Language name and location: Huli, Hela Province, PNG [Refer to Ethnologue]

言名称和分布地区: 胡利语, 巴布亚新几内亚中部赫拉省 


1. mbira ~ mbiria (data from G.A. Lean, 1991)

2. kira ~ kiria

3. tebo ~ tebira ~ tebiria

4. ma ~ maria

5. dau ~ duria ~ turia

6. waraga ~ waragaria ~ warakaria

7. ka ~ karia

8. hali ~ haliria

9. di ~ diria ~ tiria ~ dira

10. pi ~ piria ~ pira

11. bea ~ beria ~ peria ~ bearia

12. hombe(a) ~ homberia ~hombearia

13. hale ~ haleria

14. de~ deria ~ teria 

15. ngui ~nguria ~ nguiria ~ guria

16. nguria ni mbiria 

20. nguria ni duria, 25. nguria ni piria, 30. ngui ki, 40. piria maria or pira maria

45. ngui tebo, 50. piria duria or pira duria,  60. ngui ma, 70. piria karia

100, piria piria or pira pira / handare mibira or handari mbira (handare < English)

150. ngui pi, 200. handare kira, 225. ngui ngui

1. mbiria (data from Cheri Floyd, 2022)

21. guriani wargaria

2. kiria

22. guiriani karia

3. tepiria

23. guriani haliria

4. maria

24. guriani tiria

5. turia

25. guirani piria

6. waragaria

26. guirani peria

7. karia

27. guriani karia

8. haliria

28. guriani haliria

9. tiria 

29. guriani teria

10. piria


11. peria


12. homberia


13. haleria


14. teria 


15. guria


16. guriani mbiria


17. guriani kiria


18. guriani tepiria


19. guriani maria


20. guirani turia 



Linguist providing data and dateː Dr. Glen A. Lean, Department of Communications, Papua New Guinea University of Technology, Lae, Papua New Guinea, 1991.

Sourceː Glendon A. Lean. Counting systems of Papua New Guinea, volume 10, Southern Highlands Province Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Papua New Guinea University of Technology, Lae, Papua New Guinea, 1991.

Reference source: 'Number morphs': Cheatham (1978, p.16)

New data provided by Mrs. Cheri Floyd, Wesleyan World Missions, Australia, April 1, 2022, taken from Huli speakers who grew up in Hela Province, Papua New Guinea, but now living in Mt Hagen, WHP, PNG).
供资料的语言学家: Dr. Glen A. Lean, 1991 年.  


Other comments: Huli is a Tari language spoken by the Huli people of the Hela Province of Papua New Guinea with about 150,000 speakers. Huli has a 15-cycle body-tally counting system. Notes from Cheetham (1978, p.24): "The Huli count up to ten on their fingers, and then up to fifteen on the toes of one foot, usually the right one. They seem to have a varieties of ways of counting on their fingers, most often by pointing with the index-finger on the other hand, but I have also seen them fold their fingers down, to produce two fits of ten, or start with their fists and releases their fingers. The method of counting seems to be the choice of the individual. I have never seen the parts of the head referred to, and may informants both in Hedamaili and Tari denies that this would ever happen. However, there appears to be some parts of the Huli area where thirteen, fourteen and fifteen are counted on the head".

    As Huli system possesses a 15-cycle. Multiples of 15 have the construction 'ngui + number morph' so that we have:

    30. ngui ki, 45. ngui tebo, 60. ngui ma, 150. ngui pi, 225. ngui ngui

    Numbers between 15 to 30 have the construction: 'nguria+ni+cardinal' so that we

 have: 16. nguria ni mbira, 20. nguria ni duria, 25. nguria ni pira.

    Whilst the traditional 15-cycle system, particularly the 'open system', is obviously still use and indeed was given by all CSQ informants, there is evidence also of an alternative system, mentioned by 18 informants, in which the traditional system is adapted to product a 10-cycle or decimal system most likely as a result of the influence of the decimal English or Tok Pisin counting systems. This system takes the number word for 10 in the traditional system, "'piria' or 'pira (with the cardinal suffix), and constructs the higher decades using this, normally beginning at 40 so that we have:

   40  piria maria or pira maria, 50 piria duria or pira duria, 60. piria waragaria

   70 piria karia,  100 piria piria or pira pira

    It is also apparent that the English word 'hundred' has been borrowed and adapted as quite a number of informants give the following:

   100 handare mbira or handari mbira, 200 handare kira


   New data provided by Cheri Floyd (April 1, 2022) mentioned as follows:

    My informant was Oraka, a Hela man in his 60s. From 30 onwards things became confusing.  Should he say 3 tens, or 2 15s?  Oraka worked several times to find the number 40, using his fingers and toes to count.  But 40 is a hard number for him in his language. 45 would be an easier number, since it is base-15. 

    Some Huli speakers now make the number system fit the “white man” style of counting by tens. But this was not their original system, so an older Huli speaker like Oraka finds it difficult.

    According to Oraka, things like thousands and millions never existed to Huli people.  They had no need of such large but precise numbers. He was becoming frustrated so just gave me the following examples of “big numbers” in Huli.

   ngui homberia=12 x15,  ngui hale=13 x15,  ngui ngui=15 x 15,

   ngui hombe=17 x 15,  ngui te=19 x 15

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