Hokkien numerals

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Numerals
Hàn-jī 數字
Pe̍h-ōe-jī Sò͘-jī
Tâi-lô Sòo-jī

The Hokkien language has two regularly used sets of numerals, a colloquial or native Hokkien system and literary system. Literary and colloquial systems are not totally mutually independent; they are sometimes mixed used.

Basic numerals[edit]

Number Literary or Sinoxenic system Colloquial or vernacular system Note
Hàn-jī Pe̍h-ōe-jī Tâi-lô Hàn-jī Pe̍h-ōe-jī Tâi-lô
0 lêng lîng khòng khòng
1 it it [1] chi̍t tsi̍t
2 nn̄g nn̄g
3 sam sam saⁿ sann
4
5 ngó͘ ngóo gō͘ gōo
6 lio̍k lio̍k la̍k la̍k
7 chhit tshit chhit tshit
8 pat pat peh peh
9 kiú kiú káu káu
10 si̍p si̍p cha̍p tsa̍p
20 - - - 廿 jia̍p jia̍p The sandhi for jī-cha̍p (二十)
30 - - - sa̍p sa̍p The sandhi for saⁿ-cha̍p (三十)
40 - - - siap siap The sandhi for sì-cha̍p (四十)
100 pek pik pah pah
1,000 chhian tshian chheng tshing
104 bān bān - - -
108 ek ik - - -
1012 tiāu tiāu - - - From now on, see Chinese numerals
1016 keng king - - -
1020 kai kai - - -
1024 chí tsí - - -
1028 jiông jiông - - -
1032 ko͘ koo - - -
1036 kàn kàn - - -
1040 chèng tsìng - - -
1044 chài tsài - - -

Cardinal numbers[edit]

For cardinal numbers usage, the colloquial system is usually used. For example, one should use chi̍t ê lâng for the meaning of "a person" instead of using it ê lâng. However, a notable exceptions for numerals 1 and 2 appears while the number is greater than 10.

Situation \ Numeral 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Less than 10
lêng it sam ngó͘ lio̍k chhit pat kiú si̍p
khòng chi̍t nn̄g saⁿ gō͘ la̍k chhit peh káu cha̍p
Greater than 10
lêng it sam ngó͘ lio̍k chhit pat kiú si̍p
khòng chi̍t nn̄g saⁿ gō͘ la̍k chhit peh káu cha̍p

For "few hundred and ten, twenty or thirty" or "few thousand and few hundred", in Hokkien the prefixes pah- or chheng- are used instead of the lengthy way, which requires the speaker to state "how many chheng, how many pah, and how many cha̍p".

In the table, n is substituted by chi̍t, nn̄g, saⁿ, , gō͘, la̍k, chhit, peh, káu
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90
Pah-
n-pah-it n-pah-jī n-pah-saⁿ n-pah-sì n-pah-gō͘ n-pah-la̍k n-pah-chhit n-pah-peh n-pah-káu
100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900
Chheng-
n-chheng-it n-chheng-jī n-chheng-saⁿ n-chheng-sì n-chheng-gō͘ n-chheng-la̍k n-chheng-chhit n-chheng-peh n-chheng-káu

Fractional numerals[edit]

For expressing fractions, one should use the sentence pattern like "cardinal number + hun-chi + cardinal number"; for example, gō͘ hun-chi it (五分之一) for "one fifth" (1/5). Note that the colloquial set of numerals is used in fractional numerals with still the exception of numerals 1 and 2, which should use the literary set as it and .

For expressing decimals, one should only use the literary numeral set with tiám (點) for the decimal mark. For example, one may say π equals sam tiám it-sù-it-ngó͘-kiú-jī-lio̍k-ngó͘-sam (3.141592653).

In addition, some special fraction can be expressed in other simpler forms. For percentage, one can still use the sentence pattern of hun-chi as pah hun-chi cha̍p (百分之十) for "ten percent" in most situations; however, for native speakers, the suffix -siâⁿ (成) for "n×10 percents" is used more commonly, so the "twenty percents" should be nn̄g-siâⁿ (兩成). Note that the numeral set used with the suffix -siâⁿ is totally the colloquial one with no exception.

In Taiwan, the term pha-sian-to͘ is also used for fractional numerals, but one should use the sentence term as "cardinal number + ê pha-sian-to͘"; for example, chhit-cha̍p ê pha-sian-to͘ (70%). The term was introduced in Japanese rule era from Japanese language; it's a Japanese loanword originating from English with the meaning of "percent" (paasento; パーセント). The use of pha-sian-to͘ is sometimes simplified as a suffix -pha; for example, cha̍p-peh-pha (18%).

Ordinal numbers[edit]

For ordinal numbers, when the numerals are preceded by the prefix (第), the colloquial set is used with the exception of numeral 1 and 2; when the numerals are preceded by the prefix thâu (頭), there is no exception to use the colloquial set when the number is smaller than 10, but once the number is greater than 10, the exception of numeral 1 and 2 appears again. Note that the system with prefix thâu is usually added by counter words, and it means "the first few"; for example, thâu-gō͘ pái means "the first five times". Thâu-chhit (number seven) sometimes means thâu-chhit kang (first seven days). It means the first seven days after a person died, which is a Hokkien cultural noun that should usually be avoided.

Smaller than 10[edit]

Prefix \ Numeral 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
tē-
it sam ngó͘ lio̍k chhit pat kiú si̍p
chi̍t nn̄g saⁿ gō͘ la̍k chhit peh káu cha̍p
thâu-
it sam ngó͘ lio̍k chhit pat kiú si̍p
chi̍t nn̄g saⁿ gō͘ la̍k chhit peh káu cha̍p

Greater than 10[edit]

Prefix \ Numeral 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 n×10
tē-
it sam ngó͘ lio̍k chhit pat kiú si̍p
chi̍t nn̄g saⁿ gō͘ la̍k chhit peh káu cha̍p
thâu-
it sam ngó͘ lio̍k chhit pat kiú si̍p
chi̍t nn̄g saⁿ gō͘ la̍k chhit peh káu cha̍p

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 閩南語詞彙. Archived from the original on 2016-03-14.