Follow @yorrike on Micro.blog.

Counting in French est très bizarre

I love french, j’adore le français. But the numbers are insane. They start out OK, un, deux, trois, etc. And they’re good up to 69 (yes), with soixante neuf (sixty nine).

What’s wrong with seventy? It’s soixante dix or sixty ten. 72? Soixante douze (sixty twelve), and this continues all the way up to 79, soixante dix neuf (sixty ten nine).

So what’s eighty? Soixante vingt (sixty twenty)? No, of course not. At eighty you switch to quatre vingt, or four twenty. Quantre vingt un, quatre vingt deux… all the way up to 99, which is quatre vingt dix neuf (four twenty ten nine).

This leads to speaking dates in the latter part of last century. In English we’d say nineteen ninety seven. In french it’s deep breath un mil neuf cent quatre vingt dix sept (one thousand nine hundred four twenty ten seven. (At least deux mil vingt, 2020, is easy).

I’m sure this seems perfectly natural to a native speaker, but as someone learning it for the first time it’s seems absolument fou.

Yorrike @yorrike