Language name and location: Aghu, Papua province, Indonesia [Refer to Ethnologue]

言名称和分布地区阿古语, 印度尼西亚巴布亚省波文迪哥尔县地区


1. fasike   

2. okuomu ~ okuoma

3. okuomasike   

4. sigiane ~ sigianému  (litː 'little finger'

5. bidikimu ~ bidikuma ~ bifidikimu ~ bifidikima (litː 'hand')

6. bidikuma-fasike (litː 'hand (plus) one')

7. bidikuman-okuoma (litː 'hand (plus) two') 

8. bidikuman-okuomasike (litː 'hand (plus) three')

9. bidikuma-sigiane (litː 'hand (plus) little finger')

10. bidikuma-bidikuma (litː 'hand (plus) hand')

11. kito wodo (litː 'big toe')

12. kito wodo womu (litː 'toe next to big toe')

13. kito efe womu  (litː 'ear on the other side')

14. kito sigia womu (litː 'oe next to little toe')

15. kito sigia  (litː 'little toe'), kitikumu ~ kitikuma (lit: 'foot'),

     kitifikumu ~ kitifikuma (lit: 'the one foot')

16. afì-kito wodo (litː 'the other big toe')

17. afì-kito wodo womu (litː 'the other toe next to big toe')

18. afì-kito efe womu (litː 'the other toe in the middle')

19. afì-kito sigia womu (litː 'the other toe next to little toe')

20. aghù-bigi (litː 'person-bone')

21. aghù-bigi fasike (litː 'person-bone (plus) one')

22. aghù-bigi okuomu (litː 'person-bone (plus) two')

30. aghù-bigi bidikuma-bidikuma (litː 'person-bone hand hand')


Linguist providing data and dateː Prof. Lourens Jan de Vries, Afd. Taal en  Communicatie Letteren, Vrije Universiteit, Netherlands, February 3, 2010.

Reference source: 1995a, 'Numeral systems of the Awyu language family of Irian Jaya'. In: Journal of the Royal Institute of Linguistics and Anthropology, BKI 150-III, 540-567.

供资料的语言 学家: Prof. Lourens Jan de Vries, 2010 年 2 月 3 日.


Other comments: Aghu has a population with approximately 3,000 speakers in Boven Digul regency, Jair sub-district in south interior between Mapi and Digul rivers. Papua province, Indonesia. The Aghu number system is a curious mix of a body-part system and a binary / quinary / vigesimal system. The Aghu language was described by Drabbe (1957). The Aghu language is closely related to the Yair (or Jair) language; it could be that Aghu and Yair are dialects of one language. The Yair have quite many intermarriage relations with the Kombai. I follow the account of the Aghu number system given by Drabbe (1957: 28).

   The highest point in the Aghu system is 30. When counting from 1 upwards the Aghu bend the fingers of the left hand first, starting with the thumb; when the ring-finger is bent, the Aghu say sigiane 'little finger' because that is the only finger still sticking out. Thus the little finger corresponds to 4. Counting then proceeds to the fingers of the right hand. When these are bent, two hands ('ten') are counted. Interestingly, the Aghu then descend to the big toe of the left foot ('eleven') and count on the toes of the left foot until one foot is counted ('fifteen'). Then they proceed to the foot on the other side, using a word for 'side, other side' to indicate the switch to the other side of the body, just like so many body-part systems in New Guinea do. The word kito means 'foot'; it is used preceding names of the fingers to denote corresponding toes, thus wodo 'thumb', kito wodo 'big toe (thumb of the foot)/eleven'. Thus after 10 ('hand-hand', a quinary number) Aghu switches to a body-part system for 11-19.
   It is illuminating to compare the Aghu body-part number 11 ('big toe') with the way Alamblak, a Papuan language of Papua New Guinea (Bruce 1984) forms 11. Alamblak has three coexisting number systems, a tally system, a binary/quinary / vigesimal system and the New Guinea Pidgin system.

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