How to Speak Wenja: Counting


Smarkaka salwa!  Cha swaki mansim nakway na hu-kraybam, num palhu Winja-kashyan war-warharsh, “U mash krayba!” Tu kraybam. Nawa watasim mash krayba walpim. Dwis, um graybman Twitter-ha santaya, ham ya walhatan wayda.

Hello everyone! For six months I haven’t written anything here, and many Wenja fans keep saying to me: “Write more!” And so, I am writing. In the new year I hope to write more as well. Again, send me a message via Twitter so I know what you’ll want (me to write about).

Last night I was having dinner with my wife, Brenna, and our son, and we started counting in other languages.  We did German (Bren’s fluent in it), then Italian (I used to be), then Spanish, and Russian, and then Wenja.  And I realized: we never did a post on how to count in Wenja on the blog. Let’s begin with 1-10.

  • One: sam 
  • Two: dwa
  • Three: tray
  • Four: kwatur
  • Five: panku
  • Six: swachi
  • Seven: sapitam
  • Eight: hashtah
  • Nine: nawan
  • Ten: dacham
For 11-19 you say “10 & X”
  • Eleven: dacham samkwa
  • Twelve: dacham dwakwa
  • Thirteen: dacham traykwa, etc.
Higher numbers go like this:
  • Twenty: dwidacha
  • Thirty: tridacha
  • Forty: kwaturdacha
  • Fifty: pankudacha
  • Sixty: swashdacha
  • Seventy: sapitamdacha
  • Eighty: hashtashdacha
  • Ninety: nawandacha
  • Hundred: dichanta
To make 21, 45, 102, etc., you modify these numbers in the same way as 11-19.
  • Twenty-one: dwidacha samkwa
  • Forty-five: kwaturdacha pankukwa
  • One hundred and two: dichanta dwakwa.
That’s it! For those of you who know a bit about PIE, you’ll recognize that these numbers pretty much come directly from there, with slight modifications in pronunciations and morphology.
Now let’s see these numbers used in some sort of context, for which we’ll introduce three other useful Wenja words: kwacha “how many” (interrogative), yacha “how many” (relative), tacha “so many”. Note that I have made up the dialogue below.
  • Takkar: Jayma, kwacha hisu tiyi? “Jayma, how many arrows do you have?”
  • Jayma: Miyi panku (hisu). “I have five (arrows)”
The use of yacha … tacha is strange for a modern speaker of English.  As we’ll discuss in a future post, relative clauses were done in a backwards fashion to what we expect today.
  • Rushani: Aysh yacha tachisla Izilay, tu-ra Takkar tacha say prati bawga. “However many weapons the Izila have, Takkar will use (them) against them.”
You’ll likely hear some of the lower numbers in the “barks” scattered across Oros.
Tu sakwan prasti!

11 thoughts on “How to Speak Wenja: Counting

  1. Dansurka says:

    Gal-galbaba!
    I was afraid there was no more
    Wenja entries forthcoming. Very happy to hear from y'all, and happier still that Wenja survives.

  2. Lukas Maximilian Benke says:

    Smarkaka!

    I'm very happy that you've written a new post, and really look forward to what's coming next year!

    One Question: What about ordinal numbers? First, Second etc.? Does this concept exist in Wenja, and if so, are you going to write a post about it?

    Another thing, since you asked: I'd like you to write about an important aspect of speaking you seem not to have written about yet: how to say "want", "like", "must" and "have to". For example: "I want to / I have to hunt" "I don't want to / I mustn't eat human flesh" "I like to ride on Mammoths" "I don't like / I hate hunting without my spears".

  3. Andrew Byrd says:

    Ah, modals. Good idea. I'll do that in my next post.

    As for ordinals: parshwa "1st", shantara "second (adjective)"/dwis "again, second (adverb)" … and that's all there is. That's all the game really needed, honestly. But if I had to create a way to make them for Wenja, it's likely you would add the suffix -ta- to the number: trayta, kwaturta, etc. It's actually a bit more complicated in real PIE (but that's okay :D).

  4. Lukas Maximilian Benke says:

    Galbaba! Looking forward to the next post then 🙂 .

    So, would this sentence be correct (Regardless of the practicality of the sentence):

    "Pankuta Udam gwanta!"

    "You kill the fifth Udam!"

    Sadly I don't know much about PIE, but I just read about it, seems really complicated, and hard to even know how the ordinal numbers sounded like.

    I also read something about numerals as prefixes in PIE, does Wenja have any special rule in that regard? Like say, a brave Wenja Warrior who lost two fingers in a fight against a vicious tiger and is now affectionately called "Three-Fingered Tiger" by his tribe.

  5. Andrew Byrd says:

    Your sentence is perfect, as long as it's declarative (a simple statement) and not imperative (a command). If it's "(You) kill the fifth Udam" it'd be "U pankuta Udam gwan!"

    You're right that certain numbers — two & three most prominently — behaved funny in PIE, by adopting -i- vocalism. *dwoh1- "two" –> *dwi- "two" (in a compound). No specific rule in Wenja, though I could totally see a word like "dwipada", meaning a biped or human, if the situation demanded it. For "Three-Fingered Tiger", I would expect something like "Tray paliki-ha tigri" (literally "Three finger-with tiger" instead of a complex compound as we have in English.

  6. Chris Brown says:

    I just wanted to thank you a ton for this blog. Seeing somebody explain Wenja is absolutely fascinating to me and I'm glad that I have somewhere to read about it without having to fork over a bunch of cash on eBay.

  7. Andrew Byrd says:

    It's our pleasure, Chris. Just shoot us a tweet at @SpeakingPrimal if you have any specific requests. Gwarshta!

  8. Unknown says:

    I noticed something interesting in the Wenja language. In the cutscene where Sayla and Takkar introduce each other Takkar says "I am Takkar" The way he says "I am" is almost the same as in the Bulgarian language, and the way they say Tiger is identical to the plural form of tiger in Bulgarian. There might be someone else that told you this already, but I though it would be fun to know. Thanks for recreating this language, for Far Cry Primal.

  9. Andrew Byrd says:

    Gwarshta! It was my pleasure. Resemblance to Bulgarian was entirely unintentional, though of course there's a reason for it — Bulgarian's an Indo-European language 🙂

    *tigri goes back at least to Ancient Greek, and appears to be a Persian loan word. We're not quite sure what the PIE word for tiger was, though *bheli (Wenja bali) may have been it.

    As for hasam "I am", this must be by chance. The verb 'to be' in PIE was *h1es- (likely = [hes]), which in Wenja turns into hasa. Add -m to make it "I am".

    U su!

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