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This section provides an overview of the Nepali numerals and the numbering system.
Nepali numerals follow the Hindu-Arabic numeral system, a decimal positional notation numeral system with a set of ten digits and where the numerical value of the digit is determined by its position. The symbols for the ten digits are the digits of the Devanagari script in which Nepali is written.
The ordinal numbers are used to show the position in a series (first, second, third, etc.) The following 6 ordinal numbers are written in the following way:
Other ordinal numbers are written by adding either the suffix ौँ or the suffix औँ to the cardinal numbers.
They are written by adding the suffix ौँ if their corresponding cardinal numbers end with a consonant letter, e.g., cardinal number पाँच (five) ends with consonant letter च /cha/, so, 5th is written as पाँचौँ /pāñ·chauñ/. Similarly, 7th is written as सातौँ /sā·tauñ/, 8th as आठौँ /ā·ṭhauñ/, 10th as दसौँ /ḍa·sauñ/, 11th as एघारौँ /e·ghā·rauñ/, 100th as सयौँ /sa·yauñ/.
If their corresponding cardinal numbers end with a dependent vowel sign, the suffix औँ is added, e.g., cardinal number साठी (sixty) ends with dependent vowel sign ी /i/, so, 60th is written as साठिऔँ /sā·thi·auñ/.
The cardinal numbers are used in simple counting and denote quantity (one, two, three, etc.) The numbers listed on the table above are the cardinal numbers in Nepali.
The numbers after one hundred, e.g., the hundreds, the thousands, are named in a regular way, e.g., "ek saye char" /104/, "dui hajar tin saye" /2300/. Every new term greater than thousand is one hundred times larger than the previous term. Thus, lakh means a hundred thousand, karod means a hundred lakh, and so on.
The negative numbers are written by adding a minus sign in front and are named as their corresponding positive number with "minus" added in front, e.g., "minus ek."
Decimal mark: A dot "." is used as decimal mark to separate the integer part from the fractional part of a number written in decimal form.
Digit grouping: For ease of reading, numbers with many digits are divided into groups using commas as the separator. The separators are only employed to the left of the decimal mark. The rightmost three digits are grouped together, but then two digits are grouped together thereafter, e.g., 1,23,45,67,890.
Units of measurement
Nepal uses the metric system of measurement. Nepal enacted the Standard Measurement and Weight Act, 1968 to implement the metric system and specified guidelines to convert the existing customary measurement system to the metric system.
Customary units of measurement
Some customary units are still widely used in Nepal. The 1968 Act standardized some of such units. Some of the widely used customary units and their equivalence to the metric system, as specified in the Act, include Dharni (2.3934096 kilograms), Pathi (4.54596 liters) and Tola.
Tola is a customary unit widely used in weighing precious metals and gemstones. The name Tola originated from the measure roughly the average mass of a coin. The 1968 Act lists three types of Tolas and the one with the name Kampani Tola (equaling 0.0116638 kilograms) matches the Tola standardized in India, where the Indian Standards of Weights and Measurement Act, 1956 had standardized 1 Tola as 3/8 tray ounce, which is the same conversion factor specified for the Kampani Tola in Nepal's 1968 Act.
Besides the unofficial use of these customary units, some customary units are still used officially in Nepal to measure the area of land. Bigaha and Ropani are officially used to measure land areas; and are the most widely used units among the general public compared to their metric counterparts.
Official documentation on these land measurement units is hard to obtain, but according to a document available on the Nepal Law Commission website, the customary units to measure the land area are as follows:
In the Hilly region: 1 Ropani = 16 Aana, 1 Aana = 4 Paisa, 1 Paisa = 4 Daam.
In the Terai region: 1 Bigaha = 20 Kattha, 1 Kattha = 20 Dhur, 1 Dhur = 4 Kanwa.
The document mentions that, using these customary units, the area is written with a hyphen between the units, with the fourth unit omitted if its value is zero. For example, in the Hilly region, the area of 1-2-3-4 would mean 1 Ropani, 2 Aana, 3 Paisa and 4 Daam; 1-2-3 would mean 1 Ropani, 2 Aana, 3 Paisa and 0 Daam (and called 1 Ropani 2 Aana 3 Paisa); 0-2-0-1 would mean 0 Ropani, 2 Aana, 0 Paisa and 1 Daam (and called 2 Anna 1 Daam). The document applies the same convention to the units used in the Terai region, where 1-2-3-4 would mean 1 Bigaha, 2 Kattha, 3 Dhur and 4 Kanwa.
The document further outlines the relations between the units used in the two regions, and their conversion factors to the standard systems as follows:
1 Bigaha = 13 Ropani, 4 Aana
1 Ropani = 5,476 square feet (74 X 74 square feet)
1 Bigaha = 72,900 square feet (270 X 270 square feet)
 "Jaggako Chhetrafal Lekhne Purano Tarika" [Old system of writing land area]. lawcommission.gov.np. Nepal Law Commission, n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2016.