Vocabulary for Family

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           five


六      liù     six


七            seven


八       bā    eight


九        jiǔ   nine


十       shí   ten   

两    liǎng  two

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.




27           二十七


65          六十五


93          九十三


84          八十四


18          十八


76          七十六


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.


Writing Assessment

Now that you can use numbers, write a small paragraph describing your family with numbers. Post it in a blog.



Answers to Exercises:

Exercise A






Exercise B

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       

Exercise 1

A. 四只猫

B. 三个妈妈

C.  两个爸爸