Esperanto Language Blog

How to count in Esperanto Posted by on Nov 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

So, want to impress your friends by being about to count in the most widely spread planned language? Let’s start by counting to 10… I’ll even throw in some memory hints for free! And yes, I’m a software developer, so I’ll start counting at zero. 🙂

Numbers 0-10

  • 0 – nul (sounds like null)
  • 1 – unu (sounds like card game Uno)
  • 2 – du (do you want to learn the second number?)
  • 3 – tri (sounds like three)
  • 4 – kvar (almost like four)
  • 5 – kvin
  • 6 – ses (almost like six)
  • 7 – sep
  • 8 – ok
  • 9 – naŭ (learn this number now!)
  • 10 – dek (highest number in a deck of cards)
  • Ok, that was just as easy as learning any other language, but here is where Esperanto’s logical nature really helps. For fun, I’ll teach you the ordinal numbers. Let’s compare English with Esperanto here:

    one first unu unua
    two second du dua
    three third tri tria
    four fourth kvar kvara
    five fifth kvin kvina
    six sixth ses sesa
    seven seventh sep sepa
    eight eighth ok oka
    nine ninth naŭ naŭa
    ten tenth dek deka

    Numbers 11-1.000.000

    The numbers stay logical. Check out the following examples:

    • 11 – dek unu
    • 12 – dek du
    • 34 – tridek kvar
    • 93 – naŭdek tri
    • 100 – cent
    • 123 – cent dudek tri
    • 678 – sescent sepdek ok
    • 1.000 – mil
    • 1.000.000 – miliono

    Also note that as opposed to English, the thousands dividers are typically separated by a dot, whereas the decimal is a comma. For example, you might see, “Tio kostas 1.299,99 €.” [That costs €1,299.99.]

    Saying years

    If you want to say, “The first Universal Congress of Esperanto happened in 1905.” you would say, “La unua Universala Kongreso okazis en mil naŭcent kvin.” Literally in English that would be “thousand nine-hundred five”. Note however, that in years starting with 2000, the same order as English applies, so 2011 is “du mil dek unu”.

    Further study for advanced students

    Believe it or not, numbers above a billion can get tricky. When you’re ready for an advanced lesson, feel free to check out Vortoj por grandegaj nombroj.

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About the Author: Chuck Smith

I was born in the US, but Esperanto has led me all over the world. I started teaching myself Esperanto on a whim in 2001, not knowing how it would change my life. The timing couldn’t have been better; around that same time I discovered Wikipedia in it’s very early stages and launched the Esperanto version. When I decided to backpack through Europe, I found Esperanto speakers to host me. These connections led me to the Esperanto Youth Organization in Rotterdam, where I worked for a year, using Esperanto as my primary language. Though in recent years I’ve moved on to other endeavors like iOS development, I remain deeply engrained in the Esperanto community, and love keeping you informed of the latest news. The best thing that came from learning Esperanto has been the opportunity to connect with fellow speakers around the globe, so feel free to join in the conversation with a comment! I am now the founder and CTO of the social app Amikumu.


  1. Gene Keyes:

    1905 = Mil naucent NUL kvin, chu ne? 😉

  2. Chuck Smith:

    Ne, oni fakte diras “mil naŭcent kvin”. Char oni devas diri “cent”, oni ne devas diri “nul”. 🙂

  3. inga johanson:

    One way to teach how to count in esperanto, ask how many musicians are need in
    a duet
    a trio
    a quartet
    a quintet
    a sextet
    a septet
    an octet
    a nonet

  4. Chuck Smith:

    Brilliant insight, thanks!

  5. inga johansson:

    or like some month-names in Swedish
    7 = september
    8 = oktober
    9 = november
    10 = december