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Lesson Transcript

Amber: Welcome back to Basic Bootcamp. This 5-part series will help you ease your way into Chinese.
Victor: We’ll go over all the basics that will really help you understand Chinese much quicker and easier
Amber: In this lesson we’ll continue on with more of the essentials of Chinese Numbers. In this lesson we will venture into higher number territory… the over 100s to the ten thousands.
Victor: You’ll be listening to a person who is placing an order for stock with a warehouse.
Amber: Probably a common China occurrence!
But before we get to the numbers…Insert cookie cutter marketing piece here.
Let’s listen to the numbers in Chinese:
A: 100, 200, 470, 621, 1000, 3590, 7,880, 10000
A: 100, 200, 470, 621, 1000, 3590, 7,880, 10000
A: 100, 200, 470,
(English Translation)
A: 621, 1000, 3590
(English Translation)
A: 7,880, 10000
(English Translation)
Amber: So, let’s use these numbers a little. Let’s talk about prices in China.
Victor: Well I think that prices do vary a lot.
Amber: Yes it depends where you are and what you eat.
What’s the price of an average meal in (country)? What about a very nice meal in (country)?
# (in language)
# (in English)
# (Slowly in language)
# (in language)
(repeat as necessary)
Ok let’s take a look at how to construct/use these numbers
So in the last bootcamp about numbers, we learned that Eleven in Chinese is "ten one". Twelve is "ten two", and so on. Twenty is "Two ten", twenty-one is "two ten one" (2Victor10 + 1), and so on up to 99. One-hundred is "one hundred".
Then we learned that 100 in Chinese is ‘yibai’. So now how do we start forming numbers over 100? Well a lot of it is the same principle.
One-hundred and one is "one hundred zero one".
Victor: So, in chinese, yi bai ling yi.
Amber: Let’s break that dow. Yi bai is 100. ling is zero. Yi is one. OK what if it was 111?
Victor: Well remember for 11 we only had to say ‘ten one’ or ‘shi yi’. Well in the higher numbers, you actually need to do it a little different.
Amber: So 11 is shi yi. How about 111?
Victor: You have to add in an extra 1 that you don’t with the 11. Listen
Amber: So like 100 one ten one. NOT 100 ten one.
Victor: Yes that is a special point about the numbers.
Amber: A number glitch.
Victor: Yes, in the larger numbers, you must add the extra "one" when reading them out.
Amber: Now we move on to read numbers one thousand and above. It is done in a similar fashion. First, Victor, give us the word for thousands.
Victor: qian1.
Amber: So 1000?
Victor: yi qian
Amber: 4000?
Victor: si qian
Amber: Good, so literally 4, 1000. So let’s ramp it up a bit. What about a number over 1000 that is a bit more of a mixed bag. Let’s try a random
Victor: That would be yi qian, wu bai, jiushi.
Amber: Ok so that translated is literally 1 thousand, 5 hundreds, 9, 10.
Victor: Yes, (repeats)
Amber: So the formula with numbers in the 1000s is, first you say how many thousands you have, then how many hundreds, then tens, then ones.
Victor: Let’s try another.
Amber: OK 2,463
Victor: So here we have liang qian si bai liushi san.
Amber: Literally
Victor: Ah yes, here comes another little ‘number glitch’ in Chinese.
Amber: Yes, there are two words for ‘2’
Victor: In Mandarin, the multiplier 两 (liǎng) is used rather than 二 (èr) for all numbers greater than 200 with the "2" numeral. Use of both 两 (liǎng) or 二 (èr) are acceptable for the number 200.
Amber: And ok let’s just get all the glitches out in the open now. There is a little hitch for when you have a number with zeros in it as well.
Victor: When a zero occurs in the number (except at the end), you need to read in a "zero" or ‘ling’ in Chinese
Amber: But if there are two or more zeros, you only have to say it once. So can you give us an example?
Victor: Well say 1001 would be "one thousand zero one"
Amber: So in Chinese
Victor: yi qian ling yi
Amber: So you only have to say the zero once, note.
Victor: Yes, the one zero stands in for the hundreds and tens places.
Amber: How about something like 2,093?
Victor: liang qian ling jiu shi san.
Amber: Let’s have another 1000 word, Victor.
Victor: Sure, how about 8,888
Amber: So lucky!
Victor: So that would be ba qian ba bai ba shi ba
Amber: so in equivalent English
Victor: Ah that’s different. They will generally just read out the numbers, as in er ling ling jiu.
Amber: OK good to know.
Victor: Now we move up… to 10,000s
Amber: What is different from English is that when you get to ten-thousand, Chinese has its own word (wan4)
Victor: Therefore, we don’t say shi qian. We actually say one wan. Or, more correctly, yi wan.
Amber: So yi wan is 10000.
Victor: I think that’s a lot of numbers
Amber: Yes, I am more than satisfied with my number quota of the day.


Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Friday at 06:30 PM
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Oh yes, and we have to remember to teach you the most important number of all: '101' 一百零一 (yī bǎi líng yī)

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 08:24 PM
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Thank you for your comment. Yes you got them right! 315 is 三百一十五, 617 is 六百一十七.

Let us know if you have any questions.

Ngai Lam

Team ChineseClass101.com

Tuesday at 06:11 AM
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I just need to know if I got this right. Will, for example, the number 315 be written as 三百一十五?Or will 617 be 六百一十七?

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Wednesday at 12:13 AM
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Hello HorseEater 76,

Thank you for your comment. We hope you enjoyed this lesson.

Let us know if you have any questions.

Ngai Lam

Team ChineseClass101.com

HorseEater 76
Wednesday at 08:54 AM
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一百, 二百/ 两百, 四百七十, 六百七十一, 一千, 三千五百九十, 七千八百八十, 一万

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 07:37 PM
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Hi Lynn

You are right about neutral tones, or soft tones. There are not any official guidelines about tones, and different Chinese books explain them in different ways, as how they explain Chinese grammar.

In some sense, the tones are like an accent, such as British accent, American accent, since most native Chinese people are not aware of it. They've got it like how British or American people have got their accent, even though it's a different story for foreign learners.

Thanks for sharing you insight.


Team ChineseClass101.com

Friday at 03:06 PM
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Zheng Kaibo 郑 开博 - Mandarin has 4 tones, and the neutral tone. The neutral tone only happens in certain instances, so it's not really considered an official tone, but more about Mandarin phonics. Like the difference between the Minute for Time, and Minute for "minute detail." Minutes in relation to time requires U have a short sound, while Minute in regards to detail sounds more like "my nyewt."

Friday at 03:03 PM
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Just after 2 minutes, 621 is mentioned after 671, but it's not in the lesson notes. I've listened to it maybe 6 times to confirm this. I think Amber might have mistaken this, because 470 and 671 were mentioned back to back, then 621 was mentioned without the Chinese before it. It's no big deal, but some people might be confused.

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Sunday at 02:53 PM
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Hi, Aric,

In China, 8 is a lucky number.

8(bā) is close 发(fā) in pronunciation. And because 发 indicates "Kung Hei Fat Choy(a transliteration from Cantonese)" which means "May you be happy and prosperous!".

Many Chinese people use 8 in their phone numbers and other numbers.


Team ChineseClass101.com

Saturday at 04:17 AM
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Why is the number 8 so great?

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Saturday at 02:33 PM
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Hi, Z,

I checked all the audios in the text.

I think there is no problem.

Could you please tell me which one is off?


Team ChineseClass101.com