Austronesian Counting

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Decades in Polynesia

Filed under: Uncategorized — richardparker01 @ 12:50 pm

To mitigate the Tongan 50 SNAFU, I posted a list of Polynesian numbers that I consider are overlays on older sytems:

Language – 10 – 20 – 50
Takuu – sinafuru – matarua, rue – matarima, lima
Vaeakau-Taumako – katoa, kharo, dumaa – gatoaelua – gatoaelima
Futuna East – kau, agafulu – kaulua – kaulima
Pukapuka – laugaulu – tinolua, laulua, luangaulu – tinolima, laulima, limangaulu
Fijian – e tini na, sagavulu, – rua-sagavulu – lima-sagavulu
Niuean – hongofulu – tekau – lima fiha
Tongan – hongofulu – tekau – nimangofulu
Rarotongan – nga’uru – rua nga’uru – rima nga’uru
Tahitian – ho’e’ahuru – piti ‘ahuru, ta’au, arooato – ?
Marquesan – ‘onohu’u, ‘okohu’u – tekau – ?
Hawaiian – umi – iwakâlua – haneli
Maori – ka-cahuru, ngahuru, tekau – rua tekau, tekau – rima tekau

The ‘proto-Austronesian’ number system goes:
10 = *sa-puluq (1 x10) – 20 = *duSa-puluq (2 x 10) – 50 = *lima-puluq (5 x 10)
so, any major variations in the Polynesian numbers (ie non-cognates) must be, by the rules of the game, innovations in the purely linguistic sense.
But in the real world, a retained number-name from an older vigesimal system (above no 10), cannot possibly be a technical innovation.

Even linguists recognise that
French
70=soixante-dix
80=quatre-vingt
90=quatre-vingt dix
are not ‘innovations’.

Most of these Polynesian systems appear to be relatively ‘modern’ constructions:
Only Rarotongan shows a regular series.
Why else should Fijian make 20= 2 x 1 x 10, 5 x 1 x 10?
Why else does Maori rename 20 as 10, in modern times, and then make up a series?
And what does fiha mean in Niuean? Or haneli in Hawaiian?

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1 Comment »

  1. fiha derived from fulu?
    not so odd

    haneli maybe origin hane lima?

    Hawaiian laulima = hands together = cooperation but may also have been a quantity of say 5 paddlers per canoe
    (just guessing)

    You know the Micronesian money system on Truk or Yap, they had huge stone coins, do you think they derived from Chinese coins with holes inside, enlarged to show higher value since they didn’t have number script?

    Polynesian pigs from Vietnam
    Jade from Taiwan
    Diamond dust to grind jade from Shianghai neighbor mine and coast city
    Bronze bells/gongs from Vietnam
    Ceramics from Lapita, others

    Papuans share some music style with Pygmies and Khoisan, according to Victor
    but no Indian tribals match this “music signature”

    and so it goes

    Comment by "the Dude" — Sunday, December 30, 2007 @ 5:33 am


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