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Cawyaŋ Zarma Sanni

Boys on a donkey cart in a Zarma village in western Niger
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Grammar help

Ordinal numbers

The ordinal numbers in Zarma are based on the cardinal numbers except for the first (sintina). An ordinal number is formed by adding 'anta' to the cardinal numbers. In case the cardinal number ends on an 'a' or an 'i', this 'a' or 'i' are replaced. In case the cardinal number ends on an 'u' this 'u' is only replaced for ahakku.

  ihinkanta sintina ihinzanta  



Ordinal numbers
   above 10
Numerical adverbs
   number of
   with first
   with last

Ordinals 1-10

Ordinal numbers 1 - 10
Zarma English Zarma English
cardinal ordinal ordinal cardinal ordinal ordinal
afo sintina first iddu idduanta sixth
ihinka ihinkanta second iyye iyyanta seventh
ihinza ihinzanta third ahakku ahakkanta eighth
itaaci itaacanta fourth iyegga iyegganta ninth
iggu igguanta fifth iway iwayanta tenth

Ordinals above 10

For the numbers higher than 10 the ordinal number is formed in the same way as the numbers below 10. For the 11th, 21th et cetera, the ordinal number is the same as the cardinal number.

In the higher number the cardinals are frequently used instead of the ordinals.

Ordinal numbers higher than 10
Zarma English
iway cindi fo eleventh
iway cindi hinkanta twelfth
warankanta twentieth
waranka cindi fo twenty-first
waranka cindi ahakkanta twenty-eighth


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Numerical adverbs

Number of times

The word ce or sorro in combination with the cardinal number is used to indicate the number of times, for example:

Zarma Engish
ce fo, sorro fo once, one time
ce hinka, sorro hinka twice, two times
ce boobo many times
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Combinations with first

English Zarma Remark
at first, first sintina, me fo also means: together, simultaneously, at the same time
in the first place jina also means: in front, in front of, before; yet, already
example: M' a naŋ jina Let him first
to be first jin also means: to precede, to go before
first born hay jine, hay jina  
first, senior or only wife wargida Hausa origin

Combinations with last

English Zarma Remark
to do last kokor also means: to do recently; to do subsequently;
kokor can be used in verb link constructions to give an adverbial flavour:
A kokor ga kaa He wound up coming
A kokor ga ci ay se He finally told me
Ay kokor ga di a I saw it at last
last, final kokoro also could be used: bananta, banda wane, kokoro banda wane
in the last place, last of all, at last kokoro banda  
last year mannaŋ {manan}   see time
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Idiomatic expressions

There are some idiomatic expressions with first and second
English Zarma
first, senior or only wife wargida [H]
second or subsequent wife in plural marriage wayce
second story jidan bisa (Hausa; lit. house up above); sooro, soora
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      Dico Fraters, the Netherlands © 2004-2016      
Last updated: 20 Januari, 2016