Numbers in Sio

How to count in Sio, a member of the Oceanic branch of the Malayo-Polynesian language family spoken in Morobe Province in Papua New Guinea.

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Numeral Cardinal numbers
1 taitu
2 rua
3 ŋato
4 ŋapa
5 lima
6 lima kanaŋo taitu (5+1)
7 lima kanaŋo rua (5+2)
8 lima kanaŋo ŋato (5+3)
9 lima kanaŋo ŋapa (5+4)
10 saŋao
11 saŋao kanaŋo taitu (10+1)
12 saŋao kanaŋo rua (10+2)
13 saŋao kanaŋo ŋato (10+3)
14 saŋao kanaŋo ŋapa (10+4)
15 saŋao kanaŋo lima (10+5)
16 saŋao kanaŋo lima kanaŋo taitu (10+5+1)
17 saŋao kanaŋo lima kanaŋo rua (10+5+2)
18 saŋao kanaŋo lima kanaŋo ŋato (10+5+3)
19 saŋao kanaŋo lima kanaŋo ŋapa (10+5+4)
20 tamâta taitu (lit. one person)
21 tamâta taitu kanaŋo taitu
22 tamâta taitu kanaŋo rua
23 tamâta taitu kanaŋo ŋato
24 tamâta taitu kanaŋo ŋapa
25 tamâta taitu kanaŋo lima
26 tamâta taitu kanaŋo lima kanaŋo taitu (20+5+1)
27 tamâta taitu kanaŋo lima kanaŋo rua (20+5+2)
28 tamâta taitu kanaŋo lima kanaŋo ŋato (20+5+3)
29 tamâta taitu kanaŋo lima kanaŋo ŋapa (20+5+4)
30 tamâta taitu kanaŋo saŋao (20+10)
40 tamâta rua (lit. two persons, 20x2)
50 tamâta rua kanaŋo saŋao (20x2+10)
60 tamâta ŋato (lit. 3 persons, 20x3)
70 tamâta ŋato kanaŋo saŋao (20x3+10)
80 tamâta ŋapa (lit. 4 persons, 20x4)
90 tamâta ŋapa kanaŋo saŋao (20x4+10)
100 tamâta lima (lit. five persons, 20x5)
121 tamâta lima kanaŋo tamâta taitu kanaŋo taitu (100+20+1)
200 tamâta tamâta (lit. person person)


The Sio counting system is a base-five system which has an element of body part counting. The numbers up to and including five, the 10 and 20, each have a unique name. All other numbers represent combinations of these terms, with the word “kanaŋo” linking the terms. Outside of the counting system, this word is a noun that means “fruit” or “product of”, so within the numbering system it can be roughly translated as “produces”.

It should be emphasized that this original numbering system is rapidly being replaced by the English system. The original numbers are likely to be used up through 10, and may be used up to 20; but beyond this point, only a few older speakers retain the original counting system.

Source: Steven and Dawn Clark. Sio Grammar Essentials. SIL, Ukarumpa, PNG, June 1987.

Information compiled 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 Sio | Numbers

Numbers in Oceanic languages

Ahamb, Apma, Avava, Babatana, Bariai, Big Numbas, Bola, Cheke Holo, Daakaka, Dorig, Fijian, Hiw, Hoava, Kara, Kokota, Kove, Lakon, Lewo, Lote, Lo-Toga, Manam, Maskelynes, Mavea, Mussau-Emira, Mwotlap, Nafsan, Nahavaq, Namakura, Nduke, Neve‘ei, North Efate, Nume, Paama, Papapana, Rotuman, Roviana, Siar, Sio, Sobei, Sursurunga, Tigak, Tamambo, Ubir, Ughele, Vitu

Numbers in other languages

Alphabetical index | Language family index


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