Irish/Reference/Numbers

Counting and using numbers in Irish is more complex than in some other languages. This page explains the different number systems used in Modern Irish and how to use them.

Types of NumbersEdit

Many languages, including English, use different numbering systems for different purposes. English has two: one used for cardinal numbers (one, two three) and one for ordinal numbers (first, second, third).

Irish has not two, but four different numbering systems. They are:

Cardinal numbers (maoluimhreacha)
Cardinal numbers in Irish are used only when the number is not modifying another noun; for example, when counting.
Impersonal numbers (uimhreacha néamhphearsanta)
Used as adjectives when the number is modifying something other than people
Personal numbers (uimhreacha pearsanta)
Used as an adjective when the number is modifying a noun representing a person or people
Ordinal numbers (orduimhreacha)
Used for indicating order or position, just as in English

Because the impersonal numbers (uimhreacha néamphearsanta) are usually the same as the cardinal numbers (maoluimhreacha), but without the numeral particle "a", these two systems are often lumped together as "cardinal numbers" when they are taught.

Using NumbersEdit

Unlike most Irish adjectives, when a number is used as an adjective in Irish it precedes the noun it modifies.

The Number OneEdit

The number one is a special case in Irish.

Table of Irish NumbersEdit

numeral maoluimhreacha u. néamhphearsanta u. pearsanta orduimhreacha [multiple of 10]
2 a dó beirt an dara fiche
3 a trí trí tríúr an triú tríocha