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Numeral adjectives in Sereer function syntactically like all other adjectives, but exhibit irregular inflection patterns. In addition to initial consonant alternations, numerals exhibit vowel alternations in different noun classes. Numerals take regular noun class prefixes and initial consonant mutations, but the words for numerals up to five show three different vowel configurations; one when used in isolation as a counting word or with the k plural noun class, one when used with the person w or diminutive fn noun class, and one for all other plural classes. As Sereer numerals are a biquinary system, this means that the last element of the numeral phrase is conditioned by the class of the noun.

Number Isolation or k class w or fn class Other noun classes
1 leng leng -leng
2 ƭik ɗik -ƭak
3 tadik daduk -tadak
4 naxik naxu(k) -naxak / -naak
5 ƥetik ɓetuk -ƥetak
6 ƥetuu fo leng ɓetuu fo leng -ƥetaa fo leng
7 ƥetuu ƭik ɓetuu ɗik -ƥetaa ƭak
8 ƥetuu tadik ɓetuu daduk -ƥetaa tadak
9 ƥetuu naxik ɓetuu naxuk -ƥetaa naxak

The numeral 1000 june' undergoes mutation when appropriate: rew june' '1000 women', pañiik cune' '1000 elephants'. All other numbers are invariant.

10: xarɓaxay
20: xarɓaxay ƭik
100: teemeed
200: teemeed ƭik

However, the number in the ones digit always shows the appropriate agreement, even in higher numbers.

xaƥox teemeed ƭik fo xarɓaxay ƥetik fo xatadak
'253 dogs'

See also the subsection Numeral Ordering under Adjective Ordering.

Back to: Adjectives

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