numbers in Ngalum

Many languages use a “body part tally system” where body parts function as numerals (see body part tally systems with a description). One such language is Ngalum that uses a system that ends at the number 27 but can be extended. To clarify, the Ngalum translators have in some cases combined the traditional system with a numeric system.

“60,” for instance is translated as deng lao topa bangupnen tep, 60 “round two add wrist like, 60′ (one round, or deng is 27 in Ngalum, so two rounds — lao — is 54, plus — topabangup, that is “wrist” or “six” makes 60).

Likewise for the numbers 30 and 100 in these verses.

Source: Lourens de Vries in A survey of the history of Bible translation in Indonesia, Beekman Lecture 2013.

See also large numbers in Angguruk Yali and numbers in Kombai.

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