There are several ways of saying Cheyenne numbers. For instance, for the meaning of "1", there is no'ka 'once,' na'êstse 'one (as in 'one dog' or 'one house'), Énó'ka'e 'There is one (inanimate thing),' Éno'kahe 'There is one (animate thing),' nó'kóve 'one group of,' and tséno'kaestse 'he who is the only one.' Here we will only give two lists of numbers, those for telling how many things there are ("QUANTITY numbers", for example, nee hetaneo'o 'two men' or nóhona mâheonôtse 'five houses') and those for telling how many times something was done ("TIMES numbers", for example, nexa ého'soo'e 'He danced twice'). It is important to know the difference between these two sets of numbers and to use them correctly.
Although numbers have been an important part of the Cheyenne language for as long as it has been spoken, it is unlikely, in my (Wayne Leman's) opinion) that reciting numbers, as one learns to do in the whiteman (Western or Euro-American) school system, was ever a natural Cheyenne activity. Instead, Cheyenne speakers naturally used numbers to tell how many deer they killed, how many times they counted coups, etc.
Today, because reciting numbers has been stressed so much in the non-Indian educational system, in which nearly every Cheyenne today has been schooled, it is now considered one of the first activities of bilingual education classes to teach children to recite the Cheyenne numbers from 1 to 10. When this is done, it is usually the TIMES system of numbers which is taught.
(Click on a link to hear that Cheyenne number.)
Number TIMES numbers QUANTITY numbers
1 no'ka na'êstse
2 nexa nee
3 na'ha na'he
4 neva neve
5 nóhona noho
6 naesóhtoha naesohto
7 nésôhtoha nésohto
8 na'nóhtoha na'nohto
9 sóohtoha sóohto
10 mâhtóhtoha mâhtohto
There is a detailed system for constructing numbers higher than these (and the alert observer may have already noticed that there is even a pattern or system in numbers 1 to 10, namely, that 6, 7, and 8, at least, are based on 5 + the proper number; hence 6 = 5 + 1, 7 = 5 + 2, 8 = 5 + 3). Some examples of higher numbers are: 11 is mâhtohto hóhtâhná'êstse (10 plus 1), 20 is nésó'e (2 times 10), 40 is névó'e (4 times 10), 100 is no'ka mâhtóhtôhnó'e (1 times 10 times 10), and 201 is nexa mâhtóhtôhnó'e hóhtâhnó'ka (2 times 10 times 10 plus 1).
Some higher numbers:
11 mâhtohto hóhtâhná'êstse
23 nésó'e hóhtâhna'he
100 no'ka mâhtóhtôhnó'e
Numbers in verbs:
Éno'kahe. There is one (animate) / He is alone.
Énéeo'o. There are two of them (animate).
Énóhoneo'o. There are five of them (animate).
Énó'ka'e. There is one (inanimate thing).
Énéxánêstse. There are two of them (inanimate).
néhnéévôse both of them
néhnéétse both of us