This is a really important one today—Lao numbers and counting. On the Ling blog, we like to include a wide array of content, including everything from Lao spaceship vocabulary to Lao colors. However, we know some are more key to cover than others, which is what we have today.
Numbers are a basic aspect of any language. You could go to a remote tribe in Papua New Guinea, and perhaps they couldn't tell you the first thing about architecture or complex grammar, but there'll be at least some language system for numbers and counting.
Before we go any further, let me take 1 minute to tell you about Ling. Ling is fast becoming one of the biggest language apps on the market. Originating from Chiang Mai, Thailand, Ling has brought together a talented team of teachers and software developers to create an app that is ideal for studying lesser-known languages such as Lao and Thai. Read till the end to find out more.
First, let's learn how to count in Lao.
Luckily the numbers between 13 and 19 are pretty easy to memorize. You just need to know the word sib, which is ten plus any second digit number added to it.
|1 million||nung Ian||ຫນຶ່ງແສນ|
|10 million||sib lan||ສິບລ້ານ|
|100 million||nung hony Ian||ຫນຶ່ງຮ້ອຍລ້ານ|
|1 billion||nung tu||ຫນຶ່ງຕື້|
|1 trillion||nung phan tu||ຫນຶ່ງພັນຕື້|
A good piece of knowledge to memorize is how to connect to a phone in Laos. Each country has its own dialing code, and Laos' dialing code is +856, followed by the rest of the person's number.
Another useful thing to know is the number for emergency services. In Laos, they are:
However, I would be highly skeptical if you called one of these numbers just how much English they spoke and, if they did speak English, how much they'd be willing to help you.
In Lao, the number 4 is believed to be lucky because it symbolizes a cat that is said to have four lives. The number 67 is unlucky because it is related to turtles. However, I've still never been able to find anyone who can explain why turtles might be unlucky. (In other Asian cultures, they are lucky because they symbolize longevity).
People are very specific regarding numbers and whether they are lucky or unlucky. An unlucky number could come into existence because of how a number sounds—for example, the number 4 is unlucky in Chinese because it also sounds like the word death. A similar phenomenon exists in Japan around the number 9 because it sounds like the word torture.
In Western culture, there is a taboo around the number 13. It is difficult to pin down exactly how this came to be. I've heard three different explanations. The first is that there were 13 steps up to the gallows where a man would be hung. The second is that a witch's coven had 13 members. I think the best explanation is from Biblical times. There were 13 disciples at the last supper, and the 13th was Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Christ to the Romans. Ironically, the Italians consider the number lucky as it relates to Saint Anthony.
We now hope you feel a lot more confident counting Lao numbers. Do you think you're ready to visit and strike up a conversation with a local? Visit our page and download our Lao language course now.
When trying to meet your language learning goals, Ling has plenty to offer you. Here's a comprehensive breakdown of what things you can expect if you download the ling app.