Number and Numeracy in Aari

Main Article Content

Fekede Menuta


Number here refers to a grammatical category as it is reflected in nouns, adjective andverbs. On the other hand, numeracy refers to a lexical entity that helps to count as incardinal numerals, and to order as in ordinal numerals. The objective of this article wasto describe number and numeracy in Aari thereby shows how both number and numeralare largely associated with human body and the participants in communication (thepersons) in a given interaction. The research followed structuralism approach andqualitative methodology. Linguistic data were collected from five key informants whoare native speakers of the language. The data were described as they were produced,however, by reducing them to the phonemic level. IPA and Leipzig’s morpheme-by-morpheme glossing rules were used for transcription and glossing, respectively. Thefinding showed that nouns and adjectives uniformly use {-na} to show plural, and thesingular is not marked. This morpheme is not associated with body or person. On theother hand, numbers in verbs are marked with person agreement morphemes: the firstperson singular is {-it-} 2 , and the plural is {-ot-}; the second person singular is {-aj-}, andthe plural is {-at-}; and the third person singular is {-ø-} which means not marked, andthe plural is {-ɛk- }. Numerals in Aari are quite unique; the numbers 1-7 and 10 arebasic, and are not strictly associated with body. Numerals 8 and 9 are compound that arederived by mathematical computation, that is, by subtracting two and one from 10,respectively. Numerals from 20 and above are based on human body. For instance, 20 isboonda literally 'one full person', and 30 is e-wolɛχbab its-ke afɛ-tɛma [full- one. personeat- and mouth-ten] which again literally means 'a full person and ten mouths ready toeat’. Ordinal numeral basically operate only for numbers 1-10, and it is shown with {-si}. The complex numeral systems are recently modified for pedagogical reason. Thismay endanger the pre-existing counting system as children will have the access only forthe modified forms.

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How to Cite
Menuta, F. (1). Number and Numeracy in Aari. The Ethiopian Journal of Social Sciences and Language Studies (EJSSLS), 5(1), 21- 39. Retrieved from
Author Biography

Fekede Menuta, Hawassa University

PhD, School of Language and Communication Studies, Hawassa University.+2519462127511;