While in Liberia you are most likely to simply use English for counting, paying, etc. it still is helpful to have a basic understanding of the structure/method and vocabulary around counting/numbers. In Kpelle counting is done through a base of 5 or in other words you begin again after 5, similar to what we do with a base of 10.


1-Taan (tono, dono)

2-VeerE (feere)

3-Zaaba (saaba)

4-naaN (naaN)

5-LOOlu (noolu)

6-mEi da (loolu mei da)

7-mEi-feerE (loolu mei feere)

8-mEi-saaba (loolu mei saaba)

9-mEi-naan (loolu mei naan)


11-puu kao tono

12-puu kao feere

13-puu kao zaaba…


19-puu kao loolu mEi naan

20-buu feere

21-buu feere kao tono

30-buu saaba

100-nun tono

As you can see as you count the number are added to a base of 5. So take the number 7 it is written/said as loolu (5) mei (plus) feere (2). So 7 or mei feere. You can say it either way (mei-feere or loolu me feere).

For 20, 30, 40, etc. you simply add buu plus the base. So 60 would be-bu loolu mei da. As you can see the original/base number is also conjugated/changed when attaching it to numbers higher than 5 (example-veere becomes feere).

Hopefully that you now have a basic understand lets try some practice:


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