This post is based on Practical Marshallese by Peter Rudiak-Gould, a freely distributed, full-length textbook for learning the native language of the Marshall Islands. It has been used since 2004 as the official language manual for all volunteers in the WorldTeach Marshall Islands program, and it has formed the basis of language classes for Americans at Kwajalein Atoll. The 102 short lessons describe the grammar of the language in practical and familiar terms, and a glossary presents 1500 useful words.

The following are the numbers of Marshallese. Occasionally you will see old versions of some of the numbers, such as jiljilimjuon for seven, but these are almost never used today, and not worth learning.

juon (pronounced ‘juōn’) 11 joñoul juon (pronounced ‘joñoul juōn’) 10 joñoul 100 jibukwi 1000 juon tọujin (pronounced ‘juōn tọujin’)
2 ruo 12 joñoul ruo 20 roñoul 200 rūbukwi 2000 ruo tọujin
3 jilu 13 joñoul jilu 30 jilñoul 300 jilubukwi 3000 jilu tọujin
4 emān 14 joñoul emān 40 eñoul 400 eabukwi or ābukwi 4000 emān tọujin
5 ḷalem 15 joñoul ḷalem 50 lemñoul 500 limabukwi 5000 ḷalem tọujin
6 jiljino (pronounced ‘jijino’) 16 joñoul jiljino (pronounced ‘joñoul jijino’) 60 jiljinoñoul (pronounced ‘jijinoñoul’) 600 jiljinobukwi (pronounced ‘jijinobukwi’) 6000 jiljino tọujin (pronounced ‘jijino tọujin’)
7 jimjuon 17 joñoul jimjuon 70 jimjuoñoul 700 jimjuonbukwi 7000 jimjuon tọujin
8 ralitōk 18 joñoul ralitōk 80 ralitoñoul 800 ralitōkbukwi 8000 ralitōk tọujin
9 ratimjuon 19 joñoul ratimjuon 90 ratimjuoñoul 900 ratimjuonbukwi 9000 ratimjuon tọujin
10 joñoul 20 roñoul 100 jibukwi 1000 juon tọujin 10000 joñoul tọujin

As you can see in the second column, to make number likes 14 or 35, you simply say the word for the tens column and then the word for the ones column. For example:

joñoul juonten/oneeleven
joñoul jiluten/threethirteen
jiljinoñoul jimjuonsixty/sevensixty-seven

For numbers like 156 or 3892, just add together the words like in English:

rūbukwi eñoul jilutwo hundred/forty/threetwo hundred and forty-three
jilu tọujin ralitōkbukwi roñoul ḷalem
three/thousand/eight hundred/twenty/fivethree thousand eight hundred and twenty-five

The following are some phrases that use numbers. They are useful not only for conversation but also for practicing the numbers you have learned.

Jete awa?how many/timeWhat time is it?
Jete awa kiiō?how many/time/nowWhat time is it now?
Jete awa ippaṃ?how many/time/with youWhat time do you have?
Ruo awatwo/hourTwo o’clock
Ruo awa joñoul minittwo/hour/ten/minute2:10
Ruo awa jimattantwo/hour/halfHalf past two
Joñoul minit ñan ralitōk awaten/minute/to/eight/hourTen to eight
Joñoul minit jān ralitōk awaten/minute/from/eight/hourTen after eight
Jete aṃ iiō?how many/your/yearHow old are you?
____ aō iiō____/my/yearI am _____ years old
Jete wōṇān?how many/price-itsHow much does it cost?
Jete wōṇān ____ ?how many/price-of/____How much does ____ cost?
Jiljino taḷasix/dollarSix dollars
Lemñoul jāānfifty/centFifty cents
Jiljino taḷa lemñoul jāānsix/dollar/fifty/cent$6.50

Dialogue

Kajin Majol

  • A:Iọkwe in raelep.
  • B: Iọkwe iọkwe. Ej et mour?
  • A:Elukkuun eṃṃan. Etaṃ?
  • B: Eta in Tonika.
  • A:Jete aṃ iiō kiiō?
  • B:Roñoul aō iiō.
  • A:Jete awa ippaṃ?
  • B: Juon awa jimattan
  • A:Koṃṃooltata. Iọkwe eok.
  • B: Iọkwe.

English

  • A: Good afternoon.
  • B: Hello. How are you?
  • A: Great. What’s your name?
  • B: My name is Tonika.
  • A: How old are you now?
  • B: I’m twenty years old.
  • A: What time do you have?
  • B: Half past one.
  • A: Thanks a lot. Goodbye.
  • B:Bye.

Vocabulary

im and
ak or akō but, what about, or (when asking questions)
ñe ej jab or (when expressing the idea of one or the other)
juon one, a, an
jān from, off, than
ñan to, for, in order to
kiiō now
awa (from English) hour, time, time of the day, o’clock

Practical Marshallese

Published by Marco Mora-Huizar

I am a Spanish and Marshallese translator. Iaar katak Kajin Majol ilo Enid, Oklahoma. marcomh.com

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