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Grammar of the New Zealand Language

Chapter XVII. — Syntax of the Numerals

page 126

Chapter XVII.
Syntax of the Numerals.

The particles prefixed to numbers.

Ko. § 1. This word will often, without te, precede tahi; e.g., toku ko tahi, myself alone; kia ko tahi, be one; i.e., pull together. When tahi is used as a substantive, it will generally take te; e.g., ko te tahi tenei, this is one (of them).

§ 2. The numerals between one and a hundred will seldom take any article; but rau and mano will take either te or he; e.g., he rau pea, it is perhaps a hundred; ko tahi te rau, or te mano. Sometimes the numerals lower than a 100 will take the article te, when the substantive is not expressed but understood; e.g., e taea e te tekau te whakanehenehe ki te hokorima? can the ten contend with the fifty?

§ 3. The simple numeral is mostly used in counting; e.g., tahi, rua, toru, one, two, three, &c. Often, however, the verbal particle ka is used in the same sense; ka tahi, ka rua, &c., it is one, there are two, &c.

§ 4. Ka, prefixed to the numeral, generally denotes the completion of a number; e.g., ka toru enei mateuga oku i a koe, this is the third time I have been ill treated by you, i.e., this makes up the third, &c.

§ 5. E is a very frequent prefix of the numbers between one and ten. It differs from ka in that it does not so distinctly imply the completion of, or the page 127 arriving at, a number, and that whereas ka will generally answer to the question, “How many have you counted, made, &c., e will be used in reply to “How many are there”? e.g., e hia ena kete? How many baskets are those? It would not however be generally correct to say, E hia ena kete ka oti? It should be ka hia. Again, ahea koe hoki mai ai? Ka rua aku wiki. When will you return? in two weeks' time. It should be kia rua nga wiki.

Note.—This distinction, however, does not hold invariably, &c.

§ 6. Kia.—For its uses vide verbal particles.

§ 7. Note.—The particles i and kua are occasionally found prefixed to the numerals. (Vide those particles, Verbs.)

§ 8. The case and number following the numeral. In most instances, up to one hundred, the numeral will require no possessive case after it; e.g., a, ho mai ana o ratou, e ono nga kete, and they gave six baskets; lit. they were given by them, they were, (or are), six baskets.

§ 9. Beyond one hundred, however, a possessive case is very frequently employed; e.g., ko tahi mano o nga tau, one thousand years.

§ 10. When the noun is in the oblique case, the numeral will generally follow it; e.g., hei tapiri mo enei kete e wha, as an addition to these four baskets. When it is in the nominative the numeral will most frequently precede; e.g., e wha nga kete, there were four baskets.

§ 11. It will be noticed that tahi is sometimes post-fixed to other numerals, and adjectives, without any variation of meaning; e.g., e rima tahi five, turituri tahi what a noise (you are making). Tahi will sometimes take a plural after it; ko tahi ona hoa, one were his companions; i.e., ho had one companion.

§ 12. Sometimes, when it is desired emphatically to denote all the individuals, or items contained in a page 128 certain number, the number will be repeated; e.g., hokorima hokorima iho, fifty fifty down; i.e., the whole fifty were killed; e wha, wha mai ano, four four to me; bring the whole four In one instance, (viz., that of rua,) we have the first syllable reduplicated to denote both; e.g., e tika rurua ana ano, they are both right.

§ 13. Sometimes, in Waikato, we meet with an ironical use of numerals, corresponding to that in English, “six of one, and half a dozen of the other; e.g., e whitu waru atu! they are seven eight other; e ngari a Hone, e pai ana—e wha atu i a Pita! he is four besides Peter; i,e., he is not better than Peter.

§ 14. On the Ordinals.—The student has seen (page 26) the three ways in which these may be formed.

§ 15. There are, however, some distinctions between tua and whaka, as prefixes, which deserve to be noticed. (1.) Tua is not frequently found prefixed to numerals beyond ten. (2.) Occasionally, also, a critical inquirer will, we think, detect a difference in the meaning of the two particles. Tua seems to denote the place, a thing, &c., occupies in a series or gradation; whaka, a fraction which, being added, makes the integer. Thus, in announcing a text, we might say “Kei te ono o nga upoko, kei te tuawha o nga rarangi,” it is in the sixth chapter and fourth verse. We could not however, say Kei te whakawha o, &c. Again, a Native will say, Ko te tuahia tenei o nga whakatupuranga ka tae iho ki a koe? Ko te tekau, What number of generations is this that reaches down to you? answer, the tenth. Here the generations are represented as following in a regular succession to the tenth. If the reply were “Ko te whakatckau tenei,” we should understand that it is one, which added to the other nine, will make it ten— a mode of expression which is sometimes substituted page 129 for the following, “ko to whakakapi tenci o to tekau,” this is one which fills up the place of the tenth. The word whakapu is often also used either to denote a tally, (or surplus one), or the one which completes the number; hoi whakapu tenci mo aku riwai, this is a tally for; (or this completes the full number of) my potatoes.

Note.—In speaking of a tenth, or tithe, of property, we should prefer whakatekauto tuutekau; the former being a fractional tenth, the latter an ordinal.