Advanced Numbers

Notice the following chart showing how we count numbers from one hundred and above:

100nkama (or nkama moko)1111nkóto moko na nkama moko na moko
101nkama moko na moko10000nkóto zomi
111nkama moko na zomi na moko10001nkóto zomi na moko
121nkama moko na ntuku mibale na moko100000nkóto nkama moko
200nkama mibale100011nkóto nkama na zomi na moko
201nkama mibale na moko100111nkóto nkama na nkama moko na zomi na moko
300nkama misato1000000milio moko
1000nkóto (or nkoto moko)1100000milio moko na nkóto moko
1001nkóto moko na moko1100451milio moko na nkóto nkama moko na nkama mine na ntuku mitano na moko
1011nkóto moko na zomi na moko1513511milio moko na nkóto nkama mitano na zomi na misato na nkama mitano na zomi na moko

The table helps us to see that we can count complex numbers in Lingala, though they are a little long…

So a hundred is nkama, while two hundred is nkama mibale. We continue to use the word na to add groups of numbers to the main one. A thousand is nkóto, whereas ten thousand is nkóto zomi. A million is take from a French word and is milio.

If we look at the last number in the table, a complex number, notice how we write it in English: one million five hundred and thirteen thousand five hundred and eleven. Now compare the way we write it in Lingala: milio moko (one million) na nkóto nkama mitano (with five hundred) na zomi (with ten) na misato (with three) na nkama mitano (with five hundred) na zomi (with ten) na moko (with one). Looking at it this way we see that even though it looks complex at first, it has any similarities to how we write numbers in English.

Note: While Lingala numbers are used, most Lingala speakers will use French numbers once they reach four or five in Lingala. Knowing the Lingala numbers is useful as some written books and magazines use them. However expect most Lingala speakers to use French, so learning French numbers as well is also very useful to a Lingala learner.

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