Vietnamese numerals

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In the Vietnamese language there are two sets of numeric systems, based on the Native Vietnamese and Sino-Vietnamese names of numbers.

Concept[edit]

Among the languages of the Chinese cultural sphere, Japanese and Korean both use two numeric systems—one native and one Chinese-based—and use the Chinese-based one more commonly. In Vietnamese, however, the Chinese-based system is not in everyday use. Numbers from 1 to 1000 are still usually expressed in the Vietnamese system, and only a few numbers (such as 1,000,000, triệu) are expressed in the Chinese system.

In the Vietnamese writing system, numbers from each system may be written in two ways. In modern writing, numbers from both systems are written in the romanized script quốc ngữ. In older writings, which use Hán-Nôm (characters), numbers from the Chinese-based system were written in Hán tự (Vietnamese Chinese characters) and numbers from the native system were written in Chữ Nôm.

Basic figures[edit]

Basic features of the Vietnamese numbering system include the following aspects:

  • Unlike other sinoxenic numbering systems, Vietnamese separates place values in thousands rather than myriads. For example, "123123123" is recorded in Vietnamese as "một trăm hai mươi ba triệu một trăm hai mươi ba nghìn (ngàn) một trăm hai mươi ba (𠬠𤾓𠄩𨒒𠀧𠬠𤾓𠄩𨒒𠀧𠦳𠬠𤾓𠄩𨒒𠀧)", or "123兆123𠦳123" (123 million, 123 thousand and 123),[1] whilst in Chinese, Japanese and Korean, the same number is rendered "1亿2312万3123" (1 hundred millions, 2312 ten thousands and 3123).
  • Although there are two sets of numbering in Vietnamese, the Sino-Vietnamese set of numbers is not as frequently used. Only when numbers exceed the thousands digit mark do Sino-Vietnamese numbers such as "vạn/萬", "ức/億" and "triệu/兆" become more specifically used. These Sino-Vietnamese words represent the number values used in Ancient China, with each numeral increasing tenfold in digit value, 億 being the number for 105, 兆 for 106, et cetera. (See Chinese numerals#Large numbers)
  • Nowadays, the Sino-Vietnamese words "vạn/萬" and "ức/億" are becoming used less frequently.
  • Some numbers involve a mixture of native Vietnamese and Sino-Vietnamese, for instance, "mười triệu/𨒒兆", where "triệu/兆" belongs to the Sino-Vietnamese vocabulary, and "mười/𨒒" is a native word.

The following table is an overview of the basic Vietnamese numeric figures, provided in both Native and Sino-Viet forms. For each number, the form that is more commonly used is highlighted. Where there are differences between the Hanoi and Saigon dialects of Vietnamese, readings between each are differentiated below within the notes.

Number Sino-Vietnamese Native Vietnamese Notes
Hán tự Quốc Ngữ Chữ Nôm Quốc Ngữ
0 空 • 〇(零) không • linh (none) (none) The foreign-language borrowed word "zêrô (zêro, dê-rô)" is often used in physics-related publications.
1 一(壹) nhất 𠬠 một
2 二(貳) nhị 𠄩 hai
3 三(叄) tam 𠀧 ba
4 四(肆) tứ 𦊚 bốn In the ordinal number system, the Sino-Viet "tư/四" is more systematic; as the digit 4 appears after the number 20 when counting upwards, the Sino-Viet "tư/四" is more commonly used.
5 五(伍) ngũ 𠄼 năm Within the Hanoi dialect, five may also be pronounced as "lăm" whilst as part of a two-digit number ending in 5 (such as 15, 25, 35...) to avoid possible confusion with homonyms of năm, an example being "năm/𢆥", meaning "years of age".
6 六(陸) lục 𦒹 sáu
7 七(柒) thất 𦉱 bảy In some Vietnamese dialects, it is also read as "bẩy".
8 八(捌) bát 𠔭 tám
9 九(玖) cửu 𠃩 chín
10 (拾) thập 𨒒 mười
100 (佰) bách 𤾓 • 𠬠𤾓 trăm • một trăm The Sino-Viet "bách/百" is commonly used as a morpheme (in compound words), and is rarely used in the field of mathematics as a digit. Example: "bách phát bách trúng/百發百中".
1,000 (仟) thiên 𠦳 • 𠬠𠦳 nghìn (ngàn) • một nghìn (ngàn) The Sino-Viet "thiên/千" is commonly used as a morpheme, but rarely used in a mathematical sense. Example: "thiên kim/千金". "nghìn" is the standard reading in Northern Vietnam, whilst "ngàn" is the pronunciation in the South.
10,000 • 𠬠萬 vạn • một vạn 𨒒𠦳 mười nghìn (ngàn) The "một/𠬠" within "một vạn/𠬠萬" is a Native Vietnamese (intrinsic term) morpheme.
100,000 • 𠬠億 • 𨒒萬 ức • một ức • mười vạn[2] 𤾓𠦳 • 𠬠𤾓𠦳 trăm nghìn (ngàn) • một trăm nghìn (ngàn) The "mười/𨒒" and "một/𠬠" within "mười vạn/𨒒萬" and "một ức/𠬠億" are Native Vietnamese (intrinsic term) morphemes.
1,000,000 • 𠬠兆 • 𠬠𤾓萬 triệu • một triệu • một trăm vạn[3] (none) (none) The "một/𠬠" and "trăm/𤾓" within "một triệu/𠬠兆" and "một trăm vạn/𠬠𤾓萬" are Native Vietnamese (intrinsic term) morphemes.
10,000,000 𨒒兆 mười triệu (mixed usage of Sino-Viet and Native Viet systems) (mixed usage of Sino-Viet and Native Viet systems) The "mười/𨒒" within "mười triệu/𨒒兆" is a Native Vietnamese (intrinsic term) morpheme.
100,000,000 𤾓兆 trăm triệu (mixed usage of Sino-Viet and Native Viet systems) (mixed usage of Sino-Viet and Native Viet systems) The "trăm/𤾓" within "trăm triệu/𤾓兆" is a Native Vietnamese (intrinsic term) morpheme.
1,000,000,000 [4] tỷ (none) (none)

Other figures[edit]

Number Hán-Nôm Quốc Ngữ Notes
11 𨒒𠬠 mười một
12 𨒒𠄩 • 𠬠 tá mười hai • một tá "một tá/𠬠 tá" is often used within mathematics-related occasions, to which "" represents the foreign loanword "dozen".
14 𨒒𦊚 • 𨒒四 mười bốn • mười tư "mười tư/𨒒四" is often used within literature-related occasions, to which "tư/四" forms part of the Sino-Viet vocabulary.
15 𨒒𠄻 mười lăm Here, five is pronounced "lăm".
19 𨒒𠃩 mười chín
20 𠄩𨒒 • 𠄩𨔿 hai mươi • hai chục
21 𠄩𨒒𠬠 hai mươi mốt For numbers which include the digit 1 from 21 to 91, the number 1 is pronounced "mốt".
24 𠄩𨒒四 hai mươi tư When the digit 4 appears in numbers after 20, it is more common to use "tư/四".
25 𠄩𨒒𠄻 hai mươi lăm Here, five is pronounced "lăm".
50 𠄼𨒒 • 𠄼𨔿 năm mươi • năm chục When "𨒒" (10) appears after the number 20, the pronunciation changes to "mươi".
101 𠬠𤾓零𠬠 • 𠬠𤾓𥘶𠬠 một trăm linh một • một trăm lẻ một Although "một trăm linh một/𠬠𤾓零𠬠" is the standard form, it is more commonly used in Northern Vietnam, where "linh/零" forms part of the Sino-Vietnamese vocabulary; "một trăm lẻ một/𠬠𤾓𥘶𠬠" is more commonly used in the South.
1001 𠬠𠦳空𤾓零𠬠 • 𠬠𠦳空𤾓𥘶𠬠 một nghìn (ngàn) không trăm linh một • một nghìn (ngàn) không trăm lẻ một When the hundreds digit is occupied by a zero, these are expressed using "không trăm/空𤾓".
10055 𨒒𠦳空𤾓𠄼𨒒𠄻 mười nghìn (ngàn) không trăm năm mươi lăm
  • When the number 1 appears after 20 in the unit digit, the pronunciation changes to "mốt".
  • When the number 4 appears after 20 in the unit digit, it is more common to use Sino-Viet "tư/四".
  • When the number 5 appears after 10 in the unit digit, the pronunciation changes to "lăm".
  • When "𨒒" appears after 20, the pronunciation changes to "mươi".

Ordinal numbers[edit]

Vietnamese ordinal numbers are generally preceded by the prefix "thứ", which is a Sino-Viet word which corresponds to "". For the ordinal numbers of one and four, the Sino-Viet readings "nhất/一" and "tư/四" are more commonly used; two is occasionally rendered using the Sino-Viet "nhì/二". In all other cases, the native Vietnamese number is used.

Ordinal number Quốc Ngữ Hán-Nôm
1st thứ nhất 次一
2nd thứ hai • thứ nhì 次𠄩 • 次二
3rd thứ ba 次𠀧
4th thứ tư 次四
5th thứ năm 次𠄼
nth thứ … 次…

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Here, "兆" refers to the Vietnamese usage of 1,000,000, as opposed to the various scale systems used in Chinese numerics. Nowadays, "兆" is officially rendered as 1012 in the Taiwan, and commonly designated as 106 in the People's Republic of China.
  2. ^ Tu dien Han Viet Thieu Chuu:「(1): ức, mười vạn là một ức.
  3. ^ Tu dien Han Viet Thieu Chuu:「(3): triệu, một trăm vạn.
  4. ^ Hán Việt Từ Điển Trích Dẫn 漢越辭典摘引:「Một ngàn lần một triệu là một tỉ 秭 (*). Tức là 1.000.000.000. § Ghi chú: Ngày xưa, mười vạn 萬 là một ức 億, một vạn ức là một tỉ 秭.

See also[edit]