Roman NumbersThe following chart compares how to count from 1-10 in Hebrew, Arabic, and Aramaic.  I included transliterations of all three languages so everyone can compare the similarities and dissimilarities between the languages.  In all three languages, cardinal and ordinal numbers must agree in gender (masculine or feminine; mixed groups are treated as masculine) with the noun(s) they are describing.  All of the forms here are cardinal (numbers that express amount; one, two, three of something) as opposed to ordinal numbers (which indicate position in a series or order; first, second, third).  Interestingly, Hebrew, Arabic, and Aramaic numbers all exhibit ‘polarity,’ that is, masculine numbers are used for feminine nouns and feminine numbers are used for masculine nouns.

In Modern Hebrew, if a noun isn’t being referred, the feminine form is used.  In Modern Hebrew many speakers commonly use the feminine form as the default, even in instances in which it would be grammatically wrong to do so.

You may be wondering where the Arabic feminine numbers have gone, all of the Arabic numbers can be made feminine by adding “ة” at the end.

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Number Pron. AramaicMale Pron. AramaicFeminine Pron. ArabicMale Pron. HebrewFemale Pron. HebrewMale
0 Sifr صفر achat achat efes אֶפֶס
1 chad חַד chada הֲדָא waa7id واحد אַחַת echad אֶחַד
2 treyn תְּרֵין tarteyn תַּרְתֵּין ithnaan اثنان shtayim שְׁתַּיִם shnayim שְׁנַיִם
3 tlata תְּלָתָא telat תְּלָת thalaatha ثلاثة shalosh שָׁלוֹשׁ shlosha שְׁלוֹשָׁה
4 arba אַרְבְּעָה arba אַרְבַּע arba3a أربعة arbah אַרְבַּע arba’a אַרְבָּעָה
5 chamsha חַמְשָׁא chameysh חֲמֵישׁ khamsa خمسة chameysh חָמֵשׁ chamisha חֲמִשָׁה
6 shita שִׁיתָּא shet שֵית sitta ستة sheysh שֵׁשׁ shisha שִׁשָּׁה
7 shiva שִׁבְעָה shva שְבַע sab3a سبعة sheva שֶׁבַע shiv’a שִׁבְעַה
8 tmanya תְּמָנְיָא tamney תַּמְנֵי thamaaneya ثمانية shmoneh שְׁמוֹנֶה shmonah שְׁמוֹנָה
9 tisha תִּשְׁעָה teysha תֵּשַׁע tis3a تسعة teysha תֵּשַׁע tish’a תִּשְׁעָה
10 asra עַסְרָא? asar עַסַר 3ashara عشرة eser עֶשֶׂר assara עֲשָׂרָה

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