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Chinese numerals

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Numeral systems by culture

Hindu-Arabic numerals

Western Arabic Indian family
Eastern Arabic Brahmi
Khmer Thai

East Asian numerals

Chinese Japanese
Suzhou Korean
Counting rods Mongolian

Alphabetic numerals

Abjad Hebrew
Armenian Greek (Ionian)
Cyrillic Āryabhaṭa
Ge'ez

Other systems

Attic Etruscan
Babylonian Mayan
Egyptian Roman
English Urnfield

List of numeral system topics

Positional systems by base

Decimal (10)

2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64

1, 3, 6, 9, 12, 20, 24, 30, 36, 60,

Individual Chinese characters in this article link to their dictionary entries. such as those in Hong Kong before the 1990s.1.1. One such system is the Suzhou numerals or huama system. but it still counts as a number system.4 Negative numbers • 2 Suzhou numerals • 3 Hand gestures • 4 Cultural influences • 5 See also • 6 References • 7 External links [edit] Written numbers . Contents [hide] • 1 Written numbers ○ 1.2 Characters with regional usage  1. It is the only surviving variation of the rod numeral system.3 Large numbers  1.2.6 SI prefixes ○ 1.1 Characters used to represent numbers  1. more… v•d•e Chinese numerals are characters for writing numbers in Chinese. The other Chinese numeral system is the written numbers system.1. It has gradually been supplanted by the Arabic system in writing numbers.2.2 Reading and transcribing numbers  1.1 Standard numbers  1.2 Fractional values  1. This character system is roughly analogous to spelling out a number in English text.2. It is still in use when writing numbers in long form. along with two ancient Chinese numeral systems. The Chinese character system can be classified as part of the language. Today.2. speakers of Chinese use three numeral systems: the ubiquitous system of Arabic numerals.1.4 Numbers from Buddhism  1.3 Ordinal numbers  1. such as on cheques to hinder forgery. Most people in China now use the Arabic system for convenience. this system has been popular only in Chinese markets.1 Whole numbers  1.5 Small numbers  1.1.1.

it does not use the positional system as is done in Arabic numerals. in the same way that spelling out numbers in English does not. see Characters with regional usage section. also 弌 (obsolete financial). but the 零 〇 0 líng traditional 零 is more often used in schools. so simply using those numerals cannot prevent forgeries in the same way spelling numbers out in English would. "one thousand nine hundred forty-five"). and other characters representing larger numbers such as tens. S denotes Simplified. also 弍 (obsolete financial). it is not an independent system per se.The Chinese character numeral system consists of the Chinese characters used by the Chinese written language to write spoken numerals. There are two sets of characters for Chinese numerals: one for everyday writing and one for use in commercial or financial contexts known as dàxiě (大寫 in traditional Chinese. Similarly to spelled-out numbers in English (e. hundreds. can be easily manipulated 壹 一 1 yī into 弍 (two) or 弎 (three). [edit] Characters used to represent numbers [edit] Standard numbers There are characters representing the numbers zero through nine. 肆 四 4 sì 伍 五 5 wǔ .g. T denotes Traditional Valu Pīnyī Financial Normal Notes e n 〇 is a common informal way to represent zero. 大写 in simplified Chinese). also 弎 (obsolete financial). thousands and so on. 二 2 èr 贰(S) also 兩(T) or 两(S). That would not be possible when writing using the financial characters 叁拾 (30) and 伍仟 (5000). Since it reflects spoken language. 叁(S) also 參(T) or 参(S) sān. can be easily manipulated 貳(T) or into 弌 (one) or 弎 (three). can be easily manipulated 叄(T) or 三 3 sān into 弌 (one) or 弍 (two). The latter arose because the characters used for writing numerals are geometrically simple. A forger could easily change everyday characters 三十 (30) to 五千 (5000) by adding just a few strokes..

It is used in Mandarin to unambiguously pronounce "#1" in series of digits (such as phone numbers . 亿(S) [edit] Characters with regional usage Valu Pinyin Standard Financial Normal Notes e (Mandarin) alternative 幺 1 yāo 一 Literally means "the smallest".000 qiān 萬(T) Chinese numbers group by ten-thousands 萬 or 104 wàn see Reading and transcribing numbers section below. 万(S) 億(T) 億 or 108 yì See large numbers section below. 陸(T) or 六 6 liù 陆(S) 柒 七 7 qī 捌 八 8 bā 玖 九 9 jiǔ Although some people use 什 as financial. 佰 百 100 bǎi 仟 千 1. it is not 拾 十 10 shí acceptable because it can be easily manipulated into 伍 or 仟.

23). Its usage varies from dialect to dialect. preceded by a multiplier and followed by a 呀 10 yā 十 ones digit. In Taiwan. It is never used in counting or reading values.g. even person to person.g. because one (一) rhymes with seven (七). See Reading and transcribing numbers section below. "两千二百二十二" or even "两千两百二十二" in Mandarin. 十 becomes 呀 (aa6). police. For example "2222" 兩(T) or 2 liǎng 二 can read as "二千二百二十 两(S) 二". 廿三. In Cantonese. niàn 二十 The written form is 念 廿 add still used to refer to me on dates. and ID numbers). poes Spoken form is still used in various 20 dialects of Chinese. when 十 is used in the middle of a number. it is only used by soldiers. This usage is not observed in Mandarin. or . and emergency services. 63. In Cantonese speech. 廿 (jaa6) must be followed by another digit 1-9 (e. A very common alternative way of saying "two". This usage is not observed in Cantonese. See Reading and transcribing numbers section below. especially the mx Chinese calendar 07377ur dates. e. 六呀三.

卅 30 sà 三十 Spoken form is still used in various dialects of Chinese. one 皕 200 bì 二百 common example is the literature 《皕宋楼》. there have been four systems in ancient and modern usage: 兆 穰 正 亿 京 垓 秭 沟 涧 载 System zhà rán zhēn Factor of increase yì jīng gāi zǐ gōu jiàn zài o g g 經/ Alternative 杼 壤 经 Each numeral is 10 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 1 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 (十 shí) times the previous. The written form is still used to abbreviate date references in Chinese. See Reading and transcribing numbers section below. for numeral characters greater than 万 (wàn). Each numeral is 2 108 1012 1016 1020 1024 1028 1032 1036 1040 1044 10. Very rarely used. albeit very rare. 卄 is a rare variant. Each numeral is 108 3 108 1016 1024 1032 1040 1048 1056 1064 1072 1080 (万万 wànwàn) times the previous.000 (万 wàn) times the previous. [edit] Large numbers Similar to the long and short scales in the west. in a phrase like 廿 幾 ("twenty- something"). it is not used by itself to mean 20. . For example. Spoken form is still used in 卌 40 xì 四十 various dialects of Chinese. May 30 Movement (五卅运动).

In modern Chinese. However. (On the other hand. 阿僧祇 1056 From Sanskrit Asaṃkhyeya 那由他 1060 From Sanskrit Nayuta 不可思議 (T) or 1064 Literally translated as "unfathomable" or "unthinkable". but uses 万亿 wànyì instead. the PRC government never uses this character in official documents. the ROC government in Taiwan uses 兆 zhào to mean 1012 in official documents.) [edit] Numbers from Buddhism The numerals beyond 载 zài come from Buddhist texts in Sanskrit. Korea[citation needed]. most people do not recognize numerals beyond 亿 yì (108) and dictionary definitions on the words of larger number may not be consistent (except Korea where 兆 zhào and 京 jīng are frequently used). To avoid problems arising from the ambiguity. as well as Japan. Valu Name Notes e 極(T) or 1048 极(S) Literally means "Sands of the Ganges". 不可思议 (S) 無量(T) 1068 Literally translated "without limit" or . a metaphor used in number of 恆河沙 1052 Buddhist texts to convey a quantity equal to the number of grains of sand in the Ganges river. Although there is some dispute on the value of 兆 zhào. in mainland China). the usage (representing 1012) is still consistent through Chinese communities. which traditionally means 1012 but is also used for 106 in information technology in recent years (esp. One example of ambiguity is 兆 zhào. but these "Buddhist numerals" have become "ancient usage". Each numeral is the 4 108 1016 1032 1064 10128 10256 10512 101024 102048 104096 square of the previous. only the second system is used in expressing numbers[citation needed].

尘. For instance. corresponds to the SI prefix milli. and 纤 xiān was defined as nano. 京 jīng was defined as giga. 垓. This resulted in the creation of more values for each numeral. 纤. while the rest has fallen into disuse. 渺 10-11 (Ancient Chinese) -10 埃 10 (Ancient Chinese) (Ancient Chinese) 尘 10-9 奈 (T) or 纳 (S) corresponds to the SI prefix nano. also 釐. a dispute had arisen over the value of 兆 . 厘 1/100 still in use.000 still in use. 沙 10-8 (Ancient Chinese) 纤 10-7 (Ancient Chinese) 微 10-6 still in use. 沙. 忽 10-5 (Ancient Chinese) 丝 10-4 (Ancient Chinese) also 毛. some of them have been incorporated as SI prefixes. corresponds to the SI prefix centi. 分 1/10 still in use. The larger (兆. 京. With the introduction of SI units. [edit] SI prefixes The translations for the SI prefixes in earlier days were different from those used today. Character Value Notes (Ancient Chinese) 漠 10-12 皮 corresponds to the SI prefix pico. 穰). By the time of "early translation". corresponds to the SI prefix micro. The government of the PRC used a part of this translation. 渺) were defined as translations for the SI prefixes. 秭. 毫 1/1. and defined 兆 zhào as the translation for the SI . corresponds to the SI prefix deci. and smaller Chinese numerals (微. 无量(S) 大數(T) or 1072 Literally translated "big number" 大数(S) [edit] Small numbers The following are characters used to denote small order of magnitude in Chinese historically.

In addition. Today. (Perhaps the government was not aware of the common usage of 兆. However. such as 巨. academic communities. SI Prefixes Valu Symbol English Early translation PRC standard ROC standard e 1024 Y yotta 尧 yáo 佑 yòu 1021 Z zetta 泽 zé 皆 jiē 1018 E exa 穰 ráng 艾 ài 艾 ài 1015 P peta 秭 zǐ 拍 pāi 拍 pāi 1012 T tera 垓 gāi 太 tài 兆 zhào 109 G giga 京 jīng 吉 jí 吉 jí 106 M mega 兆 zhào 兆 zhào 百萬 bǎiwàn 103 k kilo 千 qiān 千 qiān 千 qiān 102 h hecta 百 bǎi 百 bǎi 百 bǎi 101 da deca 十 shí 十 shí 十 shí . the translation has caused much confusion. the civil broadcasting industries sometimes use 兆赫 to represent "megahertz".prefix mega (106). However. This translation is widely used in official documents. informational industries. Hong Kong and Macau) and Republic of China (Taiwan) use phonetic transliterations for the SI prefixes. the governments have each chosen different Chinese characters for certain prefixes.) Because of this. and thus did not consider an alternative single Chinese character. etc. to represent mega. The following table lists the two different standards together with the early translation. Taiwanese defined 百万 as the translation for mega. both the governments of the People's Republic of China (Mainland China.

When writing in the Cantonese dialect. Use of both 两 (liǎng) or 二 (èr) are acceptable for the number 200. 两 (no6) is used to represent the "2" numeral in all numbers from 200 onwards.10-1 d deci 分 fēn 分 fēn 分 fēn 10-2 c centi 厘 lí 厘 lí 厘 lí 10-3 m milli 毫 háo 毫 háo 毫 háo 10-6 µ micro 微 wēi 微 wēi 微 wēi 10-9 n nano 纤 xiān 纳 nà 奈 nài 10-12 p pico 沙 shā 皮 pí 皮 pí 10-15 f femto 尘 chén 飞 fēi 飛 fēi 10-18 a atto 渺 miǎo 阿à 阿à 10-21 z zepto 仄 zè 介 jiè 10-24 y yocto 幺 yāo 攸 yōu [edit] Reading and transcribing numbers [edit] Whole numbers Multiple-digit numbers are constructed using a multiplicative principle. then the place (such as 10 or 100). the multiplier 两 (liǎng) is used rather than 二 (èr) for all numbers greater than 200 with the "2" numeral. then the next digit. Thus: Characters Number Structure Mandarin Cantonese Chaozhou Shanghainese . In Mandarin. 二 (yi6) is used to represent the "2" numeral for all numbers. In the southern Min dialect of Chaozhou (Teochew). first the digit itself (from 1 to 9).

the leading "one" and the trailing zeroes are omitted. the one before "ten" in the middle of a number. when there are only two significant digits in the number.362 [6] [10] [2] 十二 十二 十二 二 For the numbers 11 through 19. the leading "one" (一) is usually omitted.000] [3] [100] 两千三百六 二千三百六 两千三百六 两千三百六十 2. like Shanghainese. Thus: Strict Putonghua Colloquial or dialect usage Number Structure Characters Structure Characters 14 [10] [4] 十四 [1] [10000] [2] 一万二 or 万 12000 [1] [10000] [2] [1000] 一万两千 or 二 [10000] [2] 114 [1] [100] [1] [10] [4] 一百一十四 [1] [100] [10] [4] 一百十四 [1] [1000] [1] [100] [5] [10] 一千一百五十 1158 See note 1 below [8] 八 Notes: . is omitted. such as 213. In some dialects.60 [6] [10] 六十 六十 六十 六十 20 [2] [10] or [20] 二十 二十 or 廿 二十 廿 [2] (èr) or (liǎng) 200 二百 or 两百 二百 or 两百 两百 两百 [100] 2000 [2] (liǎng) [1000] 二千 or 两千 二千 or 两千 两千 两千 四十五 or 卌 45 [4] [10] [5] 四十五 四十五 四十五 五 [2] [1. Sometimes.

thus 1. which is numerator first.0004) 10. numbers such as 114 may be written as [100] [10] [4] (百十四). The reason for this is that trailing zeroes (as in 1200) are often omitted as shorthand.567.0000] (3456) (12.0000] (2345) ) 五 Interior zeroes before the unit position (as in 1002) must be spelt explicitly.050.0000. the same grouping system used in English applies.3456.890 is regrouped here as 12.004 [10] [10. Each half of the fraction is written the same as a whole number.0026 or or ) (1005) [10. thus 10000 × wàn (万) = yì (亿).7890.345. Hence it is more convenient to think of numbers here as in groups of four. the explicit zero is not ambiguous and is therefore optional. Hence (numbers in parentheses indicate that the number has been written as one number rather than expanded): Number Structure Characters 12. each number is therefore four zeroes longer than the one before it. followed by 又 ("again").678. Thus: Number Structure Characters 205 [2] [100] [0] [5] 二百〇五 100.0000] (7890) [1. This is the opposite of how fractions are read in English. the denominator is written first. except in groups of four places (myriads) rather than in groups of three (thousands). 1.000] (026) 一千〇五万二十六 [edit] Fractional values To construct a fraction. the leading "one" is omitted as per the above point.902. but preferred. Where the zero is before a digit other than the units digit. Mixed numbers are written with the whole-number part first. In certain older texts like the Protestant Bible or in poetic usage. One zero is sufficient to resolve the ambiguity. Fraction Structure Characters .3456.0000.026 (1005) [10. If one of the numbers is between 10 and 19. followed by 分之 ("parts of") and then the numerator.2345 千八百九十万两千三百四十 [1.0000.7890.000] [0] [4] 十万〇四 (10.000] (26) 一千〇五万〇二十六 (1005.345 十二万三千四百五十六亿七 (12) [1.234. Nothing is ever omitted in large and more complicated numbers such as this. so ambiguity occurs. Larger than a myriad. For numbers larger than a myriad. then the fractional part.

4025 [7] [10] [5] [point] [4] [0] [2] [5] 七十五点四〇二五 0.6789 [point] [6] [7] [8] [9] 六七八九 75. Decimal Structure Characters expression 16. without multiplicative words. Percentage Structure Characters 25% [100] [parts of] [2] [10] [5] 百分之二十五 [100] [parts of] [1] [100] [1] 110% 百分之一百一十 [10] Decimal numbers are constructed by first writing the whole number part. The decimal expression is written using only the digits for 0 to 9. and finally the decimal expression. The 一 (one) before 百 is omitted.2 /3 [3] [parts of] [2] 三分之二 15 [3] [10] [2] [parts of] [10] /32 三十二分之十五 [5] 1 /3000 [3] [1000] [parts of] [1] 三千分之一 3 5/6 [3] [again] [6] [parts of] [5] 三又六分之五 Percentages are constructed similarly. using 百 (100) as the denominator. then inserting 點 (traditional) or 点 (simplified) ("point").98 [10] [6] [point] [9] [8] 十六点九八 [1] [10000] [2] [1000] [3] [100] [4] [10] [5] 一万两千三百四十五点 12345.1 [0] [point] [1] 〇点一 [edit] Ordinal numbers .

The Suzhou (苏州) or huāmǎ (花码) system is a variation of the Southern Song rod numerals. [edit] Hand gestures Main article: Chinese number gestures There is a common method of using of one hand to signify the numbers one to ten. which is a positional system. [edit] Cultural influences . While the five digits on one hand can express the numbers one to five.4025 [5] [edit] Suzhou numerals Main article: Suzhou numerals In the same way that Roman numerals were standard in ancient and medieval Europe for mathematics and commerce. Ordinal Structure Characters 1st [sequence] [1] 第一 2nd [sequence] [2] 第二 [sequence] [8] [10] 82nd 第八十二 [2] [edit] Negative numbers Negative numbers are formed by adding 負 (traditional) 负 (simplified) ("negative") before the number. Nowadays. six to ten have special signs that can be used in commerce or day-to-day communication. the huāmǎ system is only used for displaying prices in Chinese markets or on traditional handwritten invoices.Ordinal numbers are formed by adding 第 ("sequence") before the number. Number Structure Characters -1158 [negative] [1] [1000] [1] [100] [5] [10] [8] 负一千一百五十八 -3 5/6 [negative] [3] [again] [6] [parts of] [5] 负三又六分之五 . [negative] [7] [10] [5] [point] [4] [0] [2] 负七十五点四〇二五 75. the Chinese formerly used the rod numerals.

Chinese numeric characters are also used in much the same formal or decorative fashion that Roman numerals are in Western cultures. Traditional Chinese numeric characters are also used in Japan and Korea. In vertical text (that is. both the Chinese numeral characters and the Suzhou numerals were replaced by Arabic numerals in mathematical writings. some Chinese mathematicians used Chinese numeral characters as positional system digits.During Ming and Qing dynasties (when Arabic numerals were first introduced into China). read top to bottom).wikipedia. Chinese numerals may appear together with Arabic numbers on the same sign or document. while in horizontal text. [edit] See also • Chinese number gestures • Japanese numerals • Numbers in Chinese culture • Chinese units of measurement [edit] References [edit] External links • Chinese/English Number Converter • Learn how to write Chinese numbers Retrieved from "http://en. Arabic numerals are most common.org/wiki/Chinese_numerals" Categories: Numerals | Chinese language | Chinese mathematics Hidden categories: All articles with unsourced statements | Articles with unsourced statements since March 2007 Views • Article • Discussion • Edit this page • History Personal tools • Log in / create account Navigation • Main page • Contents • Featured content • Current events • Random article Search Top of Form Go Search Bottom of Form Interaction . After Qing dynasty. using characters for numbers is the norm.

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