Hebrew Numerals 10 to 100

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Hebrew Numerals 10 to 100

Now, after we've learned some basics about numericals, let's take a look on an advanced part.
First of all, we've only covered numericals from 1 to 10. What about the numbers beyond that?

The -teen numbers in Hebrew are formed as a combination ("smikhut") of a number and a word "asar"/עָשָׂר (or "esre"/עֶשְׂרֶה.)

Remember, the "One, who knows" song? Shneim-asar shivtaya (שנים-עשר שבטיא) - the Twelf Tribes. You may ask, why it's "esre"(f)/"asar"(m) rather than familiar "eser"(f)/"asara"(m), or my G-d, it's conusing! And the answer would be: for the same reason "-teen" is not "exactly" "ten", buddy. So, here come the numbers from 11 to 19: ahat-esre, shteim-esre, shva`-esre, etc. (Try to memorize them in the feminine form, which is used for counting.)

So, the second word is "esre", what about the first one?
It's one of the numbers 1-9 we've learned, but it's evolved a little. This is so-called "combinational" form ("nismakh" נסמך, which is part of "smikhut"/סמיכות/combination).

Look at the table below (words are written in modern combined orthography). Some of the numbers (1,4,5,6,8) are only changing their vocalization marks, while pronounced the same way as without the "-teen" part. Others (2,3,7,9) are changing their pronunciation. I would recommend simply to learn all these numbers as stand-alone words, like "eleven", "nineteen", etc; but if you are into analysis and systematic learning, you might want to also follow some logic in those words' structure.

M. / זכר
  Fem. / נקבה
    Learn this column!    


אֲחַת-עֶשְׂרֵה [achad-`esre] 11
שְׁנֵים-עָשָׂר [shneim-`asar] שְׁתֵּים-עֶשְׂרֵה [shteim-`esre] 12
שְׁלוֹשָה-עָשָׂר [shlosh-`asar] שְׁלוֹשׁ-עֶשְׂרֵה [shlosh-`esre] 13
אַרְבָּעָה-עָשָׂר [arba`a-`asar] אַרְבַּע-עֶשְׂרֵה [arba-`esre] 14
חֲמִישָׁה-עָשָׂר [chamisha-`asar] חֲמֵשׁ-עֶשְׂרֵה [chamesh-`esre] 15
שִׁישָה-עָשָׂר [shisha-`asar] שֵׁש-עֶשְׂרֵה [shesh-`esre] 16
שִׁבְעָה-עָשָׂר [shiv`a-`asar] שְׁבַע-עֶשְׂרֵה [shva-`esre] 17
שְׁמוֹנָה-עָשָׂר [shmona-`asar] שְמוֹנֶה-עֶשְׂרֵה [shmona-`esre] 18
תִּשְׁעָה-עָשָׂר [tish`a-`asar] תְּשַׁע-עֶשְׂרֵה [tesha-`esre] 19

Remark for advanced students:

Note, that for 11,14,15,16,18 the first vowel is also making an attempt to "fall out": in 11 and 15 it's turning to chataf-patach, because a vowel cannot fully escape the "guttural" aleph; in 14 the word structure doesn't allow it to fall out, and in 16 and 18 the first vowel is already absent. This vowel fall-out is happening because of universal laws of syllable structuring, which have almost no exceptions in Hebrew. Unfortunately, for different reasons vowel structuring is considered "obsolete" topic, since it doesn't really works well with modern orthography. We'll put the whole syllable topic aside, and will probably dedicate a separate article to it.

Also, when you speak fast, the two words "almost" turn into one, with primary stress on the first word: [ shva`esre], [ shteimesre ]. (As far as I remember, this effect is called in linguistics "primary stress". In the table above primary stress is marked with bold underlined font, and the secondary stress - with bold without the underline.)

See this red "Learn this column!" sign? The good news is, that feminine form of the numbers between 11 to 20 is the most commonly used. If you hear "shiv`at `asar" on TV, you will probably recognize it's the same thing as "shva-`esre"; it's even easier to recognize it when you read; and most people around you in Israel will say "shva-esre" anyway.

Numbers 20, 30, 40, etc are much easier. They do not have gender, and they look like a plural of words "ten" (that's for 20), plural of "three" (30), etc.

Hebrew:   Num.
עֶשְׂרִים   20
שׁלוֹשִׁים   30
אַרְבָּעִים   40
חֲמִישִים   50
שִשִּׁים   60
שִׁבְעִים   70
שְׁמוֹנִים   80
תִּשְׁעִים   90

What if you want to say "twenty three"? It's pretty much like English, but you put a little "and" inside:
"twenty and three", "`esrim we shalosh" - עֶשְׁרִים וְשָׁלוֹשׁ. (While I'm not native English speaker, and my Hebrew is much better than my English, I'm making this mistake in English: sometimes I say or write it "Hebrew way", like one hundred and ten...)

Now, if you did a good job in the first part of this article, and memorized masculine form for numbers 1-9, you should be able to build up any Hebrew numerical with 2 digits, from 11 to 99, either in basic/feminine or in masculine form -- it's only the second part which determines the gender, while the decades stay gender-neutral:

thirty three (f) -- שְׁלוֹשִׁים וְשָׁלוֹשׁ

fifty seven (f) -- חֲמִישִׁים וְשֶׁבַע

seventy nine (m) -- שִׁבְעִים וְתִשְׁעָה

ninety four (m) -- תִּשְׁעִים וְאַרְבָּעָה

As an exercise, try to write down as much numbers from 21 to 99 as you can, and then read them.

See you next time!

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