little: bits: Counting to 10 - Chinese Style

Monday, 6 April 2009

If you’ve ever lived in China, you’ll know the Chinese are quite succinct. Things are no nonsense, matter of fact and get done astonishingly quickly (well, if you have the right contacts – or guanxi). Even the every day vernacular is chronically abridged.

When our kids in the West count to ten, we use both hands and go up in single digits. But did you know the Chinese can do the same thing using one hand? This long-time single-handed symbolism was probably created as a way to indicate price whilst fossicking amongst wares with the other hand (and in fact, sellers still use it today).

Add something to your kids’ repertoire of cool and have them learn the following – easy peasy and something at school no one else will know!

1 yī (ee) 一
2 èr (ahr) 二
3 sān (san) 三
4 sì (srr) 四
5 wŭ (woo) 五
6 lìu (lee-u) 六
7 chī (chee) 七
8 bā (bar) 八
9 jíu (jee-oh) 九
10 shí (shrr) 十

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