04 January 2004

Counting (Palo)

Sesotho is a relatively young language, so everything still means what it is supposed to mean. What I mean by that is, like, forenames. My forename, Rethabile, is a full sentence that means We are happy. I guess my folks couldn't contain their joy when I arrived. In older languages, English for example, James and Elizabeth and Richard, etc., used to have specific, contemporary meanings that are no longer meaningful today, unless one buys a special book of meanings of names.

But this phenomenon is not only apparent with forenames. Here is how we count in from 1 to 10 in Sesotho:

1 = 'Ngoe ( 2 syllables /NG-wee/)
2 = Peli
3 = Tharo
4 = 'Ne ( 2 syllables /N-eh/ )
5 = Hlano
6 = T'selela
7 = Supa
8 = Robeli
9 = Robong
10 = Leshome

Ho t'sela (6) is the verb to cross, and that's when we cross from one hand to the other when counting. Ho supa (7) is to point, and that's the finger we point with. Robeli (8)means break two, and two fingers are indeed down for eight. Robong (9) is break one. Eleven for instance, is literally Ten with one root (leshome le motso o mong).


Anonymous said...

Please add the rest as it helps with school tasks and i can not find any thing else on the net

Rethabile said...

I'll try to do so.