You just cannot escape numbers as they are an essential part of our lives. If you are a French learner then mastering French numbers needs to be among the initial tasks that you need to do. Because no matter what industry you work in, and no matter how hard you try, you probably won’t be able to avoid mathematics.
Your age, phone number, a specific calendar date, or even the amount of money in your bank account are all numbers. As a result, if you are learning a new language, one of the first things you will learn is numbers.
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When we are learning a new language, learning numbers can appear to be a difficult challenge. So we have put together some pointers to help you easily learn French numbers from 1 to 100. You should be able to find some logical patterns to follow that will assist you in putting them into practice in your daily life.
Remember, the more you practice, the faster you will absorb them, which should help you advance your French proficiency level much faster than you expected.
French numbers from 1 to 20
First, let’s learn French numbering from 1 to 16 because these numbers are all unique – and there will be no repetition. Knowing these numbers will provide a solid foundation for understanding how numbers work in French. Numbers one through sixteen are listed below:
Let us now look at numbers 17 to 19. You may notice some patterns emerge. It is only necessary to say the ten (dix) first, and then add the required number by joining both words with a hyphen:
· Dix-sept (17)
· Dix-huit (18)
· Dix-neuf (19)
· And the 20th is called vingt.
To become good at French, you need to look at the pattern changes in French numbers. Try observing them in different examples and sentences. It will help you gain clarity.
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French numbers to 60
You can now return to the pattern you used with the number 17. To make 21, we will insert the word “et” (and) between both numbers, resulting in “vingt-et-un.” Now that you know this little trick, you can concentrate on learning the number of each ten, which is:
· 30 (trente)
· 40 (quarante)
· 50 (cinquante)
· 60 (soixante)
Then, as previously explained, you can begin combining the numbers step by step. Remember to add the “et” (and) to the first number after the tenth, as in 31 = trente-et-un.
However, with the remaining numbers following 31, this will not be necessary. This logic is repeated for every ten numbers – for example, 32 is trente-deux, 53 is cinquante-trois, and so on. The pattern of the numbering is very repetitive.
French numbers 70 to 100
Remember that there are always some details or exceptions to remember, such as 70, 80, and 90. Consider these numbers in particular as follows:
· 60 + 10 = 70 (soixante-dix),
· 60 + 11 = 71 (soixante et onze),
· 60 + 15 = 75 (soixante-quinze),
· 60 + 19 = 79 (soixant-dix-neuf)
As you can see, we start with the number sixty and then add ten, eleven, twelve, and so on. Consider the following for 80:
· 4 times 20 = “quatre-vingt” (80)
· 4 times 20 + 1 = “quatre-vingt-un” (81)
· 4 times 20 + 2 = “quatre-vingt-deux” (82)
· And for 90 remember that there are 4 times 20 plus 10 = “quatre-vingt-dix ”
· Finally, to say 100 in French, say “cent”
Knowing some basic maths will help you learn French numbers, and once you become familiar with these patterns, it will become easier for you.
How to learn French numbers?
Try making a French number memory game to help you remember the relationship between numbers and how they are written. You could use bibliographic cards for this. Write the number with digits in one color on one card and how it is written in French in a different color on the other. You could even include its pronunciation in a different color or on a different card underneath.
You will have cards with numbers in French ranging from 1 to 10, 11 to 20, 21 to 30, and so on, and you will be able to join pairs or thirds of ten by ten. When you are feeling more confident, mix all of the cards together and try matching all of the numbers from 1 to 100.
This game is a fun way to learn. Games are widely used in the teaching of foreign languages around the world to help develop understanding and create a link between the visual and auditory.
French rules for pronunciation
If you have started learning French, you have probably noticed that there are some basic rules for pronunciation. These rules also apply to French number pronunciation, and if you master them, you can use them as models when encountering more advanced words with similar letter combinations.
It is critical to recognize that French is not a phonetic language. This means that when we pronounce words in French, we will not read them exactly as they are written. For instance:
· Unless the vowel has an acute accent (é), the E is often not said or heard.
· The S and X are also generally not said at the end of a word, but keep in mind that there are exceptions. As an example, consider the word “plus,” which we use in math equations or to say “more.” Here, we pronounce the S as an exception to the rule.
In the case of the X and the numbers in French, we should pronounce it as if it were the letter S:
· 6 = six, pronounced “sis”
· 10 = dix, pronounced “dis”
The case of R is perhaps the most well-known, as its unique pronunciation is one of the language’s distinguishing features. The R in French is a guttural consonant, which means it is pronounced with the back of the throat, giving it a dark, “gnarly” sound. Because we don’t use that part of the throat very often in English, it can be difficult to use. You might find it easier to think of the R as a G.
Remember to use nasal vowels. These are very simple to remember and may remind you of when you have a cold. Combinations of letters such as en, in, un, and a will all sound as if you were saying “an” with a cold. Sending the sound toward your nose will cause the back of it to vibrate. Number 5 (cinq) is pronounced and said similarly to “sanc.”
The number 2 in French is “deux” (the letter E does not sound, nor does the letter X, so the pronunciation is simply DU with the U with a small I sound); 30 is “trente” (the combination of the letters EN will sound like AN as we saw earlier); and 32 is “trente-deux” = trANte-du.
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Frequently asked questions
Q. What is the rule for French numbers?
A. French numbers are always invariable in their spelling, except round number 80 → quatre-vingts (with a final S) number 100 when it is multiplied and not followed by another digit: 700 = 7×100 → sept cents (with a final S).
Q. Why are the French limited to counting to 60?
A. The number system in French is derived from that used in Gaulish, the Celtic language spoken in France before the arrival of the modern Romance language. A similar pattern can be found in the counting systems of modern Celtic languages such as Welsh or Scottish Gaelic.
Q. Who chose the French numbers?
A. Many believe it became French as a result of the Celts’ influence in France, whose languages use the base 20 system. Others argue that it was the Viking influence, citing the fact that Danish numbers also use the base 20 “vigesimal system.”
A common question we get from students is how to learn French on your own. Remember, practice makes a man perfect. Read the prices of the products in your mind in French. You can even say them aloud if you don’t fear people watching you.
Start by learning basic French words and French numbers and try using them in your conversations as much as possible. It will set your pace and allow you to gain French fluency.
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