The system is decimal and totally regular except that the Samoan
words "ma le" are inserted in combinations like 101-109 (e.g. selau
ma le tasi = 101, lua afe ma le iva = 2009). Sefulu is abbreviated
to fulu in rapid speech by some speakers.
The ordinal numbers are formed with the definite article singular
te before and the particle o after the number: te lima o fale = the
fifth house (lit.: the [number] five of the houses). Sole exception:
the first = te fale muamua, not *te tasi o fale!
There are special counting systems for persons, fish, coconuts
and fathoms - all decimal, too - but they are gradually falling
out of use.
Grammatically speaking, numbers are (stative) verbs in Tuvaluan
and behave as such, i.e. they can be preceded by verbal particles:
tálá e fá - (it is) four dollars.
Tuvaluan numbers and notes provided by Emanuel Fuchs
If you would like to make any corrections or additions to this page, or if
you can provide recordings, please contact me.