Saturday, 21 January 2017


The numbers...

I've been really busy today, so I had no time to post the "yesterday's" post... however, here it is, better late than never!

The topic today is the numbers, which in fact are really easy regarding their formation, when you learn to count to 10. An interesting fact - no matter how many languages you know and how fluent you are in them, you'll always count subconsciously in your native language. It's faster and well, easier, I believe. But I've read that in Albanian knowing the numbers is important, especially the 1000s, as some people still quote the money in the old lek, which has one extra zero.

I also pay special attention to the numbers, as they confuse me in many languages (ugh, French = maths), and sometimes when people talk about something, it takes me too long to get the number. So I just practice.

So here are the numbers...
0 is "zero", pretty straightforward to remember (stress on O). 1 - një. 2 - dy. 3 - tre/tri (as far as I've seen, tri is user rather rarely; tre is the one used more, unless you count feminine nouns, or you say 30). 4 - katër. 5 - pesë. 6 - gjashtë. 7 - shtatë. 8 - tetë. 9 - nëntë. 10 - dhjetë. Try listening to their pronunciation around, to get used to it. Knowing them by heart is important for all the other numbers!

I, personally, still always confuse gjashtë with shtatë, as in my native language six sounds closer to the Albanian seven. I guess I do it subconsciously, the thing is that Memrise always gets me when I don't pay enough attention.

11 to 19 are formed by adding "-mbëdhjetë" (mbi dhjetë - literally, on ten) to the numbers from 1 to 9 - for example 11 is njëmbëdhjetë. That's a really interesting (I believe Balkan) feature, as there are a few languages forming these in such a "on ten" way - I know about the Balkan Slavic for sure. Also, note that the numbers are written with their respective end-of-the-word ë's, which get pronounced when in the middle of the word!

20 is njëzet and 40 is dyzet - both of them use an old measurement for 20 units, "zet". Other than that, the numbers from 21 to 99 are easy to form too. The "tens" (30, 50 and so on) are formed by adding "dhjetë" (ten) to the number - again something I've seen in other Balkan languages. 30 is tridhjetë though, using the feminine form of 3 - the only exception, all other numbers based on 3 form it with the masculine "tre". If you want to add a number after the tens, say 65, then you use "e" (and) to link them - gjashtëdhjetë e pesë. Pay attention that everything that "links" with the "e" is written separately, as opposed to some languages, which make them a whole word.

The word for a 100 is "njëqind", and all 100s follow the "-qind" pattern. What was hard for me was that while "one hundred" in English are two words, the Albanian ones are just one. The "linking" of any numbers following the hundred is the same, using the "e".

A thousand - një mijë. The first time these get "separate" from each other. I found it easy to remember as it reminds me of the word "mile" - and while a British mile equals around 1.6 kms, you get the idea, depends on which side you look at it. Then you also have million - një milion, billion - një miliardë, and so on. Actually the last two seem to share many similarities with the Balkan Slavic languages too.

As for the ordinals (first, second, third), they are pretty straightforward too. They always have linking article; the first 5 should be learned, the others form in the same way - just add a linking article in front of the number, and you have it!

First - i parë; second - i dytë; third - i tretë; forth - i katërt; fifth - i pestë.
Also, if the number doesn't end in të, you should add it - i dyzetë, i njëqindtë, i njëmijtë, i njëmiliontë, i njëmiliardtë. What's specific is that it actually now becomes a whole word. The ë is also dropped in from the -dhjetë or -qindtë or -mijtë ones, if it's a composed number, like 151th - i njëqindtepesëdhjetenjë. Good luck with pronouncing that (I personally can't and hope it won't be necessary to do so either!); I know it may look overwhelming, but practice makes perfect! If you like maths, try writing simple plus/minus equations to practice these. Like:
Sa bëjnë njëzet e një plus katër? Njëzet e një plus katër bëjnë njëzet e pesë.
Sa bëjnë dyqind e gjashtëdhjetë e shtatë minus njëqind e dyzet e tetë? Dyqind e gjashtëdhjetë e shtatë minus njëqind e dyzet e tetë bëjnë njëqind e nëntëmbëdhjetë.

You get my idea. Try reading them out loud and also writing them with letters, instead of writing the numbers. It's fun, you test yourself (you're always free to use a calculator too, the trick is to pronounce/write/get used to the numbers themselves, the answer doesn't matter), and you learn that the third person plural of bëj is bëjnë.

Oh, and by the way, the noun "numër" is masculine. These always confuse me, so I try to pay attention which is their right gender, as there are many -ër/-ërr that you have no way of recognising unless learning by heart.

Do të fle tani, natën e mirë dhe faleminderit për vëmendjen!

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