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Chinese number code and culture

Almost every nation has their preference or taboo to some certain numbers, and Chinese without exception have our special taste for numbers. The preference shows the taste and the taste tells culture. On this ground, the numbers are more of culture code.  

What is Chinese number code? 

Generally speaking, we prefer even numbers to odd numbers, and you will realize Chinese induldge in even numbers in almost every corner of life. Whenever you plan to give a gift and feel uncertain how many stuffs you better give (if you feel one is not enough), then things in pair will never get you wrong. Chinese people tend to send gifts in pair such as two bottles of liquor, two tickets of a concert, two boxes of chocolates, and never forget about the couplets. The only exception is number 4 which is regarded as an unlucky number becasue it sounds like "death"(sǐ) in Mandarin Chinese.

8 is the most popular number throughout China. One obvious reason people usually associate "8" (bā) with another character fā which means getting rich. So if you have a chance to bargin with a shop owner for something in China, cut down the price and leave an eight in will make this deal accepted easily. Most of the owner believe in this lucky number and seldom deny such a good price. You will see more examples like this in the deparment stores, supermarkets and outdoor makerts where a lot of prices have at least an eight in. 88, 188,128,158 ect.   

You may say you never came to China and nor to say know the price in shops, but I'm sure you know must this example: 2008/08/08  8:08 pm (Beijing time). The openning ceremony time of Beijing Olympic Games. Five 8 in this explame show the 8 fever in China.   


When talking about numbers in cultural context, we find a lot of interesting stuffs. What's the number code in your country? 

Mar 18, 2013 12:06 PM
Comments · 7

Informative entry. Indeed most of the lifters here are Chinese made and the there is no 4 or 14, there is 3a and 13a. 



March 18, 2013

Ni hao Sally, very interesting and informative article, appreciate it.

March 23, 2013

8 maybe only in gifts or rewards.


June 19, 2013

ur article is very excellent,I appreciate it.

March 31, 2013

Hi Xiaolei, this is a good example of a cultural article.

March 20, 2013
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Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), Chinese (Cantonese), Chinese (Shanghainese), English, French
Learning Language
Chinese (Cantonese), French