Words for numbers --- English --- French and German --- Songs --- Counting sheepThis is an account of counting sheep in Northumberland:
"Counting livestock was by the score, and even in the 1960s some of the old Northumberland shepherds still used the old language - een, tean, thether and so on. The shepherd would count to 20 (a score). At this point a finger would be clenched and the count started again. Thus an accurate count could be kept to 600, using the fingers of one hand for the scores, and the fingers of the other hand for the hundreds. There would be very few flocks exceeding 400 in Northumberland."
I am not sure where this language comes from - some of the words are similar to Welsh, but not others.
|Digit||Number||Shepherds number||Welsh number|
|2||two||tean||dau (m) / dwy (f)|
|3||three||thether||tri (m) / tair (f)|
|4||four||mether||pedwar (m) / pedair (f)|
|1 - 5||Yan||Tyan||Tethera||Methera||Pimp|
|6 - 10||Sethera||Lethera||Hovera||Dovera||Dick|
|11 - 15||Yan-a-dick||Tyan-a-dick||Tethera-dick||Methera-dick||Bumfit|
|16 - 20||Yan-a-bumfit||Tyan-a-bumfit||Tethera Bumfit||Methera Bumfit||Giggot|
© Jo Edkins 2006 - Return to Numbers index