8 September 2013

Chinese numbers

Now a days China uses the Arabic numeral system, however they still use their Chinese character number system. It is a base-10 system but there are differences with the Arabic in the positional system. It has characters to represent numbers from 0 to 9 and other characters to represent big numbers like 10, 100, 1000, 10000, etc.




Let's see the characters for 1-9 numbers.


Number
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Character
零/〇
Pinyin
líng  yī èr sān liù jiǔ



To express big numbers there are some characters to express base-10 multipliers. These are the most common:

Big number
10 100 1000 10000
Character
Pinyin
shí  bǎi qiān wàn

How to combine them? If you want to express a number from 11 to 99 you have to combine character number + character of ten + character number. Numbers between 11-19 don't need the firs character number.

Examples
11 27 54 99
Character
Pinyin
shí  èr shí  wǔ shí  jiǔ shí jiǔ

Easy. Express numbers from 101 to 999 isn't complicate neither, but remember always to write and pronounce the zero number if it occurs in the middle of the number. 
Examples
115 302 999
Character
Pinyin
yī bǎi shí  sān bǎi líng èr jiǔ bǎi jiǔ shí jiǔ


Let's write some examples from 1001 to 9999. If there are more than one zero consecutive, pronounce it once. Final zeros are not written and pronounced.

Examples
1001 4800 9999
Character
Pinyin
yī qiān líng  sì qiān bā bǎi jiǔ qiān jiǔ bǎi jiǔ shí jiǔ

Unlike English, Chinese has a unique character to express ten thousand number. The combination system is the same.
Examples
10001 60500 99999
Character
九千九百九十九
Pinyin
yī wàn líng  liù wàn  bǎi jiǔ wàn jiǔ qiān jiǔ bǎi jiǔ shí jiǔ