# Answer Key: Numbers

Eloise Kadlecek, Collin Kawan-Hemler, and Shoshana Promer

Exercise 2.1

(b) Compare your transcription with a classmate’s.

VNo. Tǒbi.vel.chäga. 1

Dos. Tǒpa.l.cato. 2

Tres. Chǒna.l.cäyo. 3

Quatro. Täpa.l.tǎa. 4

Exercise 2.2

Possible answers may include periods between the words, accent marks, or ornate lettering.

Exercise 4.1

Your turn! Each of the following numbers is already split into parts for you. Figure out the composition of each number, then explain how they mean what they mean.

**16. chino-bi-tobi**

Fifteen-and-one = 15+1 = 16

**17. chino-bi-topa**

Fifteen-and-two = 15+2 = 17

**or chino-bi-cato**

Fifteen-and-two(set B) = 15+2 = 17

**or ce-chona qui-zaha calle**

Another three will walk to twenty = 3 more until 20 = 20-3 = 17

**18. chino-bi-chona**

Fifteen-and-three = 15+3 = 18

**or ce-topa calle**

Another two until twenty= 20-2 = 18

**or ce-topa qui-zaha calle**

Another two will walk to twenty= 2 more until 20= 20-2= 18

**19. chino-bi-tapa**

Fifteen-and-four = 15+4= 19

**or ce-tobi calle**

Another one until twenty = 20-1 = 19

**or ce-tobi qui-zaha calle**

Another one will walk to twenty = 1 more until 20 = 20-1 = 19

**20. calle**

Twenty

**21. calle-bi-tobi**

Twenty-and-one = 20+1= 21

**22. calle-bi-topa**

Twenty-and-two = 20+2= 22

**or calle-bi-cato**

Twenty-and-two(set B)= 20+2= 22

**23. calle-bi-chona**

Twenty-and-three= 20+3= 23

**or calle-bi-cayo**

Twenty-and-three(set B)= 20+3= 23

**24. calle-bi-tapa**

Twenty-and-four= 20+4= 24

**25. calle-bi-cayo**

Twenty-and-five= 20+5= 25

**26. calle-bi-xopa**

Twenty-and-six = 20+6= 26

**27. calle-bi-cache**

Twenty-and-seven= 20+7= 27

**28. calle-bi-xono**

Twenty-and-eight= 20+8= 28

**29. calle-bi-ga**

Twenty-and-nine= 20+9= 29

**30. calle-bi-chij**

Twenty-and-ten= 20+10= 30

Exercise 4.2

Zapotec seems to use 15 and 20 as anchor numbers (base 15 or 20). English and Spanish use 10 as an anchor number (base 10), counting how many after multiples of ten each number is. All of these languages seem to use multiples of 5 as their bases, most likely due to the number of fingers we have, but the difference is which multiple of 5 is used. Answers will vary.

Exercise 4.3

Ready for a challenge? In the numbers below you’ll notice that there are no hyphens that divide the words into their meaningful parts. This time, figure out what the parts are and analyze them as you did in Exercise 4.1. (While we stop here at 24,000, the Zapotec number system could be used to count higher, of course! There is no reason it couldn’t continue to count infinitely high.)

**31. callebichijbitobi**

calle-bi-chij-bi-tobi

twenty-and-ten-and-one (20+10+1= 31)

**32. callebichijbitopa**

calle-bi-chij-bi-topa

twenty-and-ten-and-two (20+10+2= 32)

**33. callebichijbichona**

calle-bi-chij-bi-chona

twenty-and-ten-and-three (20+10+3= 33)

**35. callebichino**

calle-bi-chino

Twenty-and-fifteen ((20+15= 35)

**40. toua**

Forty

**41. touabitobi**

toua-bi-tobi= Forty-and-one= 40+1= 41

**50. touabichij**

Toua-bi-chi= forty-and-ten= 40+10= 50

**51. touabichijbitobi**

toua-bi-chij-bi-tobi= forty-and-ten-and-one= 40+10+1= 51

**60. cayona**

Sixty

**100. cayoa**

One hundred

**120. xopalalle**

xopa-lalle= six-twenty= 6×20= 120

**130. xopalallebichij**

xopa-lalle-bi-chij= six-twenty-and-ten= 6×20+10= 130

**140. cachelalle**

cache-lalle= seven-twenty- 7×20= 140

**200. chija**

Two-hundred

**400. tobiela**

tobi-ela= one-four hundred= 1×400= 400

**500. tobiela cayoa**

Tobi-ela cayoa= four hundred one hundred= 400+100= 500

**600. tobiela chija**

Four hundred two hundred= 400+200= 600

**800. topaela**

topa-ela= two-four hundred- 2×400= 800

**1000. catoela chija**

cato-ela chija= two(set B)-four hundred two-hundred= 2×400+200= 1000

**1600. tapaela**

tapa-ela= four-four hundred= 4×400= 1600

**2000. cayoela**

cayo-ela= five-four hundred= 5×400= 2000

**4000. chijela**

chij-ela= ten-four hundred= 10*400= 4000

**8000. chagaçoti or tobiçoti**

chaga-çoti= one(set B)-eight thousand= 1×8000=8000

tobi-çoti= one(set A)-eight thousand= 1×8000=8000

**24000. chonaçoti**

chona-çoti= three-eight thousand= 3×8000=24000

Exercise 4.4

Explain how the phrase *tapa ella chela cayona bixopa* means ‘1666’. Some words may be spelled slightly differently than you saw above!

(This number appears in the first couple lines of a bill of sale written in San Miguel Etla in 1666. You can see the images here: https://ticha.haverford.edu/en/texts/SME666/.)

Tapa ella chela cayona bixopa

4 400 60 and 6

tapa ella chela cayona bi-xopa=

four-four hundred sixty-and-six= 4×400+60+6= 1666

Exercise 4.5

Ready for a challenge? Based on the pattern you figured out in Exercises 4.1, 4.3, and 4.4, how do you think you would say the following numbers in Colonial Valley Zapotec?

**74**

cayonabichijbitapa= 60+10+4= 74

**86**

cayonabicallebixopa

**97**

cechona quizaha cayoa= 3 will walk to 100= 100-3= 97

**124**

Cayoa callebitapa

**136**

Cayoa callebichijbixopa

**402**

tobielabitopa= 400+2= 402

Exercise 5.1

10-14: base 10

15-19: base 15

20+: base 20

Exercise 5.2

The Mayan number system used dots and bars. It is base 20, similar to some numbers in the Zapotec number system. These dots and bars (5 dots equals one bar) are combined in ways similar to the Zapotec numerical system, where they add numbers to the bases to make a larger number. So you could have a number like 425, and the bars would be stacked on top of each other, the top being the 400s place (so one dot) the middle being the 20s place (one dot) and the bottom being the 1s place, so a bar (equaling 5).

Exercise 6.1

Although similarities can be seen, in today’s spoken version, vowels at the end are almost always omitted, and ‘bi’, which in the Colonial written version was used as ‘and’ is not used in the modern version. The numbers seemed to have changed by losing the vowels at the end and having a more drawn out sound in the middle. Also instead of calle (or starting with a c) these numbers start with a g, so this can show us the spelling and pronunciation of the word for 20 has changed. Answers may vary.

Exercise 6.2 How does it work in your language?

What are the numbers like in your language? What similarities and differences do you notice between the numbers in your language and the numbers in Colonial Valley Zapotec?

Answers may vary based on language. Possible answers may talk about bases and how numbers are constructed.

In English, higher numbers are made up of parts similar to Colonial Valley Zapotec. However, the English number system is based on multiples of 10, while this version of Zapotec uses 20 as the base number.

Exercise 6.3

In Isthmus Zapotec, the names of the numbers themselves are very similar to Colonial Valley Zapotec, with some variation. Additionally, 20 is used as a base number, with forty being two times twenty, sixty being three times 20, and so on. This is the same as Colonial Valley Zapotec. There are differences between the spelling between the variants: c could be used in place of g, because they are minimal pairs (two sounds that differ by only one feature).

Here are numbers in Isthmus Zapotec

1 – tobi

2 – chupa

3 – chonna

4 – tapa

5 – gaayu’

6 – xhoopa’

7 – gadxe

8 – xhono

9 – ga’

10 – chii