Oksapmin Counting

indielinguist:

Counting in Oksapmin
1 - tipun “thumb”2 - ləwatipun  “index finger”3 - bumlip “middle finger”4 - xətlip “ring finger”5 - xətxət ”little finger”6 - xadəp “wrist”7 - bes “forearm”8 - amun “elbow”9 - tuwət “upper arm” 10 - kat “shoulder”11 - gwel “side of neck”12 - nat “ear”13 - kin “eye”14 - lum “nose”15 - kin tən “other-side eye”16 - nat tən “other-side ear”17 - gwel tən “other-side side of neck”18 - kat tən “other-side shoulder”19 - tuwət tən “other-side upper arm”20 - amun tən “other-side elbow”21 - bes tən “other-side forearm”22 - xadəp tən “other-side wrist”23 - xətxət tən “other-side little finger”24 - xətlip tən “other-side ring finger”25 - bumlip tən “other-side middle finger”26 - ləwatipun tən “other-side index finger”27 - tipun tən “other-side thumb”
Oksapmin is a Highlands Papuan language spoken in Sandaun province of Papua New Guinea. Its counting system involves counting up 13 steps from thumb to nose, reaching 14 on the nose, then going back down the other side to reach 27 on the opposite-side thumb. On the completion of the cycle it is customary to raise both fists and exclaim tit fu! To say “then he didn’t come for eight nights,” for example, you say jəxə amunxe dik jox napingoplio, literally “then elbow’s time (he) didn’t come.” Although children today are still learning Oksapmin (along with Tok Pisin and English), the 27-base number system is falling out of use, with an English-style system being used for monetary transactions but older speakers still using the traditional system in contexts like counting string bags.Source: Evans, Nicholas. 2010. Dying words: Endangered languages and what they have to tell us, pp. 60-61. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

Body-tallying counting systems for the win! But I’ve heard that there can be more diversity in a system than one might think, i.e. left ear is not necessarily 16 to all members of the community.
/h

indielinguist:

Counting in Oksapmin

1 – tipun “thumb”
2 – ləwatipun  “index finger”
3 – bumlip “middle finger”
4 – xətlip “ring finger”
5 – xətxət ”little finger”
6 – xadəp “wrist”
7 – bes “forearm”
8 – amun “elbow”
9 – tuwət “upper arm”
10 – kat “shoulder”
11 – gwel “side of neck”
12 – nat “ear”
13 – kin “eye”
14 – lum “nose”
15 – kin tən “other-side eye”
16 – nat tən “other-side ear”
17 – gwel tən “other-side side of neck”
18 – kat tən “other-side shoulder”
19 – tuwətən “other-side upper arm”
20 – amun tən “other-side elbow”
21 – bes tən “other-side forearm”
22 – xadəp tən “other-side wrist”
23 – xətxəttən “other-side little finger”
24 – xətlip tən “other-side ring finger”
25 – bumlip tən “other-side middle finger”
26 – ləwatipun tən “other-side index finger”
27 – tipun tən “other-side thumb”

Oksapmin is a Highlands Papuan language spoken in Sandaun province of Papua New Guinea. Its counting system involves counting up 13 steps from thumb to nose, reaching 14 on the nose, then going back down the other side to reach 27 on the opposite-side thumb. On the completion of the cycle it is customary to raise both fists and exclaim tit fu! To say “then he didn’t come for eight nights,” for example, you say jəxə amunxe dik jox napingoplio, literally “then elbow’s time (he) didn’t come.” Although children today are still learning Oksapmin (along with Tok Pisin and English), the 27-base number system is falling out of use, with an English-style system being used for monetary transactions but older speakers still using the traditional system in contexts like counting string bags.

I found the language that goes with the counting system of the Okaspmin people of Papua New Guinea i have no clue how to pronounce it so i found this additional video of a native speaking the words. 

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One thought on “Oksapmin Counting

  1. You would think being in the 21st century they would adapt an easier way to count and adopt the western way! But I guess if it’s not broken, why fix it? And old habits are hard to break.. Lol

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