Friday, 23 January 2009


Any basic German language book will give you numbers. You can get some clues to help your translation by reading or listening to the words for numbers. The good news is that there is a lot of repetition - numbers are everywhere. I'm afraid that you still have to learn them all but try to recognise the connections between English and German e.g. seven and sieben. You can see that there is a close link between the letter v and the letter b and these links are everywhere.

You will also find that most of the numbers between 20 and 99 are in the opposite order to the English. 21 is "one and twenty" or einundzwanzig.

There are some stronger clues. A hundred is ein hundert and the word for a thousand is ein tausend although you don't normally say ein with hundert or tausend when you are talking about big numbers. A million is eine Million. Add three more zeros and you have eine Milliarde (one thousand million). Add another three zeros and you get eine Billion. Notice that Million, eine Milliarde and eine Billion all have capital letters because they are nouns. The other numbers are adjectives.

A foreign language often helps with your native language. Did you know what is meant by an English billion? It is a million million, a one with twelve zeros. Americans call a thousand million a billion which is confusing but German can help us know our numbers.

The word for number is die Zahl, and to count is zählen so to count the numbers is zählen die Zahlen

Bis bald

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