The info graphic is about learning the basic numbers in Chinese and their hand gestures. Growing up in the west we usually first learn how to count from 1-10 using both of our hands. However, in China and other Asian countries people learn to count differently with one hand.

Thank you Learn Now Mandarin for inviting me to share some new learning tips. You can check out more of my infographics or web comics on my blog My Chinese Boyfriend.

This chart displays the counting system used with hand gestures. It’s been said that the hand sign system was developed to bridge the communication gap between the Chinese people because of all the different dialects spoken. The Chinese speak in a tonal language which can make it difficult differentiate numbers 4 (四, sì) and 10 (十,shí) for example. They may sound similar when said in a different dialect or accent.

Chinese Numbers and Hand Signs

Chinese Numbers and Hand Signs

Different Interpretations

Depending on which region you are you have to be aware that the hand signs can vary in meaning. The hand sign for 8 represents 7 in some places such as Guangdong and Hong Kong. Thus, the hand sign used for 8 is similar to the hand sign for 7 except included with the middle finger extended as well. The hand sign for 9 can also mean “death” depending on the context. The hand sign for 10 may also be expressed by creating a cross with both index fingers to recreate the character 10 (十,shí).

Counting Larger Numbers

If you were to go out shopping and wanting to bargain you might want to use the hand counting system to help you out. Reminder, be aware of the way you shake your fist at a vendor. It can be taken out of context and seen as you saying their items are not worth paying for. No need to get into a fight.

The hand sign 10 represents each zero in a hundred or thousand. You have to shake your fist for each 10.

For example:

50 = 5, 10

100 = 1, 10, 10

150 = 1, 10, 10, 5, 10

1,000= 1, 10, 10, 10

Good luck counting everyone! Keep on practicing and learning Mandarin Chinese. There is always something new to learn.

Yes! I’d like to learn Mandarin Chinese more effectively

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