an old 'new way' they've dug up to make mathematics 'easier' for children in Gaelic Medium Education.

The first set of numbers is the "basic" set of numbers, the one you use for counting things. The second set is used if you're simply counting or giving a phone number, and the third for counting people which is the same in both systems. Because we do not have the same space restrictions as books have, we're going to give you both systems up to a hundred. The traditional shows first, the new old system shows further down, and then come plenty of examples above 100. Because we'll need to explain a few things half way, and again, we've made a break after the 10's and the 20's, stuck in the explanations at those breaks, and then continue with 11/31, etc. There are two examples for each number, one for masculine and one for feminine nouns.

Zero to ten

counting cardinal numbers
(one beak, two beaks ...)
ordinal numbers
(first, second ...)
0 a neoini neoini gob
neoini bròg
1 a h-aon aon ghob (m)
aon bhròg (f)
a' chiad ghob
a' chiad bhròg
2 a dhà dà ghob
dà bhròig
an dàrna gob
an dàrna bròg
3 a trì trì guib
trì brògan
an treas gob
an treas bròg
4 a ceithir ceithir guib
ceithir brògan
an ceathramh gob
a' cheathramh bròg
5 a cóig cóig guib
cóig brògan
an cóigeamh gob
a' chóigeamh bròg
6 a sia sia guib
sia brògan
an siathamh gob
an t-siathamh bròg
7 a seachd seachd guib
seachd brògan
an seachdamh gob
an t-seachdamh bròg
8 a h-ochd ochd guib
ochd brògan
an t-ochdamh gob
an ochdamh bròg
9 a naoidh naoidh guib
naoidh brògan
an naoidheamh gob
an naoidheamh bròg
10 a deich deich gob
deich bròg
an deicheamh gob
an deicheamh bròg

Notes

Fun, isn't it? It's going to get even better ... but first the footnotes:

1) Aon and dà lenite the following consonant but keep in mind the rule about blocked lenition. If the noun is followed by adjectives, dà lenites these as well e.g. dà thaigh mhór bhrèagha.

2) Dà is not followed by the plural, but what appears to be the singular. Yet again, this is not as bizarre as it may sound. Old Irish had something called the 'dual', a special number for counting things that presented in the number two. The dual forms looked very similar to the singular. So, when the dual case went out the window, pairs of things were grouped with the singular, in grammatical terms anyway. The only reminder of this not being the singular case, but something else, is seen with feminine nouns which slenderise after dà i.e. dà bhròig. Today, this is mostly restricted to written Gaelic - but not restricted to such a degree that you'll sound odd if you use it in spoken Gaelic, so the choice is yours. Dà also lenites adjectives following a noun regardless of its gender, but it does not slenderise, for example, dà ghob mhór, dà bhròig mhór. If the numeral phrase is in the dative or genitive, the adjectives decline normally, thus: leis an dà ghob mhór, leis an dà bhròig mhóir and an dà ghuib mhóir, an dà bhròige móire. Notice that an is used in the genitive with feminine nouns rather than na.

3) When preceded by a, dà changes to a dhà. Notwithstanding, you'll hear people say things like dhà chù. Also, a prefixes h- to the numbers beginning with a vowel, thus you get a h-aon and a h-ochd.

4) The singular is used with dusan, fichead, multiples of fichead, ceud and mìle, millean etc. The singular is also used with measures such as length and monetary units such as mìle, tròigh, pùnnd, clach. With sgillinn, the singular is used but it's not used with not, a 'pound', which takes the plural, notaichean...
Bliadhna, which actually IS an old plural form, also does not change when counting, even though you say things like bliadhnaichean air ais 'years ago'. Other time terms take the plural just as other nouns e.g. uairean, mionaidean, seachdainnean ...

5) Remember to lenite your adjectives after a masculine noun that pluralises by slenderisation, for example, seachd craobhan móra but seachd guib mhóra.

6) Instead of aon, aonan can be used in an emphatic sense, for example, có mheud a bha ann? Aonan!! 'How many were there? One!!'. Alternatively, you could answer Dìreach aon!

7) The ordinal numbers obey the rules for case according to gender i.e. prefix t- in front of s, nothing before vowels for feminine nouns, and t- before vowels for masculine nouns. However, a' chiad is always a' chiad. It's an anomaly, because the a' always lenites chiad, whatever the gender of the following noun, for example, a' chiad bhròg and a' chiad taigh. One would except *an ciad taigh, but that never happens.

Deug lenites after feminine nouns as if it were an adjective. Adjectives themselves behave "normally" as if it were a simple noun phrase i.e. an t-siathamh bhròg mhór dheug 'the 16th big shoe' or air an t-siathamh bhròig mhóir dheug 'on the 16th big shoe'. Also note that a' cheathramh never lenites.

8) Instead of aonamh you will see a number of variations such as aon and aona. Some people always prefer to use a' chiad instead of aonamh. Similarly, tritheamh is a variant of treas, as is dara of dàrna. They behave the same way, meaning nothing happens, so you can have an dàrna/dara taigh/cas, or an treas/tritheamh taigh/cas. However, we recommend the use of the system outlined here.

9) Ordinal numbers are "abbreviated" as follows: a' chiad » 1d; an dàrna » 2na; an treas » 3as and over that, -(e)amh (ceathreamh, còigeamh, siathamh...). Above 20, however, 1d becomes 1mh because it changes from a' chiad to an aonamh.

10) a' chiad becomes na ciad in phrases like na ciad eòin 'the first birds', similarly na dàrna, na treas etc. Ordinal numbers can also be lenited, for example, by the possessive pronouns do dhàrna bean 'your second wife'.

11) There is a strong tendency in the spoken language to neutralise the masc/fem distinction if a numeral occurs between the definite article and the thing being counted. In other words, lots of people say an aonamh gob deug instead of an t-aonamh gob deug.

OK, enough footnotes ... here are the numbers up to 30

Eleven to thirty

counting cardinal numbers
(one beak, two beaks ...)
ordinal numbers
(first, second ...)
11 a h-aon deug aon ghob deug
aon bhròg dheug
an t-aonamh gob deug
an aonamh bròg dheug
12 a dhà dheug dà ghob deug
dà bhròig dheug
an dàrna gob deug
an dàrna bròg dheug
13 a trì deug trì guib dheug
trì brògan deug
an treas gob deug
an treas bròg dheug
14 a ceithir deug ceithir guib dheug
ceithir brògan deug
an ceathramh gob deug
a' cheathramh bròg dheug
15 a cóig deug cóig guib dheug
cóig brògan deug
an cóigeamh gob deug
a' chóigeamh bròg dheug
16 a sia deug sia guib dheug
sia brògan deug
an siathamh gob deug
an t-siathamh bròg dheug
17 a seachd deug seachd guib dheug
seachd brògan deug
an seachdamh gob deug
an t-seachdamh bròg dheug
18 a h-ochd deug ochd guib dheug
ochd brògan deug
an t-ochdamh gob deug
an ochdamh bròg dheug
19 a naoi deug naoidh guib dheug
naoidh brògan deug
an naoidheamh gob deug
an naoidheamh bròg dheug
20 fichead fichead gob
fichead bròg
am ficheadamh gob
an fhicheadamh bròg
21 a h-aon ar fhichead aon ghob ar fhichead
aon bhròg ar fhichead
an t-aonamh gob ar fhichead
an aonamh bròg ar fhichead
22 a dhà ar fhichead dà ghob ar fhichead
dà bhròig ar fhichead
an dàrna gob ar fhichead
an dàrna bròg ar fhichead
23 a trì ar fhichead trì guib ar fhichead
trì brògan ar fhichead
an treas gob ar fhichead
an treas bròg ar fhichead
24 a ceithir ar fhichead ceithir guib ar fhichead
ceithir brògan ar fhichead
an ceathramh gob ar fhichead
a' cheathramh bròg ar fhichead
25 a cóig ar fhichead cóig guib ar fhichead
cóig brògan ar fhichead
an cóigeamh gob ar fhichead
a' chóigeamh bròg ar fhichead
26 a sia ar fhichead sia guib ar fhichead
sia brògan ar fhichead
an siathamh gob ar fhichead
an t-siathamh bròg ar fhichead
27 a seachd ar fhichead seachd guib ar fhichead
seachd ar fhichead
an seachdamh gob ar fhichead
an t-seachdamh bròg ar fhichead
28 a h-ochd ar fhichead ochd guib ar fhichead
ochd brògan ar fhichead
an t-ochdamh gob ar fhichead
an ochdamh bròg ar fhichead
29 a naoidh ar fhichead naoidh guib ar fhichead
naoidh ar fhichead
an naoidheamh gob ar fhichead
an naoidheamh bròg ar fhichead
30 a deich ar fhichead fichead gob deug
fichead bròg dheug
am ficheadamh gob deug
an fhicheadamh bròg dheug

Notes

1) Where to start? Slightly contrary to current usage (and of course GOC), we've used ar instead of air. Actually the Gaelic way of saying thirty etc. is not <ten on twenty> but <ten over twenty> - deich thar fhichead, with thar shortened to ar. OK, it still doesn't really explain the lenition, but it does explain why many people pronounce air as /ar/ rather than /ɛrʲ/ in this situation. Some people do pronounce it with a slender r, probably because of seeing it written air all the time.

2) Note that the nouns lenite the numbers as if they were adjectives - so bròg being feminine lenites deug and guib lenites deug because it is an indefinite masculine noun which forms its plural by slenderisation. Don't you just love it?

3) Full multiples of twenty are not preceded by a when counting, thus a deich, but fichead, and fichead is a deich, but dàichead.

OK, you're bursting for more, yes?

Thirty to 100+

counting cardinal numbers
(one beak, two beaks ...)
ordinal numbers
(first, second ...)
31 a h-aon deug ar fhichead aon ghob deug ar fhichead
aon bhròg dheug ar fhichead
an t-aonamh gob deug ar fhichead
an aonamh bròg dheug ar fhichead
32 a dhà dheug ar fhichead dà ghob dheug ar fhichead
dà bhròig dheug ar fhichead
an dàrna gob deug ar fhichead
an dàrna bròg dheug ar fhichead
33 a trì deug ar fhichead trì guib dheug ar fhichead
trì brògan deug ar fhichead
an treas gob deug ar fhichead
an treas bròg dheug ar fhichead
34 a ceithir deug ar fhichead ceithir guib dheug ar fhichead
ceithir brògan deug ar fhichead
an ceathramh gob deug ar fhichead
a' cheathramh bròg dheug ar fhichead
35 a cóig deug ar fhichead cóig guib dheug ar fhichead
cóig brògan deug ar fhichead
an cóigeamh gob deug ar fhichead
a' chóigeamh bhròg dheug ar fhichead
36 a sia deug ar fhichead sia guib dheug ar fhichead
sia brògan deug ar fhichead
an siathamh gob deug ar fhichead
an t-siathamh bròg dheug ar fhichead
37 a seachd deug ar fhichead seachd guib dheug ar fhichead
seachd brògan deug ar fhichead
an seachdamh gob deug ar fhichead
an t-seachdamh bròg dheug ar fhichead
38 a h-ochd deug ar fhichead ochd guib dheug ar fhichead
ochd brògan deug ar fhichead
an t-ochdamh gob deug ar fhichead
an ochdamh bròg dheug ar fhichead
39 a naoidh deug ar fhichead naoidh guib dheug ar fhichead
naoidh brògan deug ar fhichead
an naoidheamh gob deug ar fhichead
an naoidheamh bròg dheug ar fhichead
40 dàichead dàichead gob
dàichead bròg
an dàicheadamh gob
an dàicheadamh bròg
41 dàichead is a h-aon dàichead gob is a h-aon
dàichead bròg is a h-aon
an dàicheadamh gob is a h-aon
an dàicheadamh bròg is a h-aon
42 dàichead is a dhà dàichead gob is a dhà
dàichead bròg is a dhà
an dàicheadamh gob is a dhà
an dàicheadamh bròg is a dhà
43 dàichead is a trì dàichead gob is a trì
dàichead bròg is a trì
an dàicheadamh gob is a trì
an dàicheadamh bròg is a trì
44 dàichead is a ceithir dàichead gob is a ceithir
dàichead bròg is a ceithir
an dàicheadamh gob is a ceithir
an dàicheadamh bròg is a ceithir
45 dàichead is a cóig dàichead gob is a cóig
dàichead bròg is a cóig
an dàicheadamh gob is a cóig
an dàicheadamh bròg is a cóig
46 dàichead is a sia dàichead gob is a sia
dàichead bròg is a sia
an dàicheadamh gob is a sia
an dàicheadamh bròg is a sia
47 dàichead is a seachd dàichead gob is a seachd
dàichead bròg is a seachd
an dàicheadamh gob is a seachd
an dàicheadamh bròg is a seachd
48 dàichead is a h-ochd dàichead gob is a h-ochd
dàichead bròg is a h-ochd
an dàicheadamh gob is a h-ochd
an dàicheadamh bròg is a h-ochd
49 dàichead is a naoidh dàichead gob is a naoidh
dàichead bròg is a naoidh
an dàicheadamh gob is a naoidh
an dàicheadamh bròg is a naoidh
50 dàichead is a deich dàichead gob is a deich
dàichead bròg is a deich
an dàicheadamh gob is a deich
an dàicheadamh bròg is a deich
51 dàichead is a h-aon deug dàichead gob is a h-aon deug
dàichead bròg is a h-aon deug
an dàicheadamh gob is a h-aon deug
an dàicheadamh bròg is a h-aon deug
52 dàichead is a dhà dheug dàichead gob is a dhà dheug
dàichead bròg is a dhà dheug
an dàicheadamh gob is a dhà dheug
an dàicheadamh bròg is a dhà dheug
53 dàichead is a trì deug dàichead gob is a trì deug
dàichead bròg is a trì deug
an dàicheadamh gob is a trì deug
an dàicheadamh bròg is a trì deug
54 dàichead is a ceithir deug dàichead gob is a ceithir deug
dàichead bròg is a ceithir deug
an dàicheadamh gob is a ceithir deug
an dàicheadamh bròg is a ceithir deug
55 dàichead is a cóig deug dàichead gob is a cóig deug
dàichead bròg is a cóig deug
an dàicheadamh gob is a cóig deug
an dàicheadamh bròg is a cóig deug
56 dàichead is a sia deug dàichead gob is a sia deug
dàichead bròg is a sia deug
an dàicheadamh gob is a sia deug
an dàicheadamh bròg is a sia deug
57 dàichead is a seachd deug dàichead gob is a seachd deug
dàichead bròg is a seachd deug
an dàicheadamh gob is a seachd deug
an dàicheadamh bròg is a seachd deug
58 dàichead is a h-ochd deug dàichead gob is a h-ochd deug
dàichead bròg is a h-ochd deug
an dàicheadamh gob is a h-ochd deug
an dàicheadamh bròg is a h-ochd deug
59 dàichead is a naoidh deug dàichead gob is a naoidh deug
dàichead bròg is a naoidh deug
an dàicheadamh gob is a naoidh deug
an dàicheadamh bròg is a naoidh deug
60 trì fichead trì fichead gob
trì fichead bròg
an trì ficheadamh gob
an trì ficheadamh bròg
61 trì fichead is a h-aon trì fichead gob is a h-aon
trì fichead bròg is a h-aon
an trì ficheadamh gob is a h-aon
an trì ficheadamh bròg is a h-aon
62 trì fichead is a dhà trì fichead gob is a dhà
trì fichead bròg is a dhà
an trì ficheadamh gob is a dhà
an trì ficheadamh bròg is a dhà
63 trì fichead is a trì trì fichead gob is a trì
trì fichead bròg is a trì
an trì ficheadamh gob is a trì
an trì 20mh bròg is a trì
64 trì fichead is a ceithir trì fichead gob is a ceithir
trì fichead bròg is a ceithir
an trì ficheadamh gob is a ceithir
an trì 20mh bròg is a ceithir
65 trì fichead is a cóig trì fichead gob is a cóig
trì fichead bròg is a cóig
an trì ficheadmh gob is a cóig
an trì ficheadamh bròg is a cóig
66 trì fichead is a sia trì fichead gob is a sia
trì fichead bròg is a sia
an trì ficheadamh gob is a sia
an trì ficheadamh bròg is a sia
67 trì fichead is a seachd trì fichead gob is a seachd
trì fichead bròg is a seachd
an trì ficheadamh gob is a seachd
an trì ficheadamh bròg is a seachd
68 trì fichead is a h-ochd trì fichead gob is a h-ochd
trì fichead bròg is a h-ochd
an trì ficheadamh gob is a h-ochd
an trì ficheadamh bròg is a h-ochd
69 trì fichead is a naoidh trì fichead gob is a naoidh
trì fichead bròg is a naoidh
an trì ficheadamh gob is a naoidh
an trì ficheadamh bròg is a naoidh
70 trì fichead is a deich trì fichead gob is a deich
trì fichead bròg is a deich
an trì ficheadamh gob is a deich
an trì ficheadamh bròg is a deich
71 trì fichead is a h-aon deug trì fichead gob is a h-aon deug
trì fichead bròg is a h-aon deug
an trì ficheadamh gob is a h-aon deug
an trì ficheadamh bròg is a h-aon deug
72 trì fichead is a dhà dheug trì fichead gob is a dhà dheug
trì fichead bròg is a dhà dheug
an trì ficheadamh gob is a dhà dheug
an trì ficheadamh bròg is a dhà dheug
73 trì fichead is a trì deug trì fichead gob is a trì deug
trì fichead bròg is a trì deug
an trì ficheadamh gob is a trì deug
an trì ficheadamh bròg is a trì deug
74 trì fichead is a ceithir deug trì fichead gob is a ceithir deug
trì fichead bròg is a ceithir deug
an trì ficheadamh gob is a ceithir deug
an trì ficheadamh bròg is a ceithir deug
75 trì fichead is a cóig deug trì fichead gob is a cóig deug
trì fichead bròg is a cóig deug
an trì ficheadamh gob is a cóig deug
an trì ficheadamh bròg is a cóig deug
76 trì fichead is a sia deug trì fichead gob is a sia deug
trì fichead bròg is a sia deug
an trì ficheadamh gob is a sia deug
an trì ficheadamh bròg is a sia deug
77 trì fichead is a seachd deug trì fichead gob is a seachd deug
trì fichead bròg is a seachd deug
an trì ficheadamh gob is a seachd deug
an trì ficheadamh bròg is a seachd deug
78 trì fichead is a h-ochd deug trì fichead gob is a h-ochd deug
trì fichead bròg is a h-ochd deug
an trì ficheadamh gob is a h-ochd deug
an trì ficheadamh bròg is a h-ochd deug
79 trì fichead is a naoidh deug trì fichead gob is a naoidh deug
trì fichead bròg is a naoidh deug
an trì ficheadamh gob is a naoidh deug
an trì ficheadamh bròg is a naoi deug
80 ceithir fichead ceithir fichead gob
ceithir fichead bròg
an ceithir ficheadamh gob
an ceithir ficheadamh bròg
81 ceithir fichead is a h-aon ceithir fichead gob is a h-aon
ceithir fichead bròg is a h-aon
an ceithir ficheadamh gob is a h-aon
an ceithir ficheadamh bròg is a h-aon
82 ceithir fichead is a dhà ceithir fichead gob is a dhà
ceithir fichead bròg is a dhà
an ceithir ficheadamh gob is a dhà
an ceithir ficheadamh bròg is a dhà
83 ceithir fichead is a trì ceithir fichead gob is a trì
ceithir fichead bròg is a trì
an ceithir ficheadamh gob is a trì
an ceithir ficheadamh bròg is a trì
84 ceithir fichead is a ceithir ceithir fichead gob is a ceithir
ceithir fichead bròg is a ceithir
an ceithir ficheadamh gob is a ceithir
an ceithir ficheadamh bròg is a ceithir
85 ceithir fichead is a cóig ceithir fichead gob is a cóig
ceithir fichead bròg is a cóig
an ceithir ficheadamh gob is a cóig
an ceithir ficheadamh bròg is a cóig
86 ceithir fichead is a sia ceithir fichead gob is a sia
ceithir fichead bròg is a sia
an ceithir ficheadamh gob is a sia
an ceithir ficheadamh bròg is a sia
87 ceithir fichead is a seachd ceithir fichead gob is a seachd
ceithir fichead bròg is a seachd
an ceithir ficheadamh gob is a seachd
an ceithir ficheadamh bròg is a seachd
88 ceithir fichead is a h-ochd ceithir fichead gob is a h-ochd
ceithir fichead bròg is a h-ochd
an ceithir ficheadamh gob is a h-ochd
an ceithir ficheadamh bròg is a h-ochd
89 ceithir fichead is a naoi ceithir fichead gob is a naoidh
ceithir fichead bròg is a naoidh
an ceithir ficheadamh gob is a naoidh
an ceithir ficheadamh bròg is a naoidh
90 ceithir fichead is a deich ceithir fichead gob is a deich
ceithir fichead bròg is a deich
an ceithir ficheadamh gob is a deich
an ceithir ficheadamh bròg is a deich
91 ceithir fichead is a h-aon deug ceithir fichead gob is a h-aon deug
ceithir fichead bròg is a h-aon deug
an ceithir ficheadamh gob is a h-aon deug
an ceithir ficheadamh bròg is a h-aon deug
92 ceithir fichead is a dhà dheug ceithir fichead gob is a dhà dheug
ceithir fichead bròg is a dhà dheug
an ceithir ficheadamh gob is a dhà dheug
an ceithir ficheadamh bròg is a dhà dheug
93 ceithir fichead is a trì deug ceithir fichead gob is a trì deug
ceithir fichead bròg is a trì deug
an ceithir ficheadamh gob is a trì deug
an ceithir ficheadamh bròg is a trì deug
94 ceithir fichead is a ceithir deug ceithir fichead gob is a ceithir deug
ceithir fichead bròg is a ceithir deug
an ceithir ficheadamh gob is a ceithir deug
an ceithir ficheadamh bròg is a ceithir deug
95 ceithir fichead is a cóig deug ceithir fichead gob is a cóig deug
ceithir fichead bròg is a cóig deug
an ceithir ficheadamh gob is a cóig deug
an ceithir ficheadamh bròg is a cóig deug
96 ceithir fichead is a sia deug ceithir fichead gob is a sia deug
ceithir fichead bròg is a sia deug
an ceithir ficheadamh gob is a sia deug
an ceithir ficheadamh bròg is a sia deug
97 ceithir fichead is a seachd deug ceithir fichead gob is a seachd deug
ceithir fichead bròg is a seachd deug
an ceithir ficheadamh gob is a seachd deug
an ceithir ficheadamh bròg is a seachd deug
98 ceithir fichead is a h-ochd deug ceithir fichead gob is a h-ochd deug
ceithir fichead bròg is a h-ochd deug
an ceithir ficheadamh gob is a h-ochd deug
an ceithir ficheadamh bròg is a h-ochd deug
99 ceithir fichead is a naoidh deug ceithir fichead gob is a naoidh deug
ceithir fichead bròg is a naoidh deug
an ceithir ficheadamh gob is a naoidh deug
an ceithir ficheadamh bròg is a naoidh deug
100 ceud ceud gob
ceud bròg
an ceudamh gob
an ceudamh bròg
101 ceud is a h-aon ceud gob is a h-aon
ceud bròg is a h-aon
an ceudamh gob is a h-aon
an ceudamh bròg is a h-aon
102 ceud is a dhà ceud gob is a dhà
ceud bròg is a dhà
an ceudamh gob is a dhà
an ceudamh bròg is a dhà
103 ceud is a trì ceud gob is a trì
ceud bròg is a trì
an ceudamh gob is a trì
an ceudamh bròg is a trì

Notes

And the footnotes:

1) 50: Instead of dàichead is a deich, leth cheud can be used, which does not lenite.

2) In spoken Gaelic, is a is often shortened to 's a /sə/ - not to be confused with sa 'in the'.

3) Dàichead is a shortened form of dà fhichead. Dàichead is both easier to read and also reflects the actual stress placement better (only on the dà-) when counting, which is why we prefer it.

4) Once you reach ceudamh, no gender distinctions are necessary any more.

5) Sometimes, the vigesimal system is used up to 200 i.e. cóig fichead, sia fichead, seachd fichead, ochd fichead, naoi fichead, but never beyond that.

Higher Still

Yes, we said we'd only go up to a hundred, but in real life we need to tackle larger numbers too. So, here are a few further key numbers so you'll get an understanding of how to deal with larger numbers. And yes, many a Gaelic teacher will tell you that most Gaels use English numbers when counting anything complex above 50 or 100. First of all, that's beside the point, and secondly that has much to do with the fact that almost all Gaelic speaking adults over 20 have been educated through the medium of English, particularly when it comes to maths which is not a subject commonly taught in GME, especially not at secondary level. Go on, how good are your number skills in French or German over 50?

So, do learn how to express these numbers, but we advise caution as to with whom you can use them: learners, teachers, very literate native speakers and young people who have had GME. If you feel like doing some language planning, you can always use the Gaelic numbers, regardless of with whom you're speaking, then gloss it by following it with the number in English.

counting cardinal numbers
(one beak, two beaks ...)
ordinal numbers
(first, second ...)
105 ceud is a cóig ceud gob is a cóig an ceudamh gob is a còig
125 ceud, fichead is a cóig ceud, fichead gob is a cóig an ceudamh, cóig guib ar fhichead
220 dà cheud is fichead dà cheud gob is fichead an dà cheudamh gob ar fhichead
400 ceithir ceud ceithir cheud gob an ceithir cheudamh gob
552 cóig cheud, dàichead is a dhà dheug cóig cheud, dàichead gob is a dhà dheug an cóig cheudamh, dàichead gob is a dhà dheug
592 cóig ceud, ceithir fichead is a dhà dheug cóig ceud, ceithir fichead gob is a dhà dheug an ceithir ceudamh, ceithir fichead gob is a dhà dheug
1,000 mìle mìle gob am mìleamh gob
1,238 mìle, dà cheud, ochd deug ar fhichead mìle, dà cheud, ochd guib dheug ar fhichead am mìleamh, dà cheud,

ochd guib dheug ar fhichead

4,673 ceithir mìle, sia ceud, trì fichead is trì deug ceithir mìle, sia cheud, trì fichead gob is trì deug an ceithir mìleamh, sia cheud, trì fichead gob is trì deug
10,000 deich mìle deich mìle gob an deich mìleamh gob
16,745 sia mìle deug, seachd ceud, dàichead is a cóig sia mìle deug, seachd ceud, dàichead gob is a cóig an sia mìleamh deug, seachd ceud, dàichead gob is a cóig
56,965 dàichead mìle is sia deug, naoidh ceud, trì fichead is a cóig dàichead mìle is a sia deug, naoidh ceud, trì fichead gob is a cóig an dàichead mìleamh is sia deug, naoidh ceud, trì fichead gob is a cóig
200,000 dà cheud mìle dà cheud mìle gob an dà cheud mìleamh gob
143,976 ceud mìle dàichead is a trì, naoidh ceud, trì fichead is a sia ceud mìle dàichead is a trì, naoidh ceud, trì fichead gob is a sia an ceud mìleamh dàichead is a trì, naoidh ceud, trì fichead gob is a sia
999,999 naoidh ceud mìle ceithir fichead is a naoidh deug, naoidh ceud, ceithir fichead is a naoidh deug naoidh ceud mìle ceithir fichead is a naoidh deug, naoidh ceud, ceithir fichead gob is a naoidh deug naoidh ceud mìleamh ceithir fichead is a naoidh deug, naoidh ceud, ceithir fichead gob is a naoidh deug
1,000,000 millean millean gob am milleanamh gob
5,867,835 cóig millean, ochd ceud mìle trì fichead is seachd, ochd ceud, cóig deug ar fhichead cóig millean, ochd ceud mìle trì fichead is a seachd, ochd ceud, cóig guib dheug ar fhichead an cóig milleanamh, ochd ceud mìle trì fichead is seachd, ochd ceud, cóig guib dheug ar fhichead

Notes

Footnotes related to 10:

1) The comma is only "notional" that is, it's a "speech break" you put in when saying the number. You don't actually write it when spelling out numbers. We just put them in here to demonstrate where the breaks would be.

2) The numbers 2-6 lenite ceud, so you get dà cheud, trì cheud, ceithir cheud, cóig cheud and sia cheud. This is NOT completely arbitrary but the last remaining vestiges of something Gaelic lost. Traditionally (well, several hundred years back in Gaelic terms), the number 1-6 lenited while the numbers 7-10 nasalized. Meaning? Well, seeing Irish still does this, let's have a look at how you count boats in Irish: bád, dhá bhád, trí bhád, ceithre bhád, cúig bhád, sé bhád, seacht mbád, ocht mbád, naoi mbád, deich mbád. Cool, isn't it? Gaelic stopped doing this a long time ago - except with the word ceud, for whatever reason. In older texts, you might occasionally come across things like trì thaighean.

3) Between 1001 and 9999, you can employ "splitting" into hundreds as you would with a year, e.g. 1267 as dà cheud dheag, trì fichead is a seachd.

4) As mentioned above, there is the possibility to express numbers up to 200 in twenties e.g. 136 as ceud, sia deug ar fhichead or sia fichead is a sia deug. So 136 ice-creams would be sia fichead reòiteag is a deich.

5) Leth refers to a half of the previous largest round 100, 1.000, 10.000 etc unit. This gives a value of 50, 500, 5.000 etc. These are then combined to give 150, 1.500, 15.000 etc. Enter the "illogical" step. You might imagine that trì cheud gu leth equals 450. Wrong. It equals 350. This principle applies at each level (100, 1.000, 10.000 etc). You can then add the numbers 1-9 to these expressions, but once you hit the next full 10, you have to revert to the "normal" way of counting, e.g. dà mhìle gu leth, dà mhìle gu leth is a h-aon, dà mhìle gu leth is a dhà ... dà mhìle gu leth is a naoi, dà mhìle is trì fichead. Leth cheud, leth mhìle etc. work the same way. Alternatively, you can just stick to the "normal" numbers

6) Possessives ... the ones that lenite, lenite numbers and the ones that add n- add n- to numbers beginning with vowels: mo dhà shùil, a thrì taighean, ar n-ochd caraidean, and so on.

7) Plurals. Numbers form their plurals 'relatively' regularly by adding -(e)an, -than, -dhean, -tean: aon » aonan, dà » dàthan, trì » trìthean, ceithir » ceithirean, cóig » cóigean, sia » siathan, seachd » seachdan, ochd » ochdan, naoi » naoidhean, deich » deichean, fichead » ficheadan, ceud » ceudan, mìle » mìltean, millean » milleanan. When will you ever need that? Well, try saying "I shook four sixes in a row" without using a plural of six ...

8) And last but not least, there is a tendency to stick the thing being counted at the very end with large numbers, especially with monetary units, so ¥51.655 would be dàichead mìle, sia ceud, trì fichead is a cóig Yen rather than dàichead mìle, sia ceud, trì fichead Yen is a cóig.

Hooray, you've cracked it ... except that Gaelic educationalists have had other plans .... Oh, and there's a separate page on how to give the date and time in Gaelic.



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