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  • Gordon Dumoulin

Our kitchen clock... what time is it ?

𝘖𝘶𝘳 𝘬𝘪𝘵𝘤𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘤𝘭𝘰𝘤𝘬… 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘵 ?

Number gestures in China with one hand. Chinese people often use one-hand gestures for numbers 0-10. While numbers 1-5 are quite straightforward, numbers 6-10 have special gestures while zero is a fist or forming a zero with thumb and index finger (fist is also used for 10 sometimes). Note that different regions in China sometimes use different gestures, especially between the North and South Coastal areas.

These commonly used one-hand gestures for numbers often come in practical at crowded noisy markets or if you would not be too familiar with Chinese language or tonations. The hand signals have probably originated in ancient times as a way for businessmen to bargain discreetly in public places, or as a way to bridge the gap between different languages and dialects.

I still recall my experience one of the first times in the market, picking up some tomatoes and the vendor showed me two fingers so I handed over 2 kuai renminbi. Me being surprised how cheap it was and the vendor was equally surprised as she was missing 6 kuai renminbi 😂…

You can find the right time on our kitchen clock here below 😊


𝗙𝗼𝗿 𝗹𝗮𝗿𝗴𝗲𝗿 𝗻𝘂𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿𝘀, you also need to pay careful attention as the Chinese system works differently. In most societies, there is a count up to 1,000 one thousand (same in Chinese) and then repeat the pattern up to one million using tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands.

Instead of one thousand and one million being main indicators, in China ten thousand; 10,000 called 一万 yīwàn (“one wan”; 1,0000) and 100 million; 100,000,000 called 一亿 yīyì (“one yi”; 1,0000,0000) are the main large number indicators.

One thousand 一千yī qiān is also used in Chinese counting up to 9,999 with next number not becoming ten thousand but “one wan”.

一万 yī wàn 1,0000 (one “ten-thousand”)

十万 shí wàn 10,0000 (ten “ten-thousands”)

一百万 yī băi wàn 100,0000 (one hundred “ten-thousands”)

一千万 yī qiān wàn 1000,0000 (one thousand “ten thousands”)

一亿 yī yì 1,0000,0000 (one “ten-million”)

Get your math skills in order when doing business or buying something in China 😉

#counting #businessinchina

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