Learning Chinese (part 4): Numbers and dates

My learning buddy Yan suggested the next step in learning Chinese Cantonese in to learn numbers and dates so here I am with part 4 of my Chinese learning project. 

So basically, all the Chinese materials I am using are translated into Roman characters. It is recommended that as a beginner, the learners, especially those who have the first language such as English should start with Romanization system of Chinese first because, in order to read and write these ” 一 二 三 四 五 六 七 八 九 十”, it takes years!” We, Vietnamese, use Roman characters and our pronunciation and tones are quite similar to Chinese Cantonese so this is an advantage.  

Anyway, so I first learned to count from 1 to 10, when I speak, I pay attention to the tones and pitches


(via: proletariatfashionista’s WordPress)


1: yat

2: yee

3: sam

4: say

5: mm

6: look

7: chat

8: bart

9: gow

10: sup

For 11, you put 10 (sup) + 1 (yat) so 11 is pronounced as sup yat.

For 12, you put 10 (sup) + 2 (yee) so 12 is pronounced as sup yee.

For 13, you put 10 (sup) + 3 (sam) so 13 is pronounced as sup sam.

… the same thing applied to 14 – 19.

20 = 2 (yee) x 10 (sup) so 20 is pronounced as yee sup

21 = 20 (yee sup) + 1 (yat) so 21 is pronounced as yee sup yat

22 = 20 (yee sup) + 2 (yee) so 22 is pronounced as yee sup yee.

… the same thing applied to 23 – 29, and 29 – 99

100 = 1 (yat) X 100 (baak) so 100 is pronounced as yat baak 

101 = 100 (yat baak) + 1 (yat) so 101 is pronounced as yat baak yat

148 = 100 (yat baak) + 40 (say sap) + 8 (baat) so 148 is pronounced as yat baak say sap baat

1000 = 1(yat) x 1000 (cheen) so 1000 is pronounced as yat cheen

1975 = 1000 (yat cheen) + 900 (gau baak) + 70 (chat sap) + 5 (mm) so 1975 is pronounced as yat cheen gau baak chat sap mm.

I was so frustrated because, in order to pronounce some numbers properly, I had to do the math first, like 1975 = 1000 + 900 + 70 + 5 = yat cheen gau baak chat sap mm 😀



Day: yat (same with the pronunciation of 1)

Year: lean

Week: sing kay

Month: yoot

Date: yat kay

January: Yat (one) yoot

February: Yee (two) yoot

March: saam (three) yoot

April: say (four) yoot

May: mm (five) yoot

June: look (six) yoot

July: chat (seven) yoot

August: bat (eight) yoot

September: gow (nine) yoot

October: sap (ten) yoot

November: sap (ten) + yat (one) yoot

December: sap (ten) + yee (two) yoot

March 19th: saam yoot (March) + sap gow (19) yat (use “yat” at the end in the case of saying dates)

February 1st: yee yoot (February) + yat (one) yat

So now I know how to pronounce numbers and dates, the next step? let’s practice! So I thought of a way to practice reading numbers is to print out the bingo sheet and read out loud the numbers on the bingo sheet.


In order to practice reading dates, I printed out the 2018 calendar and randomly picked certain dates and spoke them out loud.


I hope I can “master” how to read numbers and dates in a few dates by keeping practicing. I will keep you guys updated on my learning progress.

Thank you for reading.



3 thoughts on “Learning Chinese (part 4): Numbers and dates”

  1. Wow this is really neat! I’ve always wanted to try and teach myself a new language, but have just never gotten to it, whether it’s because I’m not that interested or can’t decide what language is debatable. I like seeing how you decide to progress through the stages of Chinese Cantonese, languages are so complex and fascinating and seeing how they are acquired is quite interesting. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Impressive progress! Learning a language is such a monolithic task, I appreciate how you segment into doable, and relevant topics to keep yourself going. Learning something like the calendar seems doable, and also incredibly relevant and meaningful . Keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s an awesome post, now I can really try writing my date of birth in Chinese, cool what a great way to learn a new language, I liked your tip that as a beginner to learn Chinese we should start with Romanization system and that makes sense . looking forward for next one.

    Liked by 1 person

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