Posted by: Alexandre Borovik | August 1, 2008

## Turkish numerals

From David Pierce, with my warmest thanks to him:

According to my experience and research, Turkish has several systems
of numerals, all based on the cardinals; as well as a few numerical
peculiarities.

The cardinals begin:

bir, iki, üç, dört, beş, altı,…(one, two, three, &c.)

Kaç? (How many?)

They are often not used alone with count nouns:

iki kilo elma (two kilos of apples)

iki tane elma (two apples; “tane” originally means grain or seed)

iki tane (two [of whatever countable object is in question])

The ordinals take the suffix -inci, adjusted for vowel harmony:

birinci, ikinci, üçüncü, dördüncü, beşinci, altıncı,…(first,
second, third, &c.)

Kaçıncı?

which has no English translation, although “how-manyeth” might be used.

The distributives take the suffix -(ş)er:

birer, ikişer, üçer,…

Used singly, these mean “one each, two each” and so on, as in “I want

Kaçar?

Probably “tane” will be attached to this. If the distributives are

ikişer ikişer (two by two)

kaçar kaçar (how many by how many)

There are regular names for siblings of multiple births:

ikiz, üçüz, dördüz (twin, triplet, quadruplet)

The ordinals are not used for fractional amounts. Instead of a third,
one refers to one in three (üçte bir). But there are separate words
for

“half” (yarım)

and for

“-and-a-half” (buçuk: two and a half = iki buçuk)

Finally, there is

çeyrek (quarter of an hour)

ikiye çeyrek var = it’s quarter to two

ikiyi çeyrek geçiyor = it’s quarter past two