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Numbers in Vietnamese: A comprehensive guide to counting like a local

15/01/2024 5.588

In Vietnamese culture, each number holds a unique significance which is shaped by linguistic associations, phonetic similarities, etc. Explore the diverse meanings attributed to numbers in Vietnamese in this guide.

Numbers in Vietnamese

Numbers in Vietnamese carry not just mathematical significance but also cultural meanings ingrained in the rich tapestry of Vietnamese culture. From everyday life to special occasions, the interpretation of numbers plays a pivotal role, influencing decisions such as selecting the dates for events and occasions.

1. Basic numbers in Vietnamese

1.1. Numbers 0 to 10 in Vietnamese

In Vietnamese, “số” means “number,” which is followed by the name of the number. For the numbers 1 - 10, here is how you say them:

# Vietnamese English
0 Số không Zero
1 Số một  One
2 Số hai Two
3 Số ba Three
4 Số bốn  Four
5 Số năm  Five
6 Số sáu  Six
7 Số bảy Seven
8 Số tám Eight
9 Số chín Nine
10 Số mười  Ten
 

1.2. Multiples of 10 in Vietnamese

For multiples of 10, we say the name of the number followed by “mươi.” Therefore, these numbers in Vietnamese are said as follows: 

# Vietnamese English
10 Mười Ten 
20 Hai Mươi Twenty
30 Ba Mươi Thirty
40 Bốn Mươi Forty
50 Năm Mươi Fifty 
60 Sáu Mươi Sixty 
70 Bảy Mươi Seventy 
80 Tám Mươi Eighty
90 Chín Mươi Ninety
100 Một Trăm One Hundred 
 
Numbers in Vietnamese

>>> Read more: Vietnamese phrases: A practical guide for travelers to connect with locals

2. Grouping and pronunciation of numbers in Vietnamese

In Vietnamese, numbers are grouped into sets of two digits until 100. Here are some examples:

  • 12 is "mười hai"
  • 34 is "ba mươi tư"
  • 57 is "năm mươi bảy"
  • 99 is "chín mươi chín"

In numbers with two digits or more, certain single-digit numbers are pronounced differently. For example:

  • For 21, instead of saying "hai mươi một,” people say "hai mươi mốt" so that it sounds more harmonious. Similarly, for 31, it would be "ba mươi mốt," and so on, up to 91.
  • For 24, 34… up to 94, it is common to say "hai mươi tư," "ba mươi tư," and so forth, using "tư" instead of "bốn."
  • For 25, 35… up to 95, people often say "hai mươi lăm" or "hai mươi nhăm," "ba mươi lăm" or "ba mươi nhăm," and so on, using "lăm" or "nhăm" instead of "năm."

These pronunciation variations follow the principle of tonal changes and aim to create a more pleasant way of speaking. 

>>> Explore: 20 interesting facts about Vietnam that first-time travelers should know

3. How to say big numbers in Vietnamese?

3.1. Hundred-numbers in Vietnamese

In English, you would say the name of the number followed by “hundred.” In Vietnamese, the same pattern applies. “Hundred” is “trăm.” Here are some examples to help you get the idea: 

  • 100 is "một trăm"
  • 200 is "hai trăm" 
  • 999 is "chín trăm chín mươi chín" 

3.2. Thousand-numbers in Vietnamese

The pattern repeats here. “Thousand” is “nghìn” in Vietnamese.

  • 1,000 is "một nghìn"
  • 2,500 is "hai nghìn năm trăm"
  • 9,999 is "chín nghìn chín trăm chín mươi chín"

3.3. Million and billion numbers in Vietnamese

“Million” is “triệu” and “billion” is “tỷ.” The same pattern is applied. Some examples of million and billion numbers in Vietnamese are as follows: 

  • 1 million is "một triệu"
  • 2.5 million is "hai triệu năm trăm nghìn"
  • 1 billion is "một tỷ"
  • 3.7 billion is "ba tỷ bảy trăm triệu"
Numbers in Vietnamese

>>> Read more: Vietnamese people: Facts to know to have the best cultural experiences

4. More complex numbers in Vietnamese

4.1. Decimal Vietnamese numbers

The decimal point is “chấm” in Vietnamese. For example, 1.5 is “một chấm năm.” Sometimes, “phẩy” is used instead of “chấm.” In this case, 1.5 is “một phẩy năm.”

4.2. Fraction Vietnamese numbers

The fraction sign is “phần” in Vietnamese. As such, ½ is “một phần hai.” Similarly, ¾ is “ba phần bốn,” and ⅖ is “hai phần năm.” 

5. A glance at lucky numbers in Vietnamese culture

Here are some Vietnamese lucky numbers

  • Six (6): The number 6's popularity is grounded in its homonym for "good fortune" in Vietnamese. It is often chosen for phone numbers in Vietnam.
  • Eight (8): The number 8 is also renowned for its strong association with wealth, as its pronunciation resembles the words for affluence in Vietnamese. Because of this, it is a popular choice for various decisions in life, such as choosing vehicle plates and apartment numbers. 
  • Twenty-three (23): Vietnamese individuals often choose this combination for special occasions, believing that the harmonious alignment of these digits can bring about financial well-being.
  • Twenty-nine (29): The number 29 symbolizes eternal wealth and enduring fortune. People often opt for this number during significant life events or when seeking good luck.
  • One hundred and thirty-two (132): The combination of these digits is believed to carry positive energy that aligns with professional achievement and financial well-being. People often use this number for choosing the dates of important life events or when offering wishes for sustained success in their careers.
  • Five hundred and fifty-five (555): The number 555 holds a special wish in Vietnamese tradition, which is the desire for them to bear children and for their family to remain happy. This combination is associated with themes of fertility, joy, and familial bliss.
  • Two thousand six hundred and twenty-eight (2628): The combination of 2628 in Vietnamese culture is regarded as particularly auspicious, promising a bountiful harvest of fortune. Each digit in this sequence is believed to contribute to the overall prosperity in various aspects of life.
  • Four thousand and seventy-eight (4078): In Vietnamese numerology, the number 4078 is chosen with the assurance of smooth sailing throughout all four seasons. The sequence of these digits is seen as a symbol of stability and balance, aligning with the harmonious flow of life across different phases.
Numbers in Vietnamese

6. Tips for bargaining with numbers in Vietnamese

When bargaining in Vietnamese, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Politeness is key: Start with a polite greeting and maintain a respectful tone throughout the negotiation.
  • Learn basic phrases: Familiarize yourself with phrases related to bargaining, such as asking for a discount ("Giảm giá được không?") or expressing that the price is too high ("Mắc quá").
  • Use numbers clearly: Clearly articulate the numbers in Vietnamese. This demonstrates your understanding and can help in negotiations.
  • Be patient: Bargaining in Vietnam often involves a bit of back-and-forth. Be patient and willing to engage in friendly negotiation.
  • Know the market: Research the typical prices for the items or services you are interested in to have a reasonable starting point for negotiation.
  • Smile and stay positive: A friendly demeanor can go a long way. Smile, stay positive, and be open to compromise.
  • Consider buying in bulk: If applicable, inquire about discounts for purchasing multiple items. Vendors may be more willing to negotiate for a larger sale.
  • Walk away if needed: Sometimes, being willing to walk away can work in your favor. If the seller sees that you are serious about your budget, they might reconsider their price.

Remember, the goal is to reach a fair agreement where both parties are satisfied. Enjoy the process and the cultural experience of bargaining!

>>> Discover: Traditional Vietnamese culture: A complete guide for culture travelers

To learn more about Vietnam's culture and people, consider traveling to Vietnam. You can visit Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Ha Long, etc. to immerse yourself in amazing Vietnam travel experiences. In these destinations, you can stay at Vinpearl’s hotels and resorts to enjoy luxurious accommodations and amenities. From Vinpearl, it is also possible to check out VinWonders for diverse entertainment opportunities, like taking thrilling rides and watching lively shows. 

Numbers in Vietnamese

>>> Book rooms in Vinpearl Phu Quoc, Vinpearl Nha Trang, Vinpearl Resort & Golf Nam Hoi An, Vinpearl Resort & Spa Ha Long for your exploration of Vietnam!

The intricacies of numbers in Vietnamese reflect a language rich in tonal nuances and phonetic adaptations. Moreover, understanding the significance that certain numbers carry provides a glimpse into the beliefs of Vietnamese people. With our guide, you should be able to figure out how to say Vietnamese numbers with ease. When you come to Vietnam, you can apply what you have learned and bargain to your heart’s content!

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