How To Count Numbers In The Chinese Language?

Learning Mandarin
Whenever you are learning a new language, a basic step in in the learning process is learning how to count. Counting in the Chinese language is relatively simpler than other languages because it follows a similar pattern after nine numbers. The counting system in the Chinese language is based on counting to ten numbers and then adding the multiples of ten. For instance, 12 is Shier which is made up of two words Shi, i.e. 10 and er, i.e. 2. Similarly, 22 in the Chinese language is ershier – where er is 2, and shier is multiple 10 plus 2.

Counting after Ten

After 10, the whole counting number contains the word Shi in any form, sometimes before and other times after the main word. For example, 13 in the Chinese language shall be Shisan which is 10 + 3. While 23 shall be ershisan and 33 is sanshisan. As you notice, in double digit numbers, the root word is first added, followed by the words indicating multiples of ten.

Counting after One Hundred

When you reach 100, the Chinese word for 100 is Yi Bai. Zero is only pronounced when it comes between two non-zeros digits. For example, 607 shall be pronounced as (LiuBaiLingQi) Liu-Bai-Ling-Qi, and 6070 shall be pronounced as Liuqian ling Qishi. The last zero shall not be pronounced because it is at the corner. Had it been sandwiched between the two figures, then it shall be pronounced as ling. Like 60,702 can be pronounced in the Chinese language as Liu wan ling qibai ling er.

The Similarity to the English Language

Just like the English language, you can pronounce tens, hundreds and thousands in the Chinese language. Multiples of tens, hundreds or thousands are also pronounced differently, and for large numbers, each of the multiple gets associated with that number. For example, 10 is Shi, and hence 60 shall be Liushi; 100 is bai, and 600 is Liubai; while 1000 is qian and hence 6,000 is Liuqian.

Please note that if there are two zeros sandwiched between two non-zero digits, then we shall pronounce only one zero. For example, 1007 is pronounced as Yi qian ling qi.

In contrast with other language parts, Chinese numbers are relatively simple and easy to be remembered. However, you definitely need some practice to be fluent in reading and writing the numbers. Moreover, a lot of care needs to be taken when pronouncing the number because a little change in tone can change the number. Number one and one hundred million has very similar pronunciation, but there is a huge difference between these two numbers.

So next time when you are dictating some one to write a check or make any transaction entry in the journal, be careful about your tone. Otherwise, you might get the entry to be written like a hundred million instead of a simple one. Learn Mandarin in Singapore, and you won’t make mistakes like those!

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