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Lesson 7
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Teo ai dadau -  Seven and counting

In the previous chapter we encountered the basic numerals from one to ten. When the word for "ten" nini is combined with these basic numerals, the tens are formed:

 sun - two

 yem - three

 pan - four

 jom - five

 vai - six

 teo - seven

 dia - eight

 sasta - nine

 sun + nini  

 yem + nini

 pan + nini  

 jom + nini  

 vai + nini  

 teo + nini  

 dia + nini

 sasta + nini

= sunini - twenty

= yenini - thirty

= panini - fourty

= jonini - fifty

= vainini - sixty

= teonini - seventy

= dianini - eighty

= sastanini - ninety

Basic numerals are placed directly after the tens:

 11 - nini kwa

 12 - nini sun

 13 - nini yem

 14 - nini pan

 15 - nini jom

 16 - nini vai

 17 - nini teo

 18 - nini dia

 19 - nini sasta

 21 - sunini kwa

 22 - sunini sun

 23 - sunini yem

 24 - sunini pan

 25 - sunini jom

 26 - sunini vai

 27 - sunini teo

 28 - sunini dia

 29 - sunini sasta

 34 - yenini pan

 45 - panini jom

 56 - jonini vai

 67 - vainini teo

 78 - teonini dia

 89 - dianini sasta

 92 - sastanini sun

7.1 Hala Yunus?


Nur: -Hea ba! Yau, weyun bua sin ha?

Nour: -Oh sir! Excuse me, have you seen my little brother?

Buyu: -Tente...Hashi yunkule?

Man: -Perhaps...What does he look like?

Nur: -Yu wen shau fafau, wengo sengo lam ai pesan ai yunkule himing wi.

Nour: -He is about this tall, wears a white and green djellaba and looks very obnoxious. 

Buyu: -La sankane tila tilulu ha?

Man: -Did he have a parrot on his shoulder?

Nur: -Sankane ha? Yoyong!

Nour: -A parrot? Not at all! 

Buyu: -Tontoye, weyun.

Man: -In that case, I saw him.

Nour: -Nen, hano nuchu?

Nur: -Okay, where did he go?

Buyu: -Nong jo ala de lai, esto jo ala yun yu lai.

Man: -I don't know where he went, but I know where I saw him.

Nur: -Nen, nen. Tontoye hala yun?

Nour: -Ok, ok. Where did you see him then?

Buyu: -Fafau chaido lu nukodo. Wa chauta la chichu lai.

Man: -Near the teahouse next to the post office. I was just leaving there.

Nour: -Chaido ha? Hala chaido?

Nur: -The teahouse? Where is the teahouse?

Buyu: -Weyun parado ye ha?

Man: -Do you see that bank? 

Nur: -Eo, weyun.

Nour: -Yes, I see it.

Buyu: -Nen. Nuvu lai ai de zano. Sintai lara nuvu deche nuno na yeme la yino.

Man: -Fine, Walk towards it and go right. Now keep walking until the third street on the left side.

Nour: -Nen, la him. Sintai tinti wa de hala?

Nur: -Okay, I'm listening. Then where should I go?

Buyu: -Sintai tim en lutum kaudo, kizado ai pekido. De ano na fanaila sisi.

Man: -Then you must go past the coffee house, the restaurant and the greengrocer's. Just go in the direction of the train station.

Nur: -Fanaila ha? Je en denu nubo fanai ha?

Nour: -The trainstation? Do you think he is going take the train?

Buyu: -Nong, esto podo na shuki fafau lai.

Man: -No, but there is a candy shop nearby.

Nour: -Eo za! Ho denu la podo ye!

Nur: -Gotcha! Surely he will be at that shop!

Buyu: -Nen, linyo nuchu kele bua lo!

Man: -Well, you go look for your brother! 

Nur: -Pai wi lo!

Nour: -Thank you so much!


Nur: -Pai Nam, mama nong denu jamia wa! Weyun yu! Hea Yunus! De lo!

Nour: -Thank God, mom won't kill me! I see him! Hey Yunus! Come here!

Yunus: -Nur! Yun, wu wi shuki!

Yunus: -Nour! Look how much candy I have!

Sankane: -Mai li!

Parrot: -Hey you!

Nur: -Hoi! Hachu za sankane ye ha?

Nour: -Whoa! Where have you got that parrot from?

 hashi - how? like what? in what manner?

 yunkule - to look like

 wen - to be tall, high

 shau  - like this

 fafau - close to, near, nearly, about

 chaido - teahouse

 lu - next to

 nukodo - post office

 chauta - just, right then

 nuchi - to leave, get out of a building

 lai - there

 parado - bank

 nuvu - to walk

 sintai - then, that very moment

 lara - to stay, keep

 deche - until

 nuno - road, way

 him - to listen

 lutum - to pass, go past, pass by

 kaudo - coffee house, café

 kizado  - restaurant

 pekido  - greengrocer's

 fanaila  - train station

 nubo - to enter, take (a means of transportation)

 fanai - train

 podo - shop, store

 kele  - to look for, search

 Nam - God

 jamia - to kill

 hachu - where from?

As you see, a lot of words turned up ending in -do in the text above:

chaido - teahouse

nukodo - post office

parado - bank

kaudo - coffee house, café

kizado  - restaurant

pekido  - greengrocer's

podo - shop, store

Now please compare these words with the following:

chai - tea

nuko - letter, mail

para - to save, save up

kau - coffee

kiza  - to eat

peki  - vegetable's

chaido - teahouse

nukodo - post office

parado - bank

kaudo - coffee house, café

kizado  - restaurant

pekido  - greengrocer's

It looks like the -do suffix denotes the notion "buiding" or "house". In fact, it means "build, construct" and adding it to another root produces a compound word. Compare the following words containing the root do with the roots that were added to it::

jando - to build

dora - to live at, dwell

dola - city, town

doko - adress

sado  - artificial, constructed

podo - shop, store

yudo - house, building

-jam-  to make, do

-ra-  sit, reside at

-la-  be at, place

-ko-  writing

-sa-   shape, form

-po-  trade, commerce

 yu-  person, human

The entire Kah vocabulary is built with roots like these which are coined together in order to form words. Most words consist of two or three roots joined together forming a new semantic unit:


ki + za

food + take

to eat


mun + ki

cause + food

to feed


pa + ra + do

money + sit + house



san + ka + ne

color + speech + bird



sa + do + ka

shape + construct + language

artificial language, conlang


7.2 Sankane nong tengi lara

Nur: -Nen, sintai tim pau sankane ye wai. Yu na huyu?

Nour: -Okay, now you must give that parrot back. Whose is it?

Yunus: -Nong lo! Keju lera yu!

Yunus: -Oh no! I want to keep it!

Nur: -Nong tengi lera. Wanyo dozia meo yeme, win sunini jom ai kwo wiwinya kwi.

Nour: -You can't keep it. We already have three cats, twenty five horses and a zillion chickens. 

Yunus:  -Eye, yuyung nong ke boyun.

Yunus: -Then nobody would notice.

Nur: -Mama eo ke. Mama ho jamia li!

Nour: -Mom would!. Mom is so going to kill you! 

Yunus:  -Yoi! Ke tinki!

Yunus: -Oh dear! He would starve!

Nour: -Wa je nong.

Nur: -I don't think so.

Yunus:  -Eom ke tim kiza lia chu nuno sisi...ewe boi!

Yunus: -Or he would have to eat only worms from the street...even dirt!

Nour: -Yu unga nenje. Ke chele aki layo, chu uyo. Li pau shuki.

Nur: -It's a smart animal. It would find food everywhere, from everybody You gave it candy.

Yunus:  -Uyu la munki bau ye mau ha? Yun wu pesa yunyo!

Yunus: -Are people feeding those dogs too? Look how skinny those are!

Nour: -Aye chumun yuyung nenju bau ye.

Nur: -That's because nobody likes those dogs.

Yunus:  -Tente yuyung nenju sankane mau.

Yunus: -Maybe nobody likes the parrot too.  

Nur: -Yu nenyun. Hashi ke tengi nong nenju?

Nour: -It's beautiful. How could they not like it?

Yunus:  -Li nenyun mau. Nong nenju li toyo.

Yunus: -You're pretty too. I don't like you all the time.

Nour: -Nen. Uyu nong nenju win, mosone eom milua?

Nur: -Fine. Do people not like horses, pigeons or peacocks?

Yunus:  -Kwita weyun milua tas la nuno ha?

Yunus: -Have you ever seen a peachock loose on the streets?

Nur: -Aa, nong...

Nour: -Er, no...

Yunus:  -Aye chumun uyo otinki mia.

Yunus: -That's because they are all starved to death.

Nour: -Yunus zai, sankane ho nong tengi lara. Yu dochu uyu.

Nur: -Dear Yunus, the parrot really can't stay. it belongs to someone.

Yunus:  -Ha ho?

Yunus: -Really?

Nur: -Reshi lo! Eye, sankane ye na huyu?

Nour: -Why sure! Now, whose parrot is it?

Yunus: -Nong jo yoyong. Yu lo chele wa. Nong tengi zachu tilulu. Ke randun wai.

Yunus: -I have no idea. It found me. I can't get it off my shoulder. It would bite me again.

Nur: -Wanen. Tontoye wa be mama denu jamia...

Nour: -Great. Now mom is going to kill me...

 lera - to keep, hold on to

 dozua - to keep, tend

 meo - cat

 win  - horse

 kokwo - chicken

 wiwinya - a "zillion", a whole bunch of, myriad

 yuyung - nobody, noone

 boyun - to notice

 tinki - to starve, die in need of food

 lia - worm

 ewe - even, still

 boi - dirt, smudge

 unga - animal

 nenje - smart, intelligent

 chele  - to find, discover

 layo - everywhere

 munki - to feed

 bau - dog

 pesa - skinny, thin

 chumun - because, since

 nenju - to like, love

 nenyun - to be beautiful, pretty, handsome

 toyo  - all the time, always, everytime

 mosone - pigeon, dove

 eom - or

 milulua - peacock

 kwita - ever, ever before

 tas - to be free, loose

 otinki - to be starved

 mia - to be dead

 lara - to stay, remain, keep

 dochu - to belong, belong to

 zachu - to take away, take from, remove from

 randun - to bite

 wanen - great, fantastic, wonderful

This conversation contains a lot of words for domestic animals. Some more animals are listed below:

 bau - dog

 wil - pig

 mul - cow

 kal - crow

 gau - donkey

 kwo - chicken

 win - horse

 goi - frog

 kal - crow

 mambau - wolf

 naim - rabbit

When the word for "dog" bau is combined with the root -ka- for "speech" we get bauka meaning "to bark". There are quite some combinations of animal names with the root -ka- producing such compounds:


 bauka - to bark

 wilka - to squeal

 mulka - to moo

 kalka - to crow

 gauka - to bray

 kwoka - to cluck

 winka - to whinny

 meoka - to meow

 goika - to croak (like a frog)


7.3 Sankane mau weka Faransaka

Yunus: -Oi pon dodil!

Yunus: -Come on, ring the doorbell!

Nur: -Awau tehau. Awau ho tehau.

Nour: -This is ridiculous. This is really ridiculous. 

Yunus: -Eye keju en janka mama ayo?

Yunus: -Then do you want to tell mom everything?

Nour: -Sus! Muhim dodil. Uyu la de. Gevu! Gevu lo! Ge!

Nur: -Shh! I rang the doorbell. Someone's coming. Run! Run! Quick!

Nur: -Nong tengi jeho wa la jam awau.

Nour: -I can't believe I'm doing this.

Yunus: -Haya la to? Huyu la jamil doki?

Yunus: -What's happening? Who is opening the door?

Nur: -Bas pepye. Wa lo odoi. Li le tiro jom sisi.

Nour: -Stop trembling. It's me who is in trouble. You are only five years old.

Yunus: -Ha ho? Li gevu ge tunti wa.

Yunus: -Oh really? You run faster than I do.

Nour: -Ai mama nong jejeng. Jo ahenje wau chu wa.

Nur: -And mom is not stupid. She'll know this idea came from me.

Yunus: -Ka en wa jejeng ha?

Yunus: -Are you saying that I'm stupid? 

Nur: -Om hopu. Li nong ho jetum.

Nour: -Let's be honest. You are not exactly a genius.

Yunus: -Tontoshi tim la ujetum eno mulara sankane le tanum ku doki...

Yunus: -As if it takes a genius to leave a parrot holding a sign in front of the door...

Nour: -Haya lo?

Nur: -Excuse me?

Yunus: -Yayang. Yun, ujetum. Mama boyun yu.

Yunus: -Nothing. Look, genius. Mom noticed him.

Nour: -Echu mama lo jamil doki ha? Wu wanen.

Nur: -So it was mom who opened the door huh? How very great.

Sankane: -Mai li! Bonjour! (*kaza Faransaka*)

Parrot: -Hello! Good day! (*speaking French*)

Nour: -Sankane ye chauku kaza Faransaka maika mama ha?

Nur: -Did that parrot just greet mom in French?

Mama: -Oh, bonjour! Quoi de neuf? (*kaza Faransaka*)

Mom: -Oh good day! What's up? (*speaking French*)

Sankane: -Super. Avez-vous des bacs pour moi? (*kaza Faransaka*)

Parrot: -Super. Do you have some fags for me? (*speaking French*)

Yunus: -Weka Faransaka. Ho chechau. Mama ho nenju Faransaka.

Parrot: -It speaks French. We nailed it. Mom really loves French.

 pon - to push, press

 dodil - doorbell

 tehau - to be ridiculous

 muhim  - to sound, make heard, ring, play (a song, instrument etc.)

 gevu - to run

 ge - quick, fast

 jeho - to believe

 to  - to happen

 jamil - to open

 doki - door

 pepye - to tremble, shiver

 odoi - in trouble

 le - to have, own, hold

 tiro  - year

 tunti - than

 jejeng - dumb, stupid

 ahenje - idea, new conception

 hopu  - honest, fair

 jetum - to be brilliant

 tontoshi - as if

 ujetum - to push

 eno - in order that, that, so

 mulara - to leave, leave behind

 tenum  - sign, board

 wanen - great, splendid, wonderful, fantastic

 kaza - to speak, use a language

 chauku - just, just before

 weka - to speak, know a language

 Faransaka  - French, the French language

 chechau - to nail it, hit the nail right on the head, to get it just right

A new use for the word lo came up in the previous conversation. It seems to emphasize the word it was placed after:

Nur: Wa lo odoi.

Nour:  It's me who is in trouble.

Nour: -Echu mama lo jamil doki ha?

Nur: -So it was mom who opened the door huh?

More examples of such emphasis are:

wa lo kiza shuki yo - it's me who ate all the candy

vuvu lo pepye  it's my legs that are trembling

sankane lo kaza Faransaka  - it was the parrot who spoke French

Yunus lo nong mulara unga - it wasn't Yunus who left the animal

upopo lo nong nuchi chaido - it wasn't the vendor who left the teahouse

Jan lo nenju Merih - it is John who loves Mary

This word lo can be placed after verbs too in order to form an imperative-like form. A sentence like gevu lo! can be translated as "run I tell you!".

gevu lo! - run!

yun lo! - look!

nuchi lo!  - get out of here!

tustu lo! - let go!

nura lo! - sit down!

de lo!  - come here!

Also, it can be combined with adjectives:

sus lo! - be quiet!

nunung lo! -  sit still!

hopu lo!  - be honest!

Or interjections:

eo lo! - am too! is too!

nong lo! - is not! not so!

hea lo!  - watch it! attention!

ha lo! - huh? you don't say!

ho lo! - yes, really! I'm telling you!

Of course the translations presented are a mere description and not a literal translation, as there are no direct translations possible between two languages in many instances.

In the text, we also encountered the word Faransaka "french". It is coined together from the roots  faransa "french" and ka speech to form Faransaka  "French (language)". Compare the following words:

Ingil - English

Han - Han-Chinese

Araba - Arab

Espanyan - Spain

Rus - Russian

Putugal - Portuguese

Bangal - Bengali

Malayu - Malay

Doichi - German

Nihon - Japanese

Ital - Italian

Ingilka - English language

Hanka - Mandarin Chinese

Arabaka - Arabic language

Espanyanka - Spanish language

Ruska - Russian language

Putugalka - Portuguese language

Bangalka - Bengali language

Malayuka - Malay language

Doichika - German language

Nihonka - Japanese language

Italka - Italian language

The following words have been coined together from familiar roots:

-yu-   person, human + -ka-  speech =

-do-  building + -ki-  mouth, food =

-do-  building + -dil-  jingle, ring =

-ge-  quick + -vu-  foot, down =

-wan-  big + -nen-  good =

-mai-  greet + -ka-  speech =

-nen-  new + -je-  think =

-min-  bad + -za-  take =

-je-  think + -bo-  inside =

-se-  mustle + -ki-  mouth, food =

-ke-  intend + -le-  have, hold =

-jam-  do, make + -mia-  dead =

-ben-  child + -bau-  dog =

yuka - language

doki - door

dodil - doorbell

gevu - to run

wanen - fantastic, great

maika - to greet

nenje - smart, intelligent

minza - to steal

jebo - to understand

seki - meat

kele - to search, look for

jamia - to kill

bembau - puppy

A very important root in the perspective of the numeral system, is -mbe designating "part". When combined with the word for "three" yem it looks like yembe "half", "a third part". Compare the combinations of a numeral with -mbe and their meaning below:





+ -mbe







whole, entire








one third




one quarter




one fifth




one sixth




one seventh




one eighth




one ninth




one tenth


nini kwa




nini sun




nini yem




nini pan




nini jom




nini vai




nini teo




nini dia




nini sasta








sunini yem












jonini teo










1/100, one percent




1/1000, promille


sumpol yemel panini sasta




And with these numbers, we can extend our vocabulary regarding telling the time. We already encountered round figures such as::

ata rio na pan

it's four o'clock

ata rio na kwa

it's one o'clock

ata rio na jom

it's five o'clock

And now we can expand this with:

ata asumbe ze ayem

it's half past three


ata asumbe ze adia

it's half past eight

ata apambe ze ateo

it's a quarter past seven

ata anini ze ajom

it's ten past five

ata anini yem ze ayem

it's three thirteen

ata asunini jom ze avai

it's twenty five minutes past six

ata apambe ku anini-kwa

it's a quarter to eleven

ata anini ku ajom

it's ten to five

ata ajom ku anini-sun

it's five to twelve

These are the short forms. A sentence like ata nini ku ajom (literally "the time is ten before five") can be specified as well: ata sirio nini ku rio na jom (literally "the time is ten minutes before the fifth hour"). Similarly the full forms of the phrases above are:

ata sumbe ze ayem (short form)

ata sumbe ze rio na yem (long form)

it's half past three

ata sumbe ze adia (short form)

ata sumbe ze rio na dia (long form)

it's half past eight

ata pambe ze ateo (short form)

ata pambe ze rio na teo (long form)

it's a quarter past seven

ata nini ze ajom (short form)

ata sirio nini ze rio na jom (long form)

it's ten past five

ata nini yem ze ayem (short form)

ata sirio nini yem ze rio na yem (long form)

it's three thirteen

ata sunini jom ze avai (short form)

ata sirio sunini jom ze rio na vai (long form)

it's twenty five minutes past six

ata pambe ku anini-kwa (short form)

ata pambe ku rio na nini kwa (long form)

it's a quarter to eleven in the evening

ata nini ku ajom (short form)

ata sirio nini ku rio na jom (long form)

it's ten to five

ata jom ku anini-sun (short form)

ata sirio jom ku rio na nini sun (long form)

it's five to twelve

AM en PM are obsolete terms as Kah uses a 12-hour clock which starts at dawn (6:00 AM according to the convention in most countries) and again at dusk (6:00 PM).

When a 24-hour notation is needed, dawn is set to 0:00, dusk to 12:00 and counting up to 24:00 / 0:00 at dawn again. This has the consequence a new date starts at dawn.

In the 12-hour system, the phrases la ninta for "in daytime" and la manta "at night" are added in order to specify which part of the day is talked about. Of course specifications like la ninku "in the morning", la baninta "in the afternoon" or la zekita "in the evening" can be used as well.

Now please make the following exercises:


1) Please translate the following lines to Kah:

1. Do you speak Kah?

2. Not at all. I think constructed languages are ridiculous.

3. Even smart animals do not really speak a human language.

4. Do parrots really understand French?

5. What does your mother look like?

6. I would like 68 grams of stuffed raisins.

7. Let's come to the tea house at three o'clock

8. Do you think you can run faster than me?

9. There are pigeons everywhere at the train station.

10. Do you speak Kah?

11. Not at all. I think constructed languages are ridiculous.

12. Even smart animals do not really speak a human language.

13. Do parrots really understand French?

14. What does your mother look like?

15. I would like 68 grams of stuffed raisins.

16. Let's come to the tea house at three o'clock

17. Do you think you can run faster than me?

18. There are pigeons everywhere at the train station.


2) Please finish the directions through the labyrinth:

-Nubo nuno na kwa de zano

-De yino



3) Please check the example below:

   go                        speech


nuka - to deliver a message, go tell

Now arrange the roots on the jigsaw pieces below in order in order to produce the Kah equivalents of the following words:

-Hungarian (language)


-gas station

-bus station

-to flatter



           study                         speech


           go                          vehicle                  house


      long                         water                     speech


       Hungarian                     house

      sweet                   place

4) Please translate the following times to Kah:

1.   5:30

2.   2:37 PM

3.   12:45

4.   1:25 AM

5.   17:59

6.   15:15

7.   3:30 PM

8.   9:15

9.   13:35

10. 0:01

5) Please translate the following lines into English:

1. Ata pambe ze ajom.

2. Ata sunini sasta ku asasta.

3. Ata sirio yem ze rio na pan.

4. Ata rio na sasta la manta, echu hamun nong zon ha?

5. Tinti wa tonzon la rio na dia

6. Om nuku kiza la rio na vai.

7. La Sastamaro na nini la sirio kwa ku rio na pan la zekita.