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Numbers And Counting In Amharic

Numbers And Counting In Amharic

Numbers make the world go round! It’s important to learn how to count and use numbers in any new language you’re learning, and Amharic is no exception.

You’re going to encounter numbers in all sorts of situations, in all their many forms, whether you’re buying groceries, telling the time, or asking for directions. Thus, it’s essential that you learn them as early as possible and don’t leave them to the last minute.

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We get it, though. They’re a real drag! Learning numbers can be monotonous and repetitive, but we promise that once you get the hang of them it’ll all be worth it.

In this guide, we’ve broken them into different topics so you can take your time and focus on the ones that are most relevant to you first. As Amharic uses an entirely different writing system than English, we’ve also included transliteration for every word or phrase to help you pronounce them.

Cardinal Numbers in Amharic

Numbers in Amharic poster

Cardinal numbers are the numbers that we use for counting, such as one, two, three, etc. They are the most basic form that numbers take, and are most often used when talking about quantity.

In Amharic, cardinal numbers are relatively straightforward, particularly once you’ve learned numbers 1 – 10. The “teens” (11 – 19) are easily formed by taking አስራ (“asir”) – a form of the number 10 – and placing it before the single digit.

For example, 13 would be አስራ ሶስት (“asra sost”) or “ten three” in English. See, easy! No extra words to add.

Multiples of ten with single digits work the same way, so once you learn them, you can easily put them together to create any number up to 100. For example, 75 would be ሰባ አምስት (“seba amist”) or “70 5” in English.

Cardinal Numbers የብዛት ቁጥሮች Yebisat kootrotch
zero ዜሮ zero
one አንድ aand
two ሁለት hulette
three ሶስት sost
four አራት arat
five አምስት amist
six ስድስት sidist
seven ሰባት sebat
eight ስምንት simint
nine ዘጠኝ zeteyn
ten አስር asir
eleven አስራ አንድ asra aand
twelve አስራ ሁለት asra hulette
thirteen አስራ ሶስት asra sost
fourteen አስራ አራት asra arat
fifteen አስራ አምስት asra amist
sixteen አስራ ስድስት asra sidist
seventeen አስራ ሰባት asra sebat
eighteen አስራ ስምንት asra simint
nineteen አስራ ዘጠኝ asra zeteyn
twenty ሀያ haya
twenty-one ሀያ አንድ haya aand
twenty-two ሀያ ሁለት haya hulette
thirty ሰላሣ selasa
forty አርባ arba
fifty አምሳ hamsa
sixty ስልሳ silsa
seventy ሰባ seba
eighty ሰማኒያ semanya
ninety ዘጠና zetena
one hundred አንድ መቶ aand meto
one hundred and one አንድ መቶ አንድ aand meto aand
one hundred and twenty-five አንድ መቶ ሀያ አምስት aand meto haya amist
one thousand አንድ ሺህ aandi shih
one million አንድ ሚሊዮን aand million

Numerals in Amharic

Okay, so you know how we said that cardinal numbers in Amharic were straightforward? Well, we weren’t being entirely honest…

It just so happens that Amharic, staying true to its ancient roots, actually has its own unique way of representing numbers. This system is called the “Ge’ez numerals”.

Although the numerals you’re used to (1, 2, 3, etc.) are often used in and around Ethiopia, and Amharic speakers know and understand them, the Ge’ez numerals are still used in places like restaurants and institutions. So, it would be wise to learn them.

They’re not too complicated; there are no unique numerals for numbers over 100, and teens are formed by using the numeral for 10 + a single-digit numeral. Have a look at the table below to see how it all works.

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11 ፲፩
12 ፲፪
20
21 ፳፩
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
105 ፻፭
200 ፪፻
325 ፫፻፳፭
1000 ፲፻
10,000 ፻፻
100,000 ፲፼
1,000,000 ፻፼

Ordinal Numbers in Amharic

Ordinal numbers are the numbers we use to denote order or rank in a sequence, such as first, second, third, etc.

In Amharic, ordinal numbers are almost identical to cardinal numbers, but with a small change – the addition of ኛ (“nya”) to the end of the cardinal number.

For example, 17th would be አስራ ሰባት (“asra sebatenya“).

Ordinal Numbers የደረጃ ቁጥሮች Yedereja kootrotch
first አንደኛ andenya
second ሁለተኛ huletenya
third ሶስተኛ sostenya
fourth አራተኛ aratenya
fifth አምስተኛ amistenya
sixth ስድስተኛ sidistenya
seventh ሰባተኛ sebatenya
eighth ስምንተኛ simintenya
ninth ዘጠነኛ zetenenya
tenth አስረኛ as’renya
twentieth ሀያኛ hayanya
forty-sixth አርባ ስድስትኛ arba sidistenya

Fractions in Amharic

Fractions are the numbers that we use to represent a part of a whole, such as 1/2, 1/3, 2/3, etc. These are important to learn for situations when you need to discuss things like weight, measurements, or time.

A couple of these should look familiar, as you already came across them in the ordinal numbers section.

Fractions ክፍልፋዮች K’filfouch
half ግማሽ g’mash
a quarter ሩብ roob
two thirds ሁለት ሶስተኛ hulette sostenya
a third ሲሶ siso
three fifths ሶስት አምስተኛ sost amistenya
three quarters ሶስት አራተኛ sost aratenya

Other

This section is reserved for common tuples (double, triple, etc.) and multiplicative terms (twice, thrice). Tuples express quantity, while multiplicative adjectives are used when talking about frequency.

Forming multiplicative adjectives in Amharic is pretty easy as, from “three times” onwards, there’s a simple pattern the rest of the numbers follow. The word ጊዜ (“gizee”) is added after the cardinal number.

For example, “six times” would be ስድስት ጊዜ (“sidist gizee“).

double ድርብ dirb
triple ሦስት ዕጥፍ sost itf
dozen ደርዘን derzen
once አንዴ andee
twice ሁለቴ hulettee
thrice ሶስት ጊዜ sost gizee

Age in Amharic

Age is always an interesting topic and one that is among the first things that people learn about when studying a new language. Knowing how to ask someone’s age, as well as how to say your own, will definitely come in handy.

In Amharic, the way you tell someone your age is a little different from what you might be used to, though it’s still really simple. You say the number (cardinal) first, followed by “I am”. See for yourself below.

How old are you? እድሜዎ ስንት ነው? Edmeyow sinti naw
I am twenty-five years old ሀያ አምስት ነው። Haya amist naw
I am twelve years old አስራ ሁለት ነው። Asra hulet naw

Time in Amharic

Telling time is an important skill to have in any language, though it isn’t always the easiest thing to learn. This is especially true of Amharic, which like many East African languages, uses a particular method that’s alien to us here in the West.

We won’t go into that here, as we’re more concerned with how numbers are used in relation to the time.

You’d be surprised how straightforward things are once you understand the basics. Amharic doesn’t overcomplicate things by throwing in unnecessary words. You simply say “number” + “clock” and “it is”.

(For more on how to tell the time in Amharic, be sure to check out our article Days of the Week, Months of the Year, Seasons, Weather, and Time in Amharic.)

What’s the time? ስንት ሰዓት ነው? Sint se’at naw
It is seven o’clock ሰባት ሰዓት ነው። Sebat se’at naw
It is four o’clock አራት ሰዓት ነው። Arat se’at naw

The Date in Amharic

Saying the date in Amharic is also not too complicated. As with most sentences involving numbers, the cardinal number is used here, even though we usually use ordinal numbers when referring to dates in English.

The sentence structure is a little strange, but nothing you can’t handle. “Today” + “month” + “number” + “it is”. Check it out in the table below.

What’s the date today? ዛሬ ቀኑ ስንት ነው? Zare qen sinti naw
It’s the fifth of March today ዛሬ መጋቢት አምስት ነው። Zare megarbeet amist naw
It’s the twenty-third of October today ዛሬ ጥቅምት ሀያ ሶስት ነው። Zare t’ekemt haya sost naw

We hope this short guide didn’t confuse you too much! Learning numbers is an essential part of any language, but it doesn’t have to be difficult.

Just take your time, and soon you’ll be able to count just like a native Amharic speaker!

If you’re ready to learn more, why not check out our Amharic resource page, where you can find all sorts of helpful materials to assist you on your language-learning journey. Or how about learning how to greet people in Amharic?