Counting or the number words in Apatani are very elaborate. There are different number words for different classes of objects based on their structural affinity. There may also be a system of number words specific for a particular object.
The number words, other than the one used for man, consist of two parts- the root word and the number marker. The root word may be derived from either the starting syllable or the ending syllable of the name of an object or the name of an object representing certain structural form. The number markers are the suffixes indicating the numbers which are derived from the number words used for the man. For example, the number word which means two pots in Apatani is ‘piichan channye-he’.Besides, the number words differ for their noun form (name of number used for counting) and adjective form (words used for describing the quantity) e.g. chankun (noun form) and channge (adj. form) are used for a pot.
Some common root words:
Derived from (word)
Bundle of flat object
Cylindrical objects like bamboo, pipe etc.
Clothes, blanket, quilt, mat etc.
Pata (flattened object)
Flattened objects(of wood, metal), paper, book etc.
Span of stick, meter stick etc
All four footed animals, birds (other than chicken), motor vehicles
Agar (bund demarcating paddy field)
Land plot like bije, sadi, moreh etc
Yagii (basket carried by head)
Baskets like yagii and raju
Yopo (basket carried by hand), sanpo (wooden log)
Yopo (baskets), harpo (bucket), wheel, wooden log and other large cylindrical object
Lera (racksack), yara (basket for male to carry firewood)
Sticks of all kind
Yaso (cane, rope)
Yaso, yai, all kinds of rope, threads, long thin rods (iron rod, cane rod), wire, scrawling animals (snake, earthworm), also pen, pencil etc
Bracelets, bowl etc
Spherical objects like egg, ball etc.
Pen verb root (to construct, build)
Houses, huts, buildings
Seeds (bean, gram, pea, rice etc.), small pebbles, sand grain etc.
Number Markers (suffixes indicating numbers):
Counting (noun form)
Describing quantity (adj. form)
~e / ~ye / ~nge **
Number words are formed by combination of the root word and the number marker. The formation of the two forms of number words is shown in following table [table 3a & 3b]:
~e / ~ye / ~nge **
** [incase of the number word which means one (adj. form) in Apatani, the marker ~e/ ~ye/ ~nge are combined with the root word depending upon the last letter of the root word i.e. /~ye/ is used with the root word ending in vowel letter, /~e/ is used with the root word ending in letter ‘r’ and /~nge/ is used with the root word ending in letter ‘n’ (‘n’ nasalized).]