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The Numbers lessons

In my opinion the numbers section seemed particularly light, with only three very short lessons. In addition there was no introductory description listing the numbering system. Also, I never heard of the word "laki" before. What's the origin of that?

April 11, 2017



About laki: Probably it comes from the Indian numbering system. Check this out. :)



Yes, I looked it up in my old Oxford Swahili dictionary, and it says the origin is Hindustani (Hindi-Urdu).


I don't know about Laki either. I checked on Google Translate and Laki isn't there! Personally, I'm glad the numbers section was short because the order you say numbers in is confusing. I just wish there were more combinations of numbers because I see "themanini moja" and "thelathini sita" over and over again.


My wife is using laki mostly when she is talking about prices, so when something costs a multiple of 100.000 shilling (which is currently around €42 or $45USD).


It looks like it's time for Tanzania to adjust their currency! Even in Kenya, 1 US dollar is now about 100 shillings, but 2200 is kind of crazy!


If anyone is finding it hard for the numbers to stick, watch this. https://youtu.be/ny4vlTsn2rI

You will learn up to twenty. You will also be driven completely mad, but that's the price you pay.

Moja mbili tatu, tatu, tatu...


Thank you very much!


I would love some notes about numbers. Why are there different forms of "two" for example?! (Mbili, wawili, viwili, pili.) Are they adjusted according to noun classes? I need to know more!!


Yes, they change according to noun classes. The stem form of mbili is "-wili". The forms used in counting are the forms of the N class that have the "N rule" applied (causing w to become mb).


Niliishi katika nchi ya Kenya kwa miaka miwili. :D

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