Friday, November 19, 2010

Don't count on me when it comes to Italian numbers

I’ve got to counting in Italian now, and I can’t really imagine ever wanting to say numbers over 100 in Italian - or write them out in words, for that matter. There’s a very good reason for this reluctance – they become super-long goods-trainish compound words that you can’t break up because them’s the Italian rules, miei amici (my friends)! (I hope!)

A random three-digit number, say, 555 – cinquecentocinquantacinque (phonetic pronunciation - "chinkweh-chento chinkwanta chinkweh".

A random 4-digit number – 3257 – tremiladuecentocinquantasette ("thray-meela dooeh-chento chinkwanta-setteh")

I derive a childish satisfaction out of saying the numbers out loud, simply because it's fun to do so - as long as I'm never verbally tested on them without due warning. I'd hate to take dictation on these, I can tell you! If I was learning Italian in a proper classroom, I have no doubt that I’d be blinking like an owl if I was ever asked to translate random numbers out loud without writing them down first.  

I’ve no idea what 10,000 is in Italian (maybe diecimila? literally ten-thousand, but I'm not sure), and I’m not certain I want to find out. But I guess I will, eventually, like it or not.

And they think German has long compound words...


MiM said...

trois mille deux cent cinquante sept...

french is italian with spacing i think. rome is ready for me

Kamini said...

Looks like you are taking Italian lessons! Yes, the numbers become impossibly long (and your diecimila was spot on) but it is all very logically built up.
German just looks and sounds ridiculous to me - I am sure that there is an impeccable logic to it, but I can't help giggling every time I see some extra-long and convoluted words in it!