Klingon originally had a ternary number system; that is, one based on three. Counting proceeded as follows: 1, 2, 3; 3+1, 3+2, 3+3; 2*3+1, 2*3+2, 2*3+3; 3*3+1, 3*3+2, 3*3+3; and then it got complicated. In accordance with the more accepted practice, the Klingon Empire sometime back adopted a decimal number system, one based on ten. Though no one knows for sure, it is likely that this change was made more out of concern for understanding the scien- tific data of other civilizations than out of a spirit of cooper- ation.
The Klingon numbers are:
Higher numbers are formed by adding special number- forming elements to the basic set of numbers (1--9). Thus, wa'maH ten consists of wa' one plus the number-forming element for ten, maH. Counting continues as follows:
|11||wa'maH wa'||(that is, ten and one)|
|12||wa'maH cha'||(that is, ten and two)|
Higher numbers are based on maH ten, vatlh hundred, and SaD or SanID thousand. Both SaD and SanID are equally correct for thousand, and both are used with roughly equal frequency. It is not known why this number alone has two variants.
|20||cha'maH||(that is, two tens)|
|30||wejmaH||(that is, three tens)|
|100||wa'vatlh||(that is, one hundred)|
|200||cha'vatlh||(that is, two hundreds)|
|1,000||wa'SaD or wa'SanID||(that is, one thousand)|
|2,000||cha'SaD or cha'SanID||(that is, two thousands)|
Numbers are combined as in English:
5,347 vaghSaD wejvatlh loSmaH Soch or vaghSanID wejvatlh loSmaH Soch
604 javvatlh loS
31 wejmaH wa'
Some of the number-forming elements for higher numbers are:
ten thousand netlh
hundred thousand bIp
Zero is pagh.
Numbers are used as nouns. As such, they may stand alone as subjects or objects or they may modify another noun.
mulegh cha' Two (of them) see me.
(mulegh they see me, cha' two)
wa' yIHoH Kill one (of them)!
(wa' one, yIHoH kill him/her!)
The preceding sentence is grammatically correct even without the wa' because the prefix yI- indicates a singular object. The wa', therefore, is used for emphasis only.
Numbers used as modifiers precede the noun they modify.
loS puqpu' or loS puq four children
vaghmaH yuQmey or vaghmaH yuQ fifty planets
The plural suffixes (-pu', -mey) are not necessary when a number is used.
When a number is used for numbering, as opposed to counting, it follows the noun. Compare:
DuS wa' torpedo tube number 1
wa' DuS one torpedo tube
Ordinal numbers (first, second, etc.) are formed by adding -DIch to the numbers.
Ordinal numbers follow the noun.
meb cha'DIch second guest
Adding -logh to a number gives the notion of repetitions.
Hutlogh nine times
These numbers function in the sentence as adverbials (section 5.4).