Language name and locationː Edolo, Papua New Guinea [Refer to Ethnologue]

言名称和分布地区埃多罗语, 巴布亚新几内亚中部赫拉省及西部省


1. ɑke    (litː ''little finger'') 

2. ɑketu (litː ''ring finger'')

3. osotɑ  (litː ''middle finger'')

4. biitu (litː ''index finger'')

5. bi  (litː ''thumb'')

6. kafe (litː ''palm'')

7. kifɑlɑ̃tɑlũ (litː ''wrist '')

8. kõtõ (litː ''forearm'')

9. sẽkẽ (litː ''elbow'')

10. nɑpũ (litː ''upper arm'')

11. kĩtɑ (litː ''shoulder'')

12. kiwi (litː ''collarbone'')

13. kɑlo (litː ''side of neck'')

14. kẽhẽ (litː ''ear'') 

15. pɑ (litː ''check'')

16. si (litː ''eye'')

17. mimoko (litː ''nose (mi)'')


Linguist providing data and dateː Mr. Jan Gossner, SIL International, Papua New Guinea, February 20, 2010.

供资料的语言学家: Mr. Jan Gossner, 2010 年 2 月 20 日.


Other comments: Edolo is spoken by about 1,600 speakers in Tari district, Hela province and Nomad district, Western province, Papua New Guinea. The Edolo counting system is based on body parts. This type of system is apparently quite common in Papua New Guinea with quite a bit of variation in the number of body parts counted (Franklin and Franklin 1962; Smith 1988). The precise base number of the Edolo system is a bit difficult to establish but seems to have been thirty-four. At present, things are in the process of changing to a decimal system due to the influence of he decimal based national monetary system and the English language educational system. Body parts are still used but quantities are now stated in groups of tens and ones rather than using the full traditional numerology. A quantity like forty-three is usually expressed as nabũlasi biidia huniane ohodoa 'ten-total four ones  three'. The word used for 'ones', huniane, may not be native Edolo vocabulary. The appearance of /n/ word-medially and the fact that huniane is not attested anywhere in the text database or the Mark text and my limited intuition suggest that it is a loan word although no source has been determined.

   Traditional counting starts with the little finger of the right hand and goes up the arm across the head and face and back down to the little finger of the left hand. The uncertainty regarding the base number arises from conflicting accounts as to which body parts between the shoulder and eye are counted. The confusion is probably due to the change to the decimal base such that the numbers above ten are seldom used now. Some informants have claimed that there is an old way and a new way with the new way using either galo 'side of neck' or giwi '(collar) bone' for twelve and ba 'cheek' or g?h? 'ear' for thirteen. The anthropologist Kelly, who did his fieldwork among the Edolo in the late 1960's, relates stories referring to pigs in groups of thirty-fo (1993:200). There would have been very little outside influence at that time indicating that the system was probably based on thirty-four originally. In the above table, I give the system including all of the seventeen body parts. The seventeen body parts are counted on each side of the body giving the base of thirty-four. In counting down the left side of the body in the traditional system the word nai is repeated before each of the numbers. Nai is apparently from naiado 'opposite'.

   In counting large quantities the counting is 'left off' when the little finger of the left hand is reached and it starts over again on the right side. One complete cycle is called fisi afãde 'leave-PAST one', or 'one leaving off'. The forms as they are used in counting are given in the first column of table. These are the same as the body part names, with the exception of mimogo 'seventeen', which is slightly different as given in the table. The same body part terms for one through seven are used of the foot and ankle when preceded by the word emo 'leg' but these are not used in counting.    

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