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Klaus Bung:
Regularities in Hindi-Urdu numerals,

or: The Jihad against Number Iblis

Part A: Contents

Go to title image

Dr Klaus Bung
68 Brantfell Road
Blackburn BB1-8DL

email and tel number

First published on the Internet on 2010-03-06

© 2010 Klaus Bung

Musical interludes
Asato ma sat gamaya

From the unreal lead us to the real,
From darkness lead us to light.
From death lead us to immortality.


Part A: Contents and summary

Part B: Preface

Part C: The data

Part D: The rows

Part E: The columns

Part F: Rows vs columns

Part G: Measuring complexity

Part H: Teaching and learning

Part I: Bibliography

Detailed table of contents

Part A: Table of contents - "You are here"

Part B: Preface

Number systems easy and difficult

99 unrelated numerals to memorise

Darkness covers the earth

Part C: The data


Raw data input: Which forms of the numerals are correct?

Bright Table A - 1 to 50

Bright Table B - 51 to 99

Comparison table Bailey-Firth vs Schmidt vs Bright

Hindi-Urdu number matrix

Suggested morpheme boundaries marked by hyphens

Sequence of components ('blackbirds sequence')

Numbers ending in 9 (the ekuna system)

Compound numbers ending in 9 : Introduction to ekuna numbers

The ekuna system in various Indo-European languages

The ekuna system in Sanskrit

The ekuna system in Classical Greek

The ekuna system in Latin

Ekuna in Old English

89 and 99 (counting-up system)

Part D: The rows

Row 10 to 18 (3 variants), Complexity: 0.33

Distribution of "ra"

16 = so-la

Retroflex sounds

Distribution of retroflex sounds

Row 20 to 28 (3 variants), Complexity: 0.3

Distribution of "iis"

Row 30 to 38 (2 variants), Complexity: 0.2

Row 40 to 48 (2 variants), Complexity: 0.2

Distribution of "taaliis"

Row 50 to 58 (5 variants), Complexity: 0.5

Distribution of "van"

Row 60 to 68 (3 variants), Complexity: 0.3

Distribution of "saTh"

Row 70 to 78 (2 variants), Complexity: 0.2

Note on complexity and learning difficulty

Distribution of "hattar"

Row 80 to 89 (2 variants), Complexity: 0.18 (God is merciful)

Distribution of "aasii"

Row 90 to 99 (2 variants), Complexity: 0.2

Distribution of "aanve"

Comparison of all exploded row-diagrams

Best of all possible worlds

Goethe: Im Atemholen

Stamping on Number Iblis

Part E: The columns

Battle against Number Iblis

Column 10 (multiples of 10)

Column 11 to 91 (5 variants), Complexity: 0.56

Distribution of "ik" (Column 11)

Suggested derivation of "giaa-ra"

Column 12 to 92 (3 variants), Complexity: 0.33

Distribution of "baa" (Column 12)

Column 13 to 93 (5 variants), Complexity: 0.56

Column 14 to 94 (3 variants), Complexity: 0.33

Distribution of "cau" (Column 14)

The Hindi-Urdu variants compared to Sanskrit

"4" in some related languages

Column 15 to 95 (5 variants), Complexity: 0.56

Useful relationships, but not derivations

Some modern words related to "panc"

Relationship table for the variants of 5

Column 16 to 96 (4 variants), Complexity: 0.44

Column 17 to 97 (6 variants), Complexity: 0.67

Nasals among the numerals

Distribution of nasals

Column 18 to 98 (5 variants), Complexity: 0.56

Distribution of retroflex sounds

Column 19 to 99

Column 19 to 79, ekuna system (3 variants), Complexity: 0.43

Distribution of "un"

Column 89 to 99, counting-up-system (2 variants), "Complexity: 1.0"

Comparison of all exploded column-diagrams

Part F: Rows vs columns

Schmidt's Number Matrix

The importance of fluency

Rows presented as columns

Rows exploded

Columns exploded

Part G: Measuring complexity

Measuring complexity for each row and each column

Why we want a measure of complexity

Tabulating the complexity index

Basic table (in numerical sequence of rows and colums)

Rows table in ascending order of complexity

Columns table in ascending order of complexity

The easiest and the most difficult row and column

Learning sequence: The starting blocks

Learning sequence for rows, from easy to difficult

Learning sequence for columns, from easy to difficult

Part H: Teaching and learning

Multiples of 11

Do not confuse

Implications for teachers and learners

Recommendations for mechanical practice

The workbook and its contents

Hindi-Urdu Roulette

Light triumphs over darkness, order triumphs over chaos, Number Iblis is defeated at last

Part I: Bibliography



In spite of the arrival of Unicode, one still cannot rely on "rare" characters being reliably reproduced on the Internet. Too much depends on the recipient, his browser, the fonts he has installed on his system, whether he has foreign language support installed, and for which languages, etc.

I even noticed that e-chevron (alt-136) ê, u-chevron (alt-150) û (and some other chevron vowels) came out correctly in Times New Roman but as entirely different characters when typed in, or copied and pasted into, Garamond.

To be absolutely safe in this respect, I had to adopt a transliteration system which I heartily dislike, e.g. "aa" etc for long "a", "a" for short "a" and shwa. I even had to refrain from use the tilde to represent nasalisation (and used the more reliable chevron instead). I could not use dots underneath consonants to indicate retroflex sounds but had to use capital consonants instead.

The fancy characters, which are so clear and convenient, including the IPA, are reliable enough when producing texts on paper, where the author can control what the reader will see. On the Internet this is not the case. The author can do no more than nudge the reader but he cannot control what the reader sees - and the reader is usually not even aware of the fact that HE, rather than the author, is responsible for what he sees. I did not want to run this risk of being misinterpreted. Therefore I adopted the following system.

  • "aa, ii, uu" are long vowels.
  • "a, i, u" are short vowels.
  • "a" (the shwa-sound) (unlike "aa") is pronounced like the last syllable in "mother"
  • "â, ê, î, û" are nasals.
  • "e" is pronounced like "e" in French "chez" or German "geht".
  • "c" is pronounced like "ch" in "church".
  • "ch" is an aspirated "c" (sometimes transliterated by others as "chh"; like "church" plus aspiration).
  • "T" and "R" are retroflex sounds.
  • "t" is dental, "r" is alveolar.
  • "th" is aspirated "t", "Th" is aspirated "T".
Asci codes of chevron vowels used for nasals
  • â (alt-131)
  • ê (alt-136)
  • î (alt-140)
  • û (alt-150)



to be posted later