large numbers in Angguruk Yali

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 Angguruk Yali which uses a system that ends at the number 27. To circumvent this limitation, the Angguruk Yali translators adopted a strategy where a large number is first indicated with an approximation via the traditional system, followed by the exact number according to Arabic numerals. For example, where in 2 Samuel 6:1 it says “thirty thousand” in the English translation, the Angguruk Yali says teng-teng angge 30.000 or “so many rounds [following the body part tally system] 30,000,” likewise, in Acts 27:37 where the number “two hundred seventy-six” is used, the Angguruk Yali translation says teng-teng angge 276 or “so many rounds 276,” or in John 6:10 teng-teng angge 5.000 for “five thousand.”

This strategy is used in all the verses referenced here.

Source: Lourens de Vries in The Bible Translator 1998, p. 409ff.

See also numbers in Ngalum and numbers in Kombai.

Translation commentary on Numbers 26:44 - 26:47

This paragraph is about the census of the tribe of Asher. It runs parallel to the previous paragraphs in this chapter dealing with the census of other tribes (see the comments on verses 5-7 and 12-14). The clans of Asher descended from his sons Imnah, Ishvi and Beriah, and Beriah’s sons Heber and Malchi-el (see Gen 46.17; 1 Chr 7.30-31).

And the name of the daughter of Asher was Serah: Serah is also mentioned in Gen 46.17 and 1 Chr 7.30. In this context of a military census, this sentence seems a striking interruption; it heightens the importance of Serah and the role of women in general (so Cole, page 460). The parentheses in New International Version around this sentence are likely to suggest to some readers that its information is unimportant, so it is better not to use them.

Quoted with permission from de Regt, Lénart J. and Wendland, Ernst R. A Handbook on Numbers. (UBS Helps for Translators). Miami: UBS, 2016. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .