Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Counting in Chinese

I've been teaching Nina and Sara to count to 10 in Chinese, complete with the correct tones. They seem to enjoy this a lot - it's a bit like singing a song. So here, for the benefit of blog readers, is the same lesson, with some annotations to help the memory.

(The tones are 1 - high and flat, 2 - rising steadily, 3 - down and back up, 4 - down abruptly)

  1. yi1 (The number of polical parties allowed to hold power in the People's Republic of China)
  2. er4/liang3 (The number of official heroes of the PRC - Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping)
  3. san1 (The number of weeks we're spending in China, or alternatively the three T's that you have to be careful about mentioning: Tibet, Taiwan and Tiananmen)
  4. si4 (The size of our travel party, otherwise known as the family)
  5. wu3 (The number of claws one a Chinese dragon - Japanese have six)
  6. liu4 (The number of places we have slept in China, including the train from Beijing to Xi'an)
  7. qi1 (The number of levels to a Chinese pagoda - thanks to Sandra for that bit of info)
  8. ba1 (The number of times, admittedly approximate, I have been tempted to chuck the Rough Guide to China into the nearest bin, river or ditch)
  9. jiu3 (The number of men who run China - the standing committee of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party, the largest political party on Earth with 66 million members. Fianna Fail eat your heart out)
  10. shi2 (The number of RMB you can squeeze into a single euro, or alternatively, what you should mentally divide by when converting what a vendor asks for when deciding what to offer back)
(Corrected san3 to san1. Rookie mistake, thanks for catching.)


Anonymous said...

3 is actually san1, first tone.

Mike said...
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