Scots Learners’ Grammar


10. Numbers 

Cardinal numbers are largely different to English in spelling and/or pronunciation, but the construction of complex numbers is the same e.g. 444 fower hunner an fowertie fower. There are some minor variations in spelling/pronunciation between Scots dialects.

Note that sometimes ‘one’ is used in English in an emphatic way, acting more like an adjective. ‘That’s one man I can’t stand’. This has a special construction in Scots, ae, or yae in some dialects.

Thon’s ae man a canna thole.

This is ae used as an adjective.

0             zero/ nocht / naethin1             ane/yin/wan

2             twa/twae/twaw

3             three

4             fower

5             five/fev

6             sax

7             seeven

8             echt/aicht/aucht

9             nine

10           ten11           eleeven

12           twal

13           thirteen/thretteen

14           fowerteen

15           fifteen

16           saxteen

17           seeventeen

18           echteen

19           nineteen


20           twintie 21           twintie-ane / twintie-yin etc

30           thertie/threttie

40           fo(we)rtie

50           fuftie

60           saxtie

70           seeventie

80           echtie

90           ninetie

100         a hunner

1,000      a thoosan(d)

1m          a mullion

Ordinal numbers nearly all end in -t ie first, saicant, third (irregular), fowert, fift, saxt, seevent, echt/aucht, nint, tent. Add -t to the cardinal numbers for subsequent forms. Sometimes the ordinal is used instead of the cardinal e.g. the the twintie Mairch. The abbreviated form is 1t, 2t, 3d (irregular), 4t etc.

Related vocabulary: single, dooble, threeple and the suffix -some to indicate a group of people e.g. a fowersome at the gowf (golf), a echtsome reel (a type of dance with 8 participants). Fractions are hauf, third, quarter, fift etc. Remember twa-three, three-fower mean ‘a few’ and a dizzen (dozen).

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