Number Names in Different Languages

Reading Time: 4 minutes

What’s in a name?” , Shakespeare’s Juliet famously asked. “That which we call a rose, By any other name would smell as sweet“, she reasoned.  Obviously, no one can contradict that logic – a rose is not gonna smell different if we were to rename it, nor would a skunk start emitting fragrances,  by being called a rose.

But what about number names? Do the names of numbers mean anything? Does the naming system have any significance or are they random sounds picked on a whim by our ancestors? To find out, first let us check out on number names in different languages from various regions.

japanesezuluarabic malayspanish


assamese bangla
hindi punjabi


Tabulating, we can compare the number names.

 Language Name for ten Name for thirty Name for thirty nine Literal translation for ‘thirty nine’
Arabic asarah thalathin tset wathalathin Nine and thirty
Spanish dieh triente Triente y neuve Thirty and nine
Malay sepuluh Digah puluh diga puluh sembilan Thirty- nine
Japanese juu San juu San juu kyu Three tens and nine
Zulu ishumi Amashumi amathathu Amashumi amathathu nesishiyagalilunye Thirty- nine
Assamese dos tis unchalis One less than forty
Bangla das tris unchalis One less than forty
Hindi das tees unchalis One less than forty
Punjabi das tih untih One less than forty
Kannada hattu muvattu muvattombattu Three tens -nine
Tamil pathu mupathu mupathonpadu Three tens -nine
Telugu padi muppai Muppai thommidi Thirty nine
Malayalam pathu muppathu Mupathi onpathu Three tens -nine

Interesting, isn’t it? Some languages display an intrinsic knowledge of the base ten place value system, while some others seem to have just ‘named’ their numbers.  Even among those using the place value system, some have ‘number names’ for their tens (like Arabic) while in some others, even the tens resonate  their value (like in Japanese).

Reflecting, there is much to read into this beyond names. These names tell us about the cultures,  the level of understanding and advancement the ancient people of these cultures had reached with respect to Math. It also shows that even a universally uniform concept like Math, is perceived differently by  different people. Further, if your number name for say sixty four says it is six tens and four, the place value system is imbibed into your consciousness from the time you hear the language as a baby. Do native speakers of such languages fare better at Math? There are researchers who believe so, though much more work would be needed to come to such a conclusion.

For now, you could find out how more languages treat their numbers and number names – starting with languages spoken by your friends.

Number names 1 to 100

Here is the list of number names from 1 to 100:

NumberNumber Name
21Twenty - One
22Twenty - Two
23Twenty - Three
24Twenty - Four
25Twenty - Five
26Twenty - Six
27Twenty - Seven
28Twenty - Eight
29Twenty - Nine
31Thirty - One
32Thirty - Two
33Thirty - Three
34Thirty - Four
35Thirty - Five
36Thirty - Six
37Thirty - Seven
38Thirty - Eight
39Thirty - Nine
41Fourty - One
42Fourty - Two
43Fourty - Three
44Fourty - Four
45Fourty - Five
46Fourty - Six
47Fourty - Seven
48Fourty - Eight
49Fourty - Nine
51Fifty - One
52Fifty - Two
53Fifty - Three
54Fifty - Four
55Fifty - Five
56Fifty - Six
57Fifty - Seven
58Fifty - Eight
59Fifty - Nine
61Sixty - One
62Sixty - Two
63Sixty - Three
64Sixty - Four
65Sixty - Five
66Sixty - Six
67Sixty - Seven
68Sixty - Eight
69Sixty - Nine
71Seventy - One
72Seventy - Two
73Seventy - Three
74Seventy - Four
75Seventy - Five
76Seventy - Six
77Seventy - Seven
78Seventy - Eight
79Seventy - Nine
81Eighty - One
82Eighty - Two
83Eighty - Three
84Eighty - Four
85Eighty - Five
86Eighty - Six
87Eighty - Seven
88Eighty - Eight
89Eighty - Nine
91Ninety - One
92Ninety - Two
93Ninety - Three
94Ninety - Four
95Ninety - Five
96Ninety - Six
97Ninety - Seven
98Ninety - Eight
99Ninety - Nine
100One Hundred

Read about how to prepare for new academic year on beGalileo Blog and get best online math tutor on beGalileo – Math learning program.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.