In this lesson, you will be introduced to the Chinese words for numbers, family members, and measure words.
Numbers in Chinese
一 yī one
二 èr two
三 sān three
四 sì four
五 wǔ five
六 liù six
七 qī seven
八 bā eight
九 jiǔ nine
十 shí ten
Important Note: Hopefully you noticed that there are two different characters corresponding to 2. When you simply have two of something, you use 两。When using 2 as part of a number such as 12, 24, 52, etc. you use 二。
Now that you have seen the numbers 1 - 10, you need to learn the structure to make bigger numbers. If you have a two digit number, you first address the tens place and find the Chinese character that corresponds to that value. Then you need a 十 followed by the Chinese character corresponding for the ones value. This may sound very confusing, but it will seem easier with a few examples.
Now try doing some on your own. Check the answers at the bottom of the page once you have completed the exercise.
Exercise A - Translate the following numbers to Chinese.
1. 55 2. 86 3. 91 4. 47 5. 32
Exercise B - Put the following numbers in order from least to greatest.
七十三 八十 二十一 五十六 三十八 七十九 十一 四十八 三十二
Vocabulary for Families - In Chinese, there are many characters used for family members. Each member of a family has a specific name. For example a maternal grandmother and a paternal grandmother have different names. This is because in Chinese culture, it is most important to trace the paternal lineage.
家 jiā family, home, house
口 kǒu measure words for people in a family
爸爸 bàba father
妈妈 māmā mother
奶奶 nǎinai paternal grandmother
爷爷 yéye paternal grandfather
外婆 wàipó maternal grandmother
外公 wàigōng maternal grandmother
妹妹 mèimei younger sister
姐姐 jiejie older sister
弟弟 dìdì younger brother
哥哥 gēgē older brother
狗 gǒu dog
猫 māo cat
个 gè measure word for people and other objects
只 zhǐ measure word for animals
Grammar Point : Measure Words
In Mandarin, a unit of measure is needed between a numeral and the noun the numeral is referring to. The most common measure word is 个， prounounced Gè。Look at some examples of measure words being used below.
一个哥哥 one older brother
一只狗 one dog
两个妈妈 two mothers
三个妹妹 three little sisters
Exercise 1: Now try some on your own. Translate the following from English to Chinese.
A. 4 cats
B. 3 mothers
C. 2 fathers
Skyping with Your Language Partner
Now that you know numbers, it is time to skype with your language partner. Before you begin skyping, prepare some questions to ask your partner. For example, how many people are in their family, how many pets they have, etc. You can even pull up pictures on the internet and ask how many people are in each picture. Be creative to practice your numbers.
Now that you can use numbers, write a small paragraph describing your family with numbers. Post it in a blog.
Answers to Exercises:
十一 二十一 三十二 三十八 四十八 五十六 七十三 七十九 八十