As the Naʼvi have four digits per hand, they have a base-eight ("octal") number system. Until recently, they only counted up to sixteen, their number of fingers and toes, any number greater than that being simply pxay "many".[1]

There are numerals for the numbers one through eight. Above that, one counts eight-one for nine, eight-two for ten, etc., until sixteen, which is two eights. At sixty-four (eight eights), a new numeral comes in, zam, which is the octal equivalent of decimal 'hundred'.

Cardinal numbers

units decimal octal
ʼaw one 1
múne two 2
pxey three 3
tsìng four 4
mrr five 5
púkap six 6
kínä seven 7
vol eight 10
'teens' decimal octal
voláw nine 11 eight-one
vomún ten 12 eight-two
vopéy eleven 13 eight-three
vosìng twelve 14 eight-four
vomŕr thirteen 15 eight-five
vofú fourteen 16 eight-six
vohín fifteen 17 eight-seven
mévol sixteen 20 two eights
eights decimal octal
vol eight 10 eight
mévol sixteen 20 two eights
pxévol twenty-four 30 three eights
tsìvol thirty-two 40 four eights
mŕrvol forty 50 five eights
púvol forty-eight 60 six eights
kívol fifty-six 70 seven eights
zam sixty-four 100 zam
'hundreds' decimal octal
zam 64 100 zam
mézam 128 200 two zam
pxézam 192 300 three zam
tsìzam 256 400 four zam
mŕrzam 320 500 five zam
púzam 384 600 six zam
kízam 448 700 seven zam
vózam 512 1000 eight zam

The second series above continues with mevoláw 'two-eights-one', mevomún 'two-eights-two', etc.; the units are similarly suffixed to the other multiples of eight. Thus all numbers up to at least kivohín "sixty-three" (octal 77) are single words. Numbers between zam and mezam (one-hundred twenty-eight, octal 200) are not attested. The 'hundreds' continue with pxezam etc. Higher orders are vozam 512 (octal 1000: thus mevozam for octal 2000 etc.) and zazam 4096 (octal 10,000: thus mezazam for octal 20,000 etc.).

When a number modifies a noun, the singular form is used for the noun. In addition, as an attributive, the number itself requires the attributive affix a:

zìsìt amrr "five years",
ʼawa tìpawmìri "regarding one (particular) question",
munea ʼeveng "two children"

(compare meveng "children" when there are two of them).

Ordinal numbers


Ordinal numbers take the (unstressed) suffix -ve. However, the forms are somewhat irregular; they are generally based on the short/combining forms of the numerals, but "third" and "eighth" are based on the long/final forms.

units decimal octal
ʼáwve first 1st
múve second 2nd
pxéyve third 3rd
tsìve fourth 4th
mŕrve fifth 5th
púve sixth 6th
kíve seventh 7th
vólve eighth 10th
'teens' decimal octal
voláwve ninth 11th
vomúve tenth 12th
vopéyve eleventh 13th
vosìve twelfth 14th
vomŕrve thirteenth 15th
vofúve fourteenth 16th
vohíve fifteenth 17th
mévolve sixteenth 20th

The series continues with mevoláwve "seventeenth (21st)", etc. *Zamve (*zave ?) is not attested. As these are adjectives, they take a when modifying nouns directly: aʼáwve / ʼáwvea, etc.

Converting between octal and decimal


Conversion from English decimal to Naʼvi octal numbers can be tedious. It may be easier to count on your fingers by tucking in your pinkies so that you have the same eight fingers as a Naʼvi has: English "ten" is therefore 1 set of hands plus 2 extra fingers, or Naʼvi 12 vomun. Converting from Naʼvi back to English is more straightforward, if you think of the Naʼvi number as so-many eights plus so-many: Naʼvi "72", for example, would be "seven eights (7×8=56) and two", or English 58. Because eight is a power in binary arithmetic, many of the Naʼvi numbers are also binary units which may be familiar from computing; vozam (octal 1000), for example, is decimal 512.

Derivations of numbers


Numerals form various derivatives, such as ʼawpo "an individual", nìʼawve "first(ly)" (as in, "I was here first"), ʼawsiténg "together" (one-make-same), kawtu "no-one" (not-one-person), kawkrr "never" (not-one-time), nìʼaw "only" (one-ly), and nìʼawtu "alone" (one-person-ly), all from ʼaw "one"; also nìmun "again" (second-ly) and perhaps muntxa "mated" from mune "two".

There are two words for "once", ʼawlie and ʼawlo, the difference of which is not clear. "Twice" is melo.


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