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Re: "The" and possessives

From:Weiben Wang <wwang@...>
Date:Tuesday, May 29, 2001, 21:26
As an American-born native speaker of Chinese, I have never been able to get this
right. If someone says yi1bai3wan4 (one hundred ten-thousands), have to sit
there and count up the zeros in my head, and I almost invariably get it wrong.
I have the same problem in reverse trying to say "one million" in Chinese.

On a side note, when someone reads off a string of numbers in Chinese, like a
phone no., I have to translate it into English in my head before can get it
straight, so I usually have to ask them to repeat several times as I translate
digit by digit. Likewise, I can't rattle off even my own phone number in
Chinese. I also have to translate, so I have to pause every few digits to
translate the next batch (or I look at the keypad :). And for some reason, I
have the same problem with "north," "south," "east," and "west." I'm otherwise
quite fluent in both English and Chinese, so I find this kind of odd.


On Tue, 29 May 2001, "Douglas Koller, Latin & French" wrote:

> > Nik wrote: > > >Henrik Theiling wrote: > >> I never understood why Chinese people still don't put the dots every > >> *four* digits in Arabic numbers. > > > >Because they got those numerals from the West. So, despite the > >confusion I'm sure it must cause for learners, they group digits in > >threes. I would think that it must make it difficult to read large > >numbers. > > Whenever I've seen a Chinese or Japanese confronted with a large > number in digits, he/she inevitably has to start counting backwards > from the units column. Ergo, 100,000,000 becomes: > "unit-ten-hundred-thousand-wan-10wan-100wan-1000wan-yi, oh, so it's a > yi!" > > Personally,I preferred memorizing some of the landmarks like > "million" (bai3wan4) and "billion" (shi2yi4) and backpedalling before > I became truly familiar with the system. > > Kou