Cantonese Numbers: How To Be Excellent In Counting From 0 To 1,000?

July 14, 2021

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 calling someone through 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 numbers 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 audio recordings by native speakers to ensure the authenticity and accuracy of the spoken language.


Numbers And Counting In Cantonese

Numbers 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.

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:

Cantonese Pinyin English Translation
ling4 zero
jat1/yat1 one
ji6 two
saam1 three
 四 sei3 four
ng5 five
luk6 six
cat1 seven
baat3 eight
gau2 nine

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.

Cantonese Pinyin English Translation
sap6 ten
二十 ji6 sap6 twenty
三十 saam1 sap6 thirty
四十 sei3 sap6 forty
五十 ng5 sap6 fifty
六十 luk6 sap6 sixty
七十 cat1 sap6 seventy
八十 baat3 sap6 eighty
九十 gau2 sap6 ninety
一百 jat1 baak3 one hundred

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:

Cantonese Pinyin English Translation
十一 sap6 jat1 eleven
二十四 ji6 sap sei3 twenty-four
三十 saam1 sap6 luk6 thirty-six
四十五 sei3 sap6 ng5 forty-five
五十二 ng5 sap6 ji6 fifty-two
六十六六 luk6 sap6 luk6 sixty-six
七十二 cat1 sap6 ji6 seventy-two
八十三 baat3 sap6 saam1 eighty-three
 九十九 gau2 sap6 gau2 ninety nine

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.

Cantonese Pinyin English Translation
一百 jat1 baak3 one hundred
二百 ji6 baak3 two hundred
三百 saam1 baak3 three hundred
 四百 sei3 baak3 four hundred
五百 ng5 baak3 five hundred
六百 luk6 baak3 six hundred
 七百 cat1 baak3 seven hundred
八百 baat3 baak3 eight hundred
九百 gau2 baak3 nine hundred
一千 jat1 cin1 one thousand
一萬 jat1 maan6 ten thousand
一百萬 jat1 baak3 maan6 one million

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).


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:

Cantonese Pinyin English Translation
 六蚊 luk6 man1 $6
 一百蚊 jat1 baak3 man1 $100
一千蚊 jat1 cin1 man1 $1000


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.

Cantonese Pinyin English Translation
雙數 soeng1 sou3 even number
單數 daan1 sou3 odd number
住宅電話號碼 zyu6 zaak2 din6 waa2 hou6 maa5 home phone number
機號碼 sau2 gei1 hou6 maa5 cellular phone number
cau2 numbered ticket
航班編號 hong4 baan1 pin1 hou6 flight number
護照號碼 wu6 ziu3 hou6 maa5 passport number
銀行帳號 ngan4 hong4 zoeng3 hou6  bank account number
駕駛執照號碼 gaa3 sai2 zap1 ziu3 hou6 maa5 driver's license number
個人身份證號碼 go3 jan4 san1 fan2 zing3 hou6 maa5 personal identification number
個人身份識別碼 go3 jan4 san1 fan2 sik1 bit6 maa5 pin number
 參考編號 caam1 haau2 pin1 hou6 reference number
座位號 zo6 wai6 hou6 seat number
班次 baan1 ci3 Train Number
幾多號 gei2 do1 hou6 which number, what number
掛號 gwaa3 hou4 to take a number
呢 個 女 仔 十 一 歲。 ne1 go3 neui5 jai2 sap6 yat1 seui3。 This girl is eleven years old.
我 住 喺 第 八 座。 ngo5 jyu6 hai2 dai6 baat3 zo6。 I live in building 8.
個 麵 包 值 一 蚊。 go3 min6 baau1 jik6 yat1 man1。 The bread costs one dollar.
我 食 三 個 蘋 果。 ngo5 sik6 saam1 go3 ping4 gwo2。 I eat three apples.
一天服用三次。 jat1 tin1 fuk6 jung6 saam1 ci3. Take this three times a day.
你可唔可以打呢個電話? nei5 ho2 m4 ho2 ji5 daa2 ni1 go3 din6 waa2? Could you call this number?
你的電話號碼是什麼? nei5 dik1 din6 waa2 hou6 maa5 si6 sam6 mo1 What's your phone number?
 唔好意思,你打錯電話。 m4 hou2 ji3 si, nei5 daa2 co3 din6 waa2.  Sorry, wrong number.
喺好多唔同文化入面十三呢個數字係唔吉利嘅。 hai2 hou2 do1 m4 tung4 man4 faa3 jap6 min6 sap6 saam1 ni1 go3 sou3 zi6 hai6 m4 gat1 lei6 ge3. The number 13 is considered to be unlucky in many cultures.


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 beautiful countries in Asia. Hong Kong has a variety of breath-taking tourist spots. To name some, they have Hong Kong Disneyland, Hong Kong Skyline, Victoria Peak (The Peak). But, your trip would not be complete without learning Cantonese and interact 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!

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