About Estonian Decimal Number

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wandering
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About Estonian Decimal Number

Postby wandering » 2020-05-02, 16:02

I'm learning Estonian Numerals, there are enough resources talking about how to express the cardinal and ordinal INTEGER numbers, but there are so few literature about the decimal numbers.

In Estonian, the decimal point is a comma, and thus the 'point' in English will be read 'koma' in Estonian. My questions are as follows:

(1) how to read the numbers after the decimal point?
-- always read them cipher by cipher (like in english 3.1415 = three point one four one five ...)?
-- or you can also read them as cardinal number when there are only few digits after decimal point (like 3.41 = three point forty one)?

(2) There are three parts of the reading of the number, a) the digits before decimal point; b) the word 'koma'; c) the digits after decimal point. How to you decline each part?
-- say if the whole expression is in terminative case, should all the three parts be in terminative case?

(3) How are following phrases translated?
-- 3.153 meters (in illative case)
-- 5.3 euros (in ablative case)

Thanks in advance!
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Linguaphile
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Re: About Estonian Decimal Number

Postby Linguaphile » 2020-05-03, 0:31

wandering wrote:I'm learning Estonian Numerals, there are enough resources talking about how to express the cardinal and ordinal INTEGER numbers, but there are so few literature about the decimal numbers.

Quite true! This is a really interesting question. I hope that Ainurakne will weigh in on this tomorrow because I'd like to know more about this topic, too. I've found that it's fairly difficult to learn how express various forms of numbers in Estonian for two reasons:
(1) In writing, they are nearly always written out with numbers rather than words, so reading Estonian text gives no practice with this nor gives any clue as to how they should be read aloud.
(2) That leaves spoken language to learn it from, but in spoken Estonian, numbers are often spoken in quite abbreviated forms that different from what would be written when the are written out fully.

So, although I've written a lengthy answer below, it's more to check my own understanding than to provide with a definitive answer to your questions. Let Ainurakne check it first and let us know!

wandering wrote:In Estonian, the decimal point is a comma, and thus the 'point' in English will be read 'koma' in Estonian. My questions are as follows:

(1) how to read the numbers after the decimal point?
-- always read them cipher by cipher (like in english 3.1415 = three point one four one five ...)?
-- or you can also read them as cardinal number when there are only few digits after decimal point (like 3.41 = three point forty one)?

Both:
3,41 = kolm koma neli üks = kolm koma nelikümmend üks
3,14 = kolm koma neliteist = kolm koma üks neli

With money, you can also say it this way rather than using the word koma:
3,41€ = kolm eurot nelikümmend üks senti
23,52€ = kakskümmend kolm eurot viiskümmend kaks senti

With longer numbers they are usually read individually:
3,1415 = kolm koma üks neli üks viis
3,14159265358979323 = kolm koma üks neli üks viis üheksa kaks kuus viis kolm viis kaheksa üheksa seitse üheksa kolm kaks kolm

Just like in English, breaking longer numbers up into chunks can cause problems in some circumstances:
3,405 = kolm koma neli null viis, not *kolm koma nelikümmend viis, which would be understood as 3.45.

Or at least, that's how I'd understand it. And yet in this video at 6:35, she reads 0,506 as "null koma viiskümmend kuus" and repeats it a moment later as "null koma viiskend kuus". Ainurakne, is this common to read this as viisk[ümm]end+kuus instead of reading it as viis+null+kuus? Is it correct? I'd be so confused if I heard it the way she said it without seeing what she had written. I would have thought she meant 0,56 instead of 0,506. :hmm:

wandering wrote:(2) There are three parts of the reading of the number, a) the digits before decimal point; b) the word 'koma'; c) the digits after decimal point. How to you decline each part?
-- say if the whole expression is in terminative case, should all the three parts be in terminative case?

The word koma doesn't take the case ending.
That's the simple part of the answer.
Now for the other part... as far as the other two parts taking case endings or not, I have seen it both ways. I don't know if both are correct.
But also, remember that terminative and comitative case endings don't appear on adjectives and other descriptors. That makes terminative case a somewhat bad example compared to other cases.
So let's look at some other cases first, then come back to terminative:

I've found examples that do decline all of the elements of the number for case:
to 6.5 billion = kuuele koma viiele miljardile
between 0.3 and 0.6% = ühe koma kolme ja ühe koma kuue protsendi vahel

The word null doesn't change to nulli even when the other numbers change case:
between 0.03 and 0.06% = ühe koma null kolme ja ühe koma null kuue protsendi vahel

I also found some examples that only decline the final number (along with the noun that it describes):
to 3.1% = kolm koma ühele protsendile
from 37.63€ = kolmekümne seitsme koma kuuekümne kolmelt eurolt
to 41.34€ = neljakümne ühe koma kolmekümne neljale eurole

Are all of those examples correct, or are some improper usage? I don't know. Maybe Ainurakne can tell us how they sound to him.

Okay, back to terminative. What makes it different is that the case ending -ni normally gets added only to the final word, not to any descriptors that come earlier in the phrase. The same applies to decimal numbers.
I found these examples with the terminative case:
until 2,4 = kahe koma neljani
until 53,6 = viiekümne kolme koma kuueni
up to 3.5% = kolme koma viie protsendini
up to 18.8% = kaheksateist koma kaheksa protsendini

And in the examples below you can contrast terminative case with ablative case and see that the ablative case portion of the example has the case ending on all the numbers (in the first example) and on the final number (in the second example) as well as the noun that follows it, which is the same two possibilities as what I described above. But in the terminative case portion the case ending is only on the word that comes at the very end:
from 8.5% to 8.3% = kaheksalt koma viielt protsendilt kaheksa koma kolme protsendini
from 3.1€ to 4.4€ = kolm koma ühelt eurolt nelja koma nelja euroni

wandering wrote:(3) How are following phrases translated?
-- 3.153 meters (in illative case)
-- 5.3 euros (in ablative case)

I'm not a native speaker, so let's let Ainurakne tell us how he would say these. :lol:

Most of my examples are from Kõnesalvestuste brauser, which is a speech-to-text corpus generated from radio broadcasts. That makes it one of the few places you can see spoken numbers written out fully, but it could also have errors, because they are from a variety of sources and generated automatically. Plus, I searched for what I expected to find by typing in examples of what I thought was correct. It found examples of that usage, just as I asked it to. But if there are entirely different ways to say these numbers, even if they are more common than what I searched for, my search of the corpus wouldn't have found them.

Please correct my errors!

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ainurakne
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Re: About Estonian Decimal Number

Postby ainurakne » 2020-05-03, 5:53

So much time has passed since I learned decimal numbers in math class that I'm not even sure any more how to read them correctly. I think they are not that common in everyday speech. In any way, I use whichever form feels the shortest / easiest to say for each case.

wandering wrote:(1) how to read the numbers after the decimal point?
-- always read them cipher by cipher (like in english 3.1415 = three point one four one five ...)?
-- or you can also read them as cardinal number when there are only few digits after decimal point (like 3.41 = three point forty one)?
I'd say kolm koma nelikümmend üks (3.41), but kolm koma üks neli üks viis (3.1415) as kolm koma (üks) tuhat nelisada viisteist feels cumbersome to say.

wandering wrote:(2) There are three parts of the reading of the number, a) the digits before decimal point; b) the word 'koma'; c) the digits after decimal point. How to you decline each part?
-- say if the whole expression is in terminative case, should all the three parts be in terminative case?
I'd say, decline both parts around the comma (except the comma itself). Although I often see the first part being left in genitive case (for cases that are formed by adding the case suffix to the genitive stem) even for other cases than the ones that Linguaphile described, e.g.: kolmelt koma neljakümne ühelt vs. kolme koma neljakümne ühelt.

wandering wrote:(3) How are following phrases translated?
-- 3.153 meters (in illative case)
-- 5.3 euros (in ablative case)
First one is difficult, because I really struggled finding an example where one would actually need to use illative case for such a number:
Kolme koma saja viiekümne kolme meetrisse (kolme koma sada/saja viidekümne kolme meetrisse :?: ) - notice that both kolme are pronounced overlong as they are using the short illative form. Long illative kolmesse koma saja viiekümne kolmesse sounds weird in my opinion.
But in any way, if the sentence permits, I would use kolme koma saja viiekümne kolme meetri sisse (both kolme are genitive)

Viielt koma kolmelt eurolt or viie koma kolmelt eurolt or viielt eurolt ja kolmekümnelt sendilt or viie(lt) kolmekümnelt.


I think declining decimals is difficult, so whenever/whereever possible, use alternatives:
Kaks ja pool (2.5), poolteist (1.5), kolmveerand (0.75), kümnendik (0.1) (1/10 = üks kümnendik), etc...


Linguaphile wrote:Just like in English, breaking longer numbers up into chunks can cause problems in some circumstances:
3,405 = kolm koma neli null viis, not *kolm koma nelikümmend viis, which would be understood as 3.45.
Kolm koma nelisada viis flows better, in my opinion, than kolm koma neli null viis.

Linguaphile wrote:Or at least, that's how I'd understand it. And yet in this video at 6:35, she reads 0,506 as "null koma viiskümmend kuus" and repeats it a moment later as "null koma viiskend kuus". Ainurakne, is this common to read this as viisk[ümm]end+kuus instead of reading it as viis+null+kuus? Is it correct? I'd be so confused if I heard it the way she said it without seeing what she had written. I would have thought she meant 0,56 instead of 0,506. :hmm:
No, it's incorrect. It should be read as null koma viissada kuus.

Linguaphile wrote:between 0.3 and 0.6% = ühe null koma kolme ja ühe null koma kuue protsendi vahel
...
between 0.03 and 0.06% = ühe null koma null kolme ja ühe null koma null kuue protsendi vahel


Linguaphile wrote:to 3.1% = kolm koma ühele protsendile
Feels weird to me. I would say kolme koma ühele protsendile.
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Linguaphile
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Re: About Estonian Decimal Number

Postby Linguaphile » 2020-05-03, 7:04

ainurakne wrote:
Linguaphile wrote:between 0.3 and 0.6% = ühe null koma kolme ja ühe null koma kuue protsendi vahel
...
between 0.03 and 0.06% = ühe null koma null kolme ja ühe null koma null kuue protsendi vahel

Oh good grief... I don't even know what that mess was supposed to be. I got the example from Kõnesalvestuste brauser, but the part written with numbers was my own, and I think that's where the error was (rather than the other way around). I think it was supposed to be this:
between 1.3% and 1.6% = ühe koma kolme ja ühe koma kuue protsendi vahel
between 1.03% and 1.06% = ühe koma null kolme ja ühe koma null kuue protsendi vahel

ainurakne wrote:First one is difficult, because I really struggled finding an example where one would actually need to use illative case for such a number

I'm just delighted that you didn't reply with "these are perfectly ordinary phrases that we use all the time, why is this difficult for you?" LOL
Honestly, numbers in Estonian are difficult, for the reasons I mentioned earlier, and all of their many forms. It makes me think of this post from a while back in the general language forum:
Worse yet, all the possible numbers would have to have their own forms! That alone could, obviously, get out of hand rather quickly. I don't think I've ever even heard of a natural language that marks case on number

Issand jumal.... But when I replied in that thread I said that while it does happen in natural languages, I agree that it does in fact get out of hand rather quickly. :mrgreen: The fact that it's not hard to get by (to understand and be understood) without actually knowing all of the forms doesn't really help, either. :D I mean it helps with communicating, but not with learning them!

Thanks for your response! :D

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Re: About Estonian Decimal Number

Postby wandering » 2020-05-03, 10:23

Wow, thousand thanks to both Linguaphile and Ainurakne! There are really many examples for me to understand how it works.

Following I will list the rules of declension for each type of numerals (assuming they are always compounds, i.e. have more than one figure/word, and ignoring the case when the number is accompanying nouns and from translative case the number should be in genitive.)

(1) Cardinal Numbers

-- in the norminative/genitive/partitive case, every component should be declined individually.
-- starting with the illative case, only the last figure takes the case ending with all other components in the genitive.

(2) Ordinal Numbers

-- only the last figure takes the ordinal form and declines with the case, and all other components stays in genitive cardinal form

(3) Decimal Numbers with Comma

-- Should it be like the rules for cardinal Numbers, i.e. there is a border between "decline them all" (only norm/geni/part case) and "decline only the last figure, leave other parts to genitive" (from illative case)
-- Or the declensions of decimal numbers are just very free, i.e. "decline them all" and "decline only the last figure, leave other parts to genitive" are okay for all cases.
-- Or the rules for compound cardinal numbers are wrong?

Are the rules above sound correct to you guys?


Another type of number just ran into my head while I was typing the above summary, what about declensions of "Fraction numbers"?

From my shallow research in the internet, it seems that the numerator's reading seldom takes any case ending. Does anyone have a deeper observation about this?
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Linguaphile
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Re: About Estonian Decimal Number

Postby Linguaphile » 2020-05-04, 5:52

wandering wrote:what about declensions of "Fraction numbers"?

From my shallow research in the internet, it seems that the numerator's reading seldom takes any case ending. Does anyone have a deeper observation about this?


Anywhere that you would normally use a nominative noun, you'll have the first component (numerator) in the nominative case and the second component (denominator) in the nominative case (-ndik form) if the numerator is 1 and in the partitive singular (-ndikku form) if the numerator is the number two or higher:
  • üks kuuendik võib ka täpselt niimoodi olla = one-sixth can also be exactly like that
  • Kuu gravitatsioon on ligi viis kuuendikku väiksem kui maal = the moon's gravitation is close to five-sixths less than it is on earth
  • Projekt leidis nimelt, et neist lausa kolm neljandikku olid suuremal või vähemal määral valed = the project found that a full three-fourths of them were to a greater or lesser extent wrong

In other situations you can have a variety of case forms, depending on which case the sentence requires, and both words take the same case ending.
Examples from news articles and radio transcripts:
  • umbes ühest kolmandikust kuni kahe kolmandikuni = about one-third to two-thirds
  • Umbes kahel kolmandikul haiglaravil viibivatel uude koroonaviirusesse nakatunutel tuvastatakse viirus alles haiglas = About two-thirds of those hospitalized with the novel coronavirus were diagnosed only after hospitalization.
  • Kokkulepe katab kaht viiendikku maailmamajandusest = the agreement covers two-fifths of the world economy
  • Tulumaksuvabastus puudutab nelja viiendikku Eesti elanikest = the income tax exemption affects four-fifths of Estonian residents

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Re: About Estonian Decimal Number

Postby ainurakne » 2020-05-04, 12:48

Denominator is used exactly the same way as any other nouns are used together with numbers:

  • üks käsi -> üks kümnendik
  • ühe käe -> ühe kümnendiku
  • üht(e) kätt -> üht(e) kümnendikku
  • ühte/ühesse kätte -> ühte/ühesse kümnendikku
  • ühes käes -> ühes kümnendikus
  • etc...

  • kaks kätt -> kaks kümnendikku
  • kahe käe -> kahe kümnendiku
  • kaht(e) kätt -> kaht(e) kümnendikku
  • kahte/kahesse kätte -> kahte/kahesse kümnendikku
  • kahes käes -> kahes kümnendikus
  • etc...
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