5 mins read

Quickly learn how to count to 10 in Mandarin Chinese

By LingoAce Curriculum Team |US |May 11, 2022

Learning Chinese

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No matter where you are, knowing another language is a great way to connect you to a wider network. While it may seem like a daunting task, nothing is impossible when you get to know the tips and tricks involved in it. So, if you wish to make Mandarin Chinese language learning easy for your child, here is how you can do it.  

To learn the basics of this language, learning how to count to 10 can be laying the foundation. When the words for two digits are combined, larger numbers are formed. So, if a child excels in Mandarin Chinese, counting from 1 to 10, they can easily count to 99 later.  


How to Count to 10 in Mandarin Chinese? 

The lower numbers in Mandarin Chinese are very straightforward to learn. These are simple words, and the characters are the easiest to write. They can also be recognized easily in the language because they all have a single main component. The basic numbers are made up of the following words and characters. 


Mandarin Chinese 

Pinyin (Romanized spelling)

How to Pronounce in English



























With the help of the Mandarin numerical chart, your child can quickly learn the basics. However, there are specific hand signals associated with Mandarin Chinese numbers that can help make the counting process easier for children, especially young children. The reason why hand signals are used for numbers in China is that they have different pronunciations and dialects that exist across the country. Here is how a child can learn to count to 10 with hand signals. 

Counting to 10 With Hand Signals 

The following method will help count to 10 in Mandarin Chinese using hand signals. 

1 – Raise the index finger just like anyone does in English. 

2 – Raise the index and middle finger, the same as English. 

3 – Raise the middle finger, ring finger, and little finger to represent this number. 

4 – Raise all fingers except the thumb. 

5 – To represent this, you should open your palm and raise all fingers, including the thumb.  

6 – Stick out the little finger and the thumb while curling up the rest. This signal also looks like a hang-loose sign. 

7 – Bring the thumb, the index and middle finger to a single point while curling the rest.

8 – Extend the index finger and the thumb while curling up the rest. This hand signal looks like a gun. 

9 – Just leave the index finger and curl the rest of the fingers. Later, bend the index finger a little. 

10 – There are two ways to represent this number. One can cross the middle and index fingers while curling the rest. Or can form a cross shape using both hands with the two index fingers. 


You can also use different methods to make counting easier. Check out LingoAce’s Counting Bananas Song

Interesting Facts About Mandarin Chinese Numerals 

Mandarin Chinese numbers have numerous interesting facts. Here are a few.  

  1. They are known to be simple and logical. However, they may seem complicated at the beginning. But once a child learns how to count to 10, the rest is easy. 

  2. Most numbers have not one but two character options. People use the same to distinguish between mathematical or financial use and normal use. 

  3. The Chinese people consider 8 (八) as their luckiest number. It sounds like the popular Mandarin Chinese word Fa which means fortune, wealth, and prosperity. That is why these people often try to integrate this number into their lives whenever and wherever they can. That may be related to licensed plates, special dates, lottery ticket numbers, etc. 

  4. Unlike the number 8, Chinese culture considers 4 (四) as an unlucky number. That is because its pronunciation is like the word death. People tend to be superstitious, so they typically avoid this number as much as possible. 

  5. People in China prefer even numbers over odd numbers. Even when exchanging gifts at birthday parties or weddings, they give two or more (even) presents. However, their exception always remains the same in the case of the number 4. 

Tips to Count to 10 in Mandarin Chinese Easily 

  1. One must know the pronunciations and characters of the words first to start learning to count in Mandarin Chinese. This applies to the first five numerals, which are 1 to 5. Characters 1 to 3 are the easiest to remember among them, as they represent the lines equal to the numbers. So, one is 一 , two is 二, three is 三. 

  2. Now, move to the numbers from 6 to 10 after having the first five characters. Practice the same way as the earlier ones to make it easy to memorize all the numbers better. 

  3. Counting out loud from 1 to 10 can help anyone practice the combinations of different tones. This helps in the easy pronunciation of other Mandarin characters. 

Mandarin Chinese Characters 

Sometimes, people are confused about whether to talk about Mandarin Chinese numbers or characters. So, how are numbers written in China? So, these people have their own set of characters for writing numbers. However, they prefer using international numbers in China nowadays, just like the rest of the world. However, the words written in regular numbers are always referred to as characters. 

Measuring Words in Mandarin Chinese 

The major difference between Mandarin Chinese and the European language is classifiers, also known as ‘measure words.’ For instance, one cannot count numbers when talking about a specific word like grass. So, either they can write it as grass or a ‘blade of grass.’ However, it is not the same case in Mandarin Chinese. Here, if children use any noun with a number, they need to use a relevant measure word. Furthermore, they do not need to use the noun when asking for a number count of something. 


Mandarin Chinese numerals are easy to learn, simple, and logical. Once children start counting the numbers from 1 to 10, it will not take much time to learn the rest of them, which are 11 to 99. They can simply remember the number table from 1 to 10, its Pinyin (Roman spelling), and English pronunciation. Children can also learn Mandarin Chinese by counting from 1 to 10 with the help of hand signals. This will help understand how they represent numbers in various parts of the country. 


At LingoAce, we provide many helpful and innovative resources specially tailored to your child’s needs. Each lesson your child takes with us is a product of over 100 hours of curriculum creation, courseware production, mock teaching, teacher training, and quality control (QC) rounds. Experience a redefined Mandarin Chinese learning experience first-hand through a free trial lesson with us today. 

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Our team members have backgrounds in pedagogy, educational psychology, and linguistics. Certain members have over 10 years of experience in teaching, research, foreign language learning, and educational theory. They understand the characteristics of children aged 3-15. They've worked with well-known Chinese education institutions and had experience with teaching and curriculum design. They excels at producing interactive and highly engaging content that is aligned to local learning needs.​