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The analysis of counting system in Slovio

Dushkin R. V.
Moscow, 25.06.03

Русская версия ·]

The planned language of Slovio, like any natural human languages, has its own counting system, which let to name integer and real numbers, as well as ordinal and cardinal numbers. But in current version of Slovio (number 2.59) the counting system is very odd for Slavic languages, especially some words for naming the numbers from 0 to 10. Because of this I tried to analyze all living Slavic languages with the goal to determine and discover the common things in the counting systems of Slavic languages, which can be used to create new counting system for Slovio.

Current counting system of Slovio

Slovio was created as the language for international and interslavic conversation, which could be understandable by all Slavic people without learning. But the counting system of current version of Slovio lies far from perfection, it has some words, which are hard to understand. Next table contains the current counting system of Slovio:

Table 1. Current counting system of Slovio

0 nul 26 dva-des-sxes
1 din 27 dva-des-siem
2 dva 28 dva-des-vos
3 tri 29 dva-des-dev
4 cxtir 30 tri-des
5 piat 40 cxtir-des
6 sxes 50 piat-des
7 siem 60 sxes-des
8 vos 70 siem-des
9 dev 80 vos-des
10 des 90 dev-des
11 des-din 100 sto
12 des-dva 200 dva-sto
13 des-tri 300 tri-sto
14 des-cxtir 400 cxtir-sto
15 des-piat 500 piat-sto
16 des-sxes 600 sxes-sto
17 des-siem 700 siem-sto
18 des-vos 800 vos-sto
19 des-dev 900 dev-sto
20 dva-des 1000 tisicx
21 dva-des-din 10 000 des-tisicx
22 dva-des-dva 100 000 sto-tisicx
23 dva-des-tri 1 000 000 din-milion
24 dva-des-cxtir 2 000 000 dva-milion
25 dva-des-piat 3 000 000 tri-milion

These numbers are sufficient for word-formation of all numerals (till milliard). For example, the number of 5 476 387 will be written in Slovio like "piat-milion cxtir-sto-siem-des-sxes-tisicx tri-sto-vos-des-siem". Apparently this inscription isn't very understandable, although it looks like some Slavic language. But pure analytics of such counting system is present — it can be seen on the example of number 22.

In addition such words like "din", "vos" "dev" and "des" are totally odd for Slavic human, especially if they are out of context. Of course, one can see the tendency of the Slovio developer to make the counting system simple, including monosyllabic words for basic numerals. But this decreases the comprehension of the words, and this is the cause of bad comprehension at all.

Therefore we have to compare the counting systems of all living Slavic languages. There are 13 of such languages, but the comparison will be carried out on 12 languages (unfortunately, I didn't find the counting system of Lower Sorbian). These 12 languages include: Byelorussian, Bulgarian, Upper Sorbian, Macedonian, Polish, Russian, Serbian, Slovakian, Slovenian, Ukrainian, Croatian and Czech. Serbian and Croatian languages are distinguished advisedly, although lots of linguists count them as one Serbo-Croatian language and its numerous dialects. But today's in most political realities force to make such distinguishing. What concerns the existence of so called "Bosnian language" is the pure scientific mystification, since the dialect of Bosnians Muslims differs from Serbo-Croatian only by good number of Turkish loan words, most number of which is related to religious life of Muslims. Macedonian is counted by small group of Bulgarian scientists as west dialect of Bulgarian language.

The comparison of counting systems in living Slavic languages

For the reason of not jamming the text with great comparison table, this comparison will be divided into three parts, and each will be concern only one branch of Slavic languages: East-Slavic, West-Slavic and South-Slavic.

Next table shows the East-Slavic branch of Slavic languages, which consists of three languages: Byelorussian, Russian and Ukrainian. Various small languages, which are counted by most scientists as the dialects of three forenamed, don't rate (for example, Rusinian dialect of Ukrainian, which is used in some regions in West Ukraine).

Table 2. The comparison of East-Slavic languages

  Byelorussian Russian Ukrainian
0 нуль ноль нуль
1 адзiн один один
2 два два два
3 тры три три
4 чатыры четыре чотири
5 пяць пять п'ять
6 шэсць шесть шiсть
7 сем семь сiм
8 восем восемь вiсiм
9 дзевяць девять дев'ять
10 дзесяць десять десят
11 адзiнаццаць одиннадцать одинадцять
12 дванаццаць двенадцать двонадцять
13 трынаццаць тринадцать тринадцять
14 чатырнаццаць четырнадцать чотирнадцять
15 пятнаццаць пятнадцать п'ятнадцять
16 шаснаццаць шестнадцать шістнадцять
17 семнаццаць семнадцать сімнадцять
18 васемнаццаць восемнадцать вісімнадцять
19 дзевятнаццаць девятнадцать дев'ятнадцять
20 дваццаць двадцать двадцять
21 дваццаць адзiн двадцать один двадцять один
22 дваццаць два двадцать два двадцять два
23 дваццаць тры двадцать три двадцять три
24 дваццаць чатыры двадцать четыре двадцять чотири
25 дваццаць пяць двадцать пять двадцять п'ять
26 дваццаць шэсць двадцать шесть двадцять шiсть
27 дваццаць сем двадцать семь двадцять сiм
28 дваццаць восем двадцать восемь двадцять вiсiм
29 дваццаць дзевяць двадцать девять двадцять дев'ять
30 трыццаць тридцать тридцять
40 сорак сорок сорок
50 пяцьдзесят пятьдесят п'ятдесят
60 шэсцьдзесят шестьдесят шістдесят
70 семдзесят семдесят сімдесят
80 восемдзесят восемдесят вісімдесят
90 дзевяноста девяносто дев'яносто
100 сто сто сто
200 двесцi двести двісті
300 трыста триста триста
400 чатырыста четыреста чотириста
500 пяцьсот пятьсот п'ятьсот
600 шэсцьсот шестьсот шiстьсот
700 семсот семьсот сiмсот
800 васемсот восемсот вiсiмсот
900 дзевяцьсот девятьсот дев'ятьсот
1000 тысяча тысяча тисяча
10 000 дзесяць тысяч десять тысяч десят тисяч
100 000 сто тысяц сто тысяч сто тисяч
1 000 000 мiльён миллион мильон
2 000 000 два мiльёны два миллиона два мильона
3 000 000 тры мiльены три милиона три мильона

The West-Slavic branch of Slavic family is presented by four languages: Upper Sorbian, Polish, Slovakian and Czech. Unfortunately I have to repeat that I didn't find the counting system in Lower Sorbian. And though lots of scientists count Upper Sorbian and Lower Sorbian as the dialects of one Sorbian language, but we have to note the important differences in lexical and syntax structure of these languages, and this let us argue for two languages, but not two dialects.

The table doesn't consist of small languages, which are counted as dialects of Polish or Czech by most scientists. For example, Kashubian language is rated only as Polish dialect. I could make an attempt to find the counting system of Polabian language, which has only the dictionary with 5000 words as remains, but this language is dead now (the result of genocide of Slavs in Germany).

Table 3. The comparison of West-Slavic languages

  Upper Sorbian Lower Sorbian Polish Slovakian Czech
0 nul   zero nula nula
1 jedyn jaden jeden jeden jeden
2 dwaj dwa dwa dva dva
3 tři tśi trzy tri tři
4 štyri styri cztery štiri čtyři
5 pjeć pěś pięć pät' pět
6 šěsć šěsć sześć šest' šest
7 sydom sedym siedem sedem sedm
8 wosom wósym osiem osem osm
9 dźewjeć źewjeś dziewięć devät' devět
10 dźesać źaseś dziesięć desat' deset
11 jědnaće   jedenaście jedenast' jedenáct
12 dwanaće   dwanaście dvanast' dvanáct
13 třinaće   trzynaście trinast' třináct
14 štyrnaće   czternaście štrnast' čtrnáct
15 pjatnaće   piętnaście pätnast' patnáct
16 šěsnaće   szesnaście šestnast' šestnáct
17 sydomnaće   siedemnaście sedemnast' sedmnáct
18 wosomnaće   osiemnaście osemnast' osmnáct
19 dźewjatnaće   dziewiętnaście devätnast' devatenáct
20 dwaceći dwaźasća dwadzieścia dvadsat' dvacet
21 jedynadwaceći jadenadwaźasća dwadzieścia jeden dvadsat'-jeden dvacet jeden
22 dwajadwaceći   dwadzieścia dwa dvadstat'-dva dvacet dva
23 třiadwaceći   dwadzieścia trzy dvadsat'-tri dvacet tři
24 štyriadwaceći   dwadzieścia cztery dvadsat'-štiri dvacet čtyři
25 pjećadwaceći   dwadzieścia pięć dvadsat'-pät' dvacet pět
26 šěsćadwaceći   dwadzieścia sześć dvadsat'-šest' dvacet šest
27 sydomadwaceći   dwadzieścia siedem dvadsat'-sedem dvacet sedm
28 wosomadwaceći wosymadwaźasća dwadzieścia osiem dvadsat'-osem dvacet osm
29 dewjeadwaceći   dwadzieścia dziewięć dvadsat'-devät' dvacet devět
30 třiceći tśizasća trzydzieści tridsat' třicet
40 štyrceći   czterdzieści štiridsat' čtyřicet
50 pjećdesat   pięćdziesiąt pät'desiat padesát
60 šěsćdesat   sześćdziesiąt šesdesiat šedesát
70 sydomdesat   siedemdziesiąt sedemdesiat sedmdesát
80 wosomdesat   osiemdziesiąt osemdesiat osmdesát
90 dźewjećdesat   dziewięćdziesiąt devät'desiat devadesát
100 sto sto sto sto sto
200 dwěsćě   dwieście dvesto dvěstě
300 třista   trzysta tristo třista
400 štyrista   czterysta štiristo čtyřista
500 pjećstow   pięćset pät'sto pětset
600 šěsćstow   sześćset šest'sto šestset
700 sydomstow   siedemset sedemsto sedmset
800 wosomstow   osiemset osemsto osmset
900 dźewjećstow   dziewięćset devät'sto devětset
1000 tysac tawsynt tysiąc tisic tisíc
10 000 desa tysac   dziesięć tysięcy desat'-tisic deset tisíc
100 000 sto tysac   sto tysięcy sto-tisic sto tisíc
1 000 000 milion   milion milion milion
2 000 000 dwaj miliona   dwa miliony dva milion dva miliony
3 000 000 tři miliona   trzy miliony tri milion tři miliony

The South-Slavic branch of Slavic languages family is presented by five languages: Bulgarian, Macedonian, Serbian, Slovenian and Croatian. As stated above, Macedonian and Bulgarian, as well as Serbian and Croatian are counted as different languages. I have to point to that Serbian uses Cyrillic as alphabet, and Croatian — Latin, and this very limited set of lexemes (52 words) has one difference in these languages (the word for 1000).

Table 4. The comparison of South-Slavic languages

  Bulgarian Macedonian Serbian Slovenian Croatian
0 нула нула нула nié nula
1 едно еден jедан ena jedan
2 две два два dva dva
3 три три три tri tri
4 четири четири четири štiri četiri
5 пет пет пет pet pet
6 шест шест шест šest šest
7 седем седум седам sedem sedam
8 осем осум осам osem osam
9 девет девет девет devet devet
10 десет десет десет deset deset
11 единадесет единаесет jеданаест enajst jedanaest
12 дванадесет дванаесет дванаест dvanajst dvanaest
13 тринадесет тринаесет тринаест trinajst trinaest
14 четиринадесет четиринаесет четрнаест štirinajst četrnaest
15 петнадесет петнаесет петнаест petnajst petnaest
16 шестнадесет шестнаесет шеснаест šestnajst šestnaest
17 седемнадесет седумнаесет седамнаест sedemnajst sedamnaest
18 осемнадесет осумнаесет осамнаест osemnajst osamnaest
19 деветнадесет деветнаесет деветнаест devetnajst devetnaest
20 двадесет дваесет двадесет dvajset dvadeset
21 двадесет и едно дваесет и еден двадесетjедан enaindvajset dvadesetjedan
22 двадесет и две дваесет и два двадесетдва dvaindvajset dvadesetdva
23 двадесет и три дваесет и три двадесеттри triindvajset dvadesettri
24 двадесет и четири дваесет и четири двадесетчетири štiriindvajset dvadesetčetiri
25 двадесет и пет дваесет и пет двадесетпет petindvajset dvadesetpet
26 двадесет и шест дваесет и шест двадесетшест šestindvajset dvadesetšest
27 двадесет и седем дваесет и седум двадесетседам sedemindvajset dvadesetsedam
28 двадесет и осем дваесет и осум двадесетосам osemindvajset dvadesetosam
29 двадесет и девет дваесет и девет двадесетдевет devetindvajset dvadesetdevet
30 тридесет триесет тридесет trideset trideset
40 четиредесет четириесет четрдесет štirideset četrdeset
50 петдесет пеесет пеесет petdeset peeset
60 шестдесет шеесет шездесет šestdeset šezdeset
70 седемдесет седумдесет седамдесет sedemdeset sedamdeset
80 осемдесет осумдесет осамдесет osemdeset osamdeset
90 деветдесет деведесет деведесет devetdeset devedeset
100 сто сто сто sto sto
200 двеста двеста двеста dvesto dvesta
300 триста триста трста tristo trsta
400 четиристостин четрсто четристо štiristo četristo
500 петстотин петсто петсто petsto petsto
600 шестстонин шесто шесто šeststo šesto
700 седемстонин седумсто седамсто sedemsto sedamsto
800 осемстотин осумстотини осамсто osemsto osamsto
900 деветстотин девестотини деветсто devetsto devetsto
1000 хиляда илjада хиљаду tisoé tisuću
10 000 десет хидяди десет илjади десет хиљада deset tisoé deset tisuća
100 000 сто хиляди сто илjади сто хиљада sto tisoé sto tisuća
1 000 000 милион милион милион milijon milion
2 000 000 два милиона два милиона два милиона dva milijona dva miliona
3 000 000 три милиона три милиона три милиона trije milijoni tri miliona

Hence it is seen that the lexical set of all three tables differs from current counting system in Slovio. At the same time the tables contemporizes with each other, especially in phonetic aspect. Therefore the violation of the principle of Slovio understanding by every Slavic man without learning is revealed. But this principle is one of fundamental principles of Slovio.

The counting system is very important part of any language, so the obliteration of this principle damages the very idea of Slovio. So the necessity of creation of suggestions of new counting system for Slovio arises, although such a revolutionary step may scare some people, who started to learn Slovio. But at my point of view, it is better to do it early, but not to trample the fundamental principles of Slovio. Even more so the language is the dynamically developing system, and the planned languages must not stay in stagnation.

The suggestion of new counting system for Slovio

The first thing from current Slovio counting system, which goes before eyes, is the odd word for the number of 1 — din. All Slavic languages have beginning vowel (with [j] sound or not), the vowel without [j] sound comes only from East-Slavic languages, but in this case there are the words with [j] sound too (comp. Russian word "единый"). So I suggest the word jedin for naming 1.

The next odd word — cxtir (4). It is even hard to pronounce, since one want to put vowel after [cx] sound. And Russian man unambiguously puts reduced [ь] sound after it. And from comparison tables it is seen that in all Slavic languages, except for West-Slavic branch, there exist such vowel. So the suggestion for 4 looks like: cxetiri.

The number of 6 lost its ending sound [t] — it must be restored. Let the word looks like sxest. The number of 7 has in all languages, except for East-Slavic, the sound [d] in the middle, although there are some words with middle [d] in East-Slavic languages (comp. Russian word "седмица" — "a week"). So the most understandable word for 7 will be siedm.

The next three words for naming the numbers of 8, 9 and 10 lost their endings, so the words became monosyllables. This fact extremely hardens the understanding, so one can't understand these words out of context. Therefore according to al comparison tables I suggest to restore endings and make the words as follows: vosem, devet and deset.

The numbers from 11 till 19 take special place within the Slavic (and even Indo-European) languages. The words for their naming are distinguishable from the common set of words for naming of two-digit numbers. So I consider that there is no necessity to decline this exclusion, even more it will be understandable by all Indo-Europeans (for example, in every Germanic language there exist such phenomenon). Only what we have to do is the revelation of common basis for naming of 10 within the concerned numbers. One can use the word deset, but in this case the words for naming 12 and 20 will be very similar: dva-na-deset and dva-deset. And more in all Slavic languages there is a separated and pared-down basis for naming 10 within the numbers from 11 till 19. So I suggest using the suffix -set for designation: jedin-na-set, dva-na-set etc. Apparently this solution lies very close to all Slavic languages (see comparison tables).

All other words for naming of two-digit numbers can be found purely analytically and absolutely in the same way, as it is done in current version of Slovio. Only it can be noted that the use of "i" conjunction is optional (such conjunction is used only in Bulgarian and Macedonian). Such obvious anomalies in East-Slavic languages like the words for 40 and 90 couldn't be used in Slovio, since they are absent in other Slavic languages. So the words for 40 and 90 in Slovio are as follows: cxetiri-deset and devet-deset.

Other words are more or less understandable and are similar to the words from current version of counting system. So the next table shows the suggestion of new counting system.

Table 5. The suggestion of new counting system for Slovio

0 nul 26 dva-deset [i] sxest
1 jedin 27 dva-deset [i] siedm
2 dva 28 dva-deset [i] vosem
3 tri 29 dva-deset [i] devet
4 cxetiri 30 tri-deset
5 piat 40 cxetiri-deset
6 sxest 50 piat-deset
7 siedm 60 sxest-deset
8 vosem 70 siedm-deset
9 devet 80 vosem-deset
10 deset 90 devet-deset
11 jedin-na-set 100 sto
12 dva-na-set 200 dva-sto
13 tri-na-set 300 tri-sto
14 cxetiri-na-set 400 cxetiri-sto
15 piat-na-set 500 piat-sto
16 sxest-na-set 600 sxest-sto
17 siedm-na-set 700 siedm-sto
18 vosem-na-set 800 vosem-sto
19 devet-na-set 900 devet-sto
20 dva-deset 1000 tisicx
21 dva-deset [i] jedin 10 000 deset-tisicx
22 dva-deset [i] dva 100 000 sto-tisix
23 dva-deset [i] tri 1 000 000 milion
24 dva-deset [i] cxetiri 2 000 000 dva-milion
25 dva-deset [i] piat 3 000 000 tri-milion

Let's write down by the words from this table the same number, as we wrote earlier. The number of 5 476 387 will be "piat-milion cxetiri-sto-siedm-desest-sxest-tisicx tri-sto-vosem-deset-siedm". I read this sentence to my colleagues, and every said the number right.

It is seen that new counting system is more adequately reflects the counting systems of all living Slavic languages, so I suggest it to use instead of current.


With pleasure I want to express the great gratitude to all people, who helped me with the compilation of comparison tables. All these people responded to my requests with full comprehension and heartfulness.

  • Byelorussian: Andrey Borushko
  • Bulgarian: Cvetelina Petrova
  • Upper Sorbian: Edward Wornar
  • Macedonian: Orce Dimitrievsky
  • Lower Sorbian: Grzegorz Jagodzinski
  • Polish: Tomasz Witkowski
  • Serbian: Vladislav Obrenovic
  • Slovakian: Mark Hucko
  • Slovenian: Andrey Yarc
  • Ukrainian: Yana Musatova
  • Croatian: Vladislav Obrenovic
  • Czech: Lenka Gorakova

Also I will be very grateful, if anyone will report me about the mistakes in the comparison tables (if any), and for the counting system of Lower Sorbian language.

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