Have you heard the saying, “You have to be odd to be number one”? This is just proof that numbers are significant in our lives. Since we were young, learning about numbers and learning how to count are some of the greatest milestones in our lives. In this blog, we will learn about Cantonese numbers, which are really important in their culture. Did you know that there are Cantonese numbers 號碼 (hou6 maa5) that are considered “lucky numbers,” and there are also some that are considered “unlucky numbers”? If you want to know more, keep on reading.
We use numbers in our everyday life. We use it to tell time, in shopping, and call someone on the phone. From a wider perspective, numbers are also important in more important aspects of our life. Numbers can influence decisions related to performance and effectiveness. Even in social media, people nowadays tend to look at the number of likes and shares to gather information and satisfaction.
Tones Are Still Important!
See those numbers in Pinyin form? Those numbers indicate the tone for pronunciation. If you have been learning Cantonese or any other Chinese language such as Mandarin, you know that they are tonal languages which means tones and pronunciation are vital to the meaning of the words and phrases. Unfortunately, this makes the Chinese language a little bit difficult to learn compared to non-tonal languages.
So, in learning numbers in Cantonese, you should be familiar with different tones in the Cantonese language. You can also hear the right pronunciation of the words using the Ling app because if you want to learn Cantonese using this app, it will provide you with audio recordings by native speakers to ensure the authenticity and accuracy of the spoken language.
Numbers And Counting In Cantonese
It is no doubt that you have already mastered counting in your own native language and probably in English (for non-native English speakers) but, why not widen your vocabulary and start learning Cantonese numbers? Cantonese numbers are not that difficult to learn. First, you have to familiarize yourself with the Cantonese term for the numbers and the position of every Cantonese character.
It’s easy to read Cantonese numbers; you just need to read each number followed by another number. For example, the number one-hundred and twenty-four (124) combined with three numbers: one hundred (一百 – jat1 baak3), twenty (二十 – ji6 sap6), and four (四 – sei3). The number is written as 一百二十四 (jat1 baak3 ji6 sap sei3).
So, below are Cantonese numbers. This is one of the basic words that you’ll need to learn as a beginner. However, if you want to learn how to write and pronounce these numbers, there are examples below with explanations to guide you.
Cantonese Numbers From 0-9 (零 ling4 to 九 gau2)
Learning the numbers 0-5 in Cantonese is the most important thing to learn because this will be your foundation to learn other numbers. Just like in the English language, Cantonese numbers can either be written in digits or Cantonese characters. See the numbers below as an example:
- 0: 零 (ling4)
- 1: 一 (jat1/yat1)
- 2: 二 (ji6)
- 3: 三 (saam1)
- 4: 四 (sei3)
- 5: 五 (ng5)
- 6: 六 (luk6)
- 7: 七 (cat1)
- 8: 八 (baat3)
- 9: 九 (gau2)
Cantonese Numbers From 10-100 (十 sap6 to 一百 jat1 baak3)
Now that you have learned the Cantonese numbers from 0-9 let’s move on to the multiple tens. Number 10 (ten) is 十 (sap6) in Cantonese. So, if you want to write/say the numbers 30, 40, 50, and so on, you’re just going to add the equivalent number before 十 (sap6). To make it easier for you to remember, it’s like multiplying by tens. See the example below:
If you want to express 30, you’ll use 三 (saam1) which is “3” in Cantonese followed by 十 (sap6) “10”. So, if we combine it together “3” 三 (saam1) x “10” 十 (sap6) = “30” 三十 (saam1 sap6).
If you want to know more, see the examples below:
- 10: 十 (sap6)
- 12: 二十 (ji6 sap6)
- 13: 三十 (saam1 sap6)
- 14: 四十 (sei3 sap6)
- 15: 五十 (ng5 sap6)
- 16: 六十 (luk6 sap6)
- 17: 七十 (cat1 sap6)
- 18: 八十 (baat3 sap6)
- 19: 九十 (gau2 sap6)
- 100: 一百 (jat1 baak3)
What If It Is Not A Multiple Of Ten?
The answer is simple because it is similar to the process above. You’ll just combine the number that is multiplied by ten plus the single-digit number. See the example below:
If you want to express the number 23, combine “20” 二十 (ji6 sap6) and “3” 三 (saam1).
You’ll get 二十三 (ji6 sap6 saam1)
If you want to know more, see the examples below:
- 11: 十一 (sap6 jat1)
- 24: 二十四 (ji6 sap sei3)
- 36: 三十 (saam1 sap6 luk6)
- 45: 四十五 (sei3 sap6 ng5)
- 52: 五十二 (ng5 sap6 ji6)
- 66: 六十六六 (luk6 sap6 luk6)
- 72: 七十二 (cat1 sap6 ji6)
- 83: 八十三 (baat3 sap6 saam1)
- 99: 九十九 (gau2 sap6 gau2)
Cantonese Numbers From 200-1000 ( 二百 ji6 baak3 To 一千 jat1 cin1)
For larger numbers, the same rules will be applied. The Cantonese word for “hundred” is 百 (baak3). So, just add the first digit followed by 百 (baak3).
On the other hand, when the number reaches a thousand, you’ll use 千 (cin1), which is the Cantonese term for “thousand.” The same rules will be applied for expressing two thousand and up.
You can see examples below:
- 100: 一百 (jat1 baak3)
- 200: 二百 (ji6 baak3)
- 300: 三百 (saam1 baak3)
- 400: 四百 (sei3 baak3)
- 500: 五百 (ng5 baak3)
- 600: 六百 (luk6 baak3)
- 700: 七百 (cat1 baak3)
- 800: 八百 (baat3 baak3)
- 900: 九百 (gau2 baak3)
- 1,000: 一千 (jat1 cin1)
- 10,000: 一萬 (jat1 maan6)
- 1,000,000: 一百萬 (jat1 baak3 maan6)
For numbers like 150, 221, and the like, you’ll just have to follow the same format where you combine all the numbers. For example, if you want to express 150, just combine “100” 一百 (jat1 baak3) and 五十 (ng5 sap6).
For numbers with 0 in the middle,, like “104”, you’ll need to put zero 零 (ling4). So when you express this number, it will appear this way: 一百零四 (jat1 baak3 ling4 sei3).
Cantonese Numbers In Shopping
One of the most exciting things about traveling is shopping. Exploring the local stores where you can purchase souvenirs to bring home is fun and irresistible. This is why numbers are really important when shopping.
In Hong Kong, locals express prices by adding the word 蚊 (man1) directly after the number like the following examples:
|$100||一百蚊||jat1 baak3 man1|
|$1000||一千蚊||jat1 cin1 man1|
Words And Phrases Related To Numbers And Counting
Now that you have learned the numbers in Cantonese, you should also learn how to use them in phrases. So, here are some additional words and phrases that will widen your vocabulary about Cantonese numbers. If this is not enough, go check on Ling App for some more.
Going On A Trip To Hong Kong? Learn Cantonese Now!
If you love traveling the world, Hong Kong will not surely be missed among the most beautiful countries in Asia. Hong Kong has a variety of breathtaking tourist spots. To name some, they have Hong Kong Disneyland, Hong Kong Skyline, and Victoria Peak (The Peak). But, your trip would not be complete without learning Cantonese and interacting with the locals. But, how can you do that if you don’t know how to speak Cantonese?
The answer is simple, learn Cantonese using Ling app. With various topics and categories, Ling app will surely widen your vocabulary in the Cantonese language. In addition, audio recordings that are delivered and spoken by native speakers are also included to ensure the accuracy of the pronunciation of each word.
With Ling app, practice, and motivation, you’ll surely get the best language learning experience you’re looking for! Download it now on the App Store or Play Store and start mastering Cantonese now!