Ahtna numbers

How to count in Ahtna (Atnakenaege’), a Northern Athabaskan language spoken in the Copper River area of Alaska in the USA.

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Numeral Cardinal
1 ts’ełk’ey (C, M)
ts’ałk’ey (L)
2 nadaeggi
3 taa’i (C, L)
taaggi (W)
4 denc’ih (C, L)
denc’ii (M, W)
5 ‘ałts’eni
6 gistaani (C, L)
7 konts’aghi
8 łk’edenc’ih (C, L)
łk’edenc’ii (M, W)
9 ts’ełk’ey kole (C, L)
ketnesi (M)
10 hwlazaan
11 ts’ełk’ey uk’edi
12 nadaeggi uk’edi
13 taa’i uk’edi
14 denc’ih uk’edi
15 ałts’eni uk’edi
16 gistaani uk’edi
17 konts’aghi uk’edi
18 łk’edenc’ih uk’edi
19 ts’ełk’ey kole uk’edi
20 naa xundelaayi (C, L, W)
naa deztaann (M)
ts’iłghatne (C)
21 naa deztaann ts’ełk’ey (M)
ts’iłghatne ts’ełk’ey uk’edi (C, L)*
30 taa xundelaayi
taa deztaann (M)
36 taa deztaan gistaani (M)
40 denc’ih xundelaayi
denc’ii deztaann (M)
44 denc’ii xundelaayi
denc’ii uk’edi (C, L)*
50 ałts’eni xundelaayi
ałts’eni deztaann (M)
60 gistaan xundelaayi
gistaann deztaan (M)
70 konts’aghi xundelaayi
konts’agha deztaann (M)
80 łk’edenc’ih xundelaayi
łk’edenc’ii deztaann (M)
90 ts’ełk’ey kole xundelaayi
k’etnes deztaan (M)
100 dghesdlaani (C,W)
ggesdlaani (L)
101 dghesdlaani ts’elk’ey uk’edi
200 naa ggessdlaani (L)
naa dghesdlaani (C, W)
naa desdlaan (M)
once ts’iłden
twice naade
thrice taade
first tsoxe
last xandeni

C = Central dialect
L = Lower dialect
M = Mentasta (also called Upper Ahtna)
W = Western dialect


The root word for four, denc’ih, appears in the word for eight. In Ahtna, the word for eight, łk’edenc’ih, literally means “double-four”.

The root word for one, ts’ełk’ey, appears in the word for nine. In Ahtna, the word for nine, ts’ełk’ey kole, literally means “take away one”, ostensibly from the number ten.

Numbers 11-19 (the teens) are expressed by stating the second digit’s singular pronunciation and adding uk’edi, which means “a one goes before it.” Ex. eleven [11] = ts’ełk’ey (one) [1] + uk’edi (“a one goes before it”).

*) In this case, the word uk’edi means “plus” or “added”.

The numbers 20, 30, 40...90 are expressed similarly to the Hindu-Arabic in so much that it too uses the name for the base digit to express the new concept. This is done in the Central and Lower villages by adding the word xundelaayi to the first digit. For example 30 = 3 (taa) + xundelaayi, which means, “to become bigger”. Thus, the 3 (three) has become bigger (30). Mentasta Village (M) Indians use the word deztaann to do the same thing.

The Ahtna counting system can only express numbers up to 999. There exists no known term for one thousand or greater.


Information provided by Wolfgang Kuhl

If you would like to make any corrections or additions to this page, or if you can provide recordings, please contact me.

Information about Ahtna | Numbers

Numbers in Athabaskan languages

Ahtna, Babine-Witsuwit'en, Carrier (Dakelh), Chipewyan, Dane-zaa, Deg Xinag, Gwichʼin, Hän, Hupa, Jicarilla, Kaska, Mescalero-Chiricahua, Navajo, Sekani, Tłı̨chǫ (Dogrib), Tolowa, Tsuut'ina, Western Apache

Numbers in other languages

Alphabetical index | Language family index


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