Thai Crash Course Part 5: Numbers

i really want to get a thai number clock before i go home!

After going through a few specific lessons I thought it might be a good idea to do something more general but no less useful: numbers. I’ve been making an effort to include phrases that come in handy when shopping, but of course you’ll find it more effective and easier to strike a bargain if you can actually toss around some numbers in Thai rather than just telling a vendor his or her wares are expensive! It’s very true that vendors are almost always more flexible and easy going when you demonstrate that you know a bit of their language. Obviously there are other situations when a working knowledge of numbers can be to your advantage so let’s get on with the lesson.

As you can see, Thais have their own system of writing numbers as well. However, our Arabic numerals are nearly as, if not more, ubiquitous than the Thai system, which is seen more on official documents and house numbers and such. (Source for the following number pics.)

1. Neung (หนึ่ง)

2. Sawng (สอง)

3. Saam (สาม)

4. See (สี่)

5. Haa (ห้า)

 (You’ll often see Thai kids writing “555!” on Facebook or the like as their equivalent of “lol”. Say it out loud, in Thai, and you’ll see why!)

6. Hok (หก)

7. Jet (จ็ด)

8. Bat (as in “vampire” or “baseball”) (แปด)

9. Gao (ก้า)

10. Sip (สิบ)

“10” (the number on the right face. the one on the left you should recognize as “8”!)


Further notes:

  • Soon (ศูนย์) is “zero”. In Thai script it’s written as a big circle (as seen in the number “10” above).
  • Yee-sip (ยี่สิบ) is “twenty”. To continue counting by 10, you say the single digit+“sip”. (Sam-sip for “thirty,” See-sip for “forty,” Haa-sip for “fifty,” Hok-sip for “sixty,” Jet-sip for “seventy,” Bat-sip for “eighty,” Gao-sip for “ninety.”)
  • Et (เอ็ด) is the way to say “one” in any two-or-more digit numbers ending in one. (Sip-et for “eleven,” Yee-sip-et for “twenty-one,” Sam-sip-et for “thirty-one,” etc.) The rest of the numbers remain the same in their position as a final digit. (See-sip-sawng for “forty-two,” Haa-sip-see for “fifty-four,” Hok-sip-haa for “sixty-five,” etc.) Essentially, with the exception of the 20s and numbers ending in 1, you’re saying “[number]-‘ten’-[number].” A pretty simple system, really.
  • Roi (ร้อย) is “hundred,” and standing alone often serves as “one hundred” (though neung-roi and roi-neung are acceptable and even common ways of saying “one hundred” as well).
  • Paan (พัน) is “thousand,” and standing alone often serves as “one thousand” (though neung-paan and paan-neung are acceptable and even common ways of saying “one thousand” as well). The hundreds and thousands work just the same way as in English: [number]+”hundred/thousand.” (Sawng-roi is “two-hundred,” Haa-paan is “five-thousand,” Jet-roi is “seven-hundred,” Gao-paan is “nine-thousand.”)
  • Here it gets a bit more complicated, but as these numbers are so much less frequently used so this is kind of for trivia purposes more than anything. Meun (หมื่น) is “ten-thousand” and Sen (แสน) is “hundred-thousand.” 111,000 would be said as, “neung-sen, neung-meun, neung-paan.” 435,234 would be “see-sen, sam-meun, haa-paan, sawng-roi, sam-sip-see.”
  • Creating ordinal (“1st,” “2nd,” “3rd”) numbers is easy: just add the word “tee” before any normal number. (Kon tee-neung is “first person,” wan tee-sip-jet is “the 17th day [of the month]”.

Quiz yourself!

Part A: How do you say the following numbers in Thai?

1. 7     2. 14     3. 27     4. 86     5. 107     6. 812     7. 958     8. 1,234     9. 4,987     10. 312,683

Part B: How do you say the following numbers in English?

1. bat-sip-gao     2. hok-sip-haa     3. jet-sip-et     4. neung-roi-sam-sip     5. sam-paan-haa-roi-yee-sip-gao 
6. sam-roi-bat-sip-see     7. sawng-roi-gao-sip     8. jet-meun-gao-paan-see-sip-bat

Part C: How much more are you being charged as a foreigner?

(the top figure is for adults and the second is for children)

Answers below:

Part A:

1. jet
2. sip-see
3. yee-sip-jet
4.  bat-sip-hok
5. neung-roi-jet
6. bat-roi-sip-sawng
7. gao-roi-haa-sip-bat
8. neung-paan-sawng-roi-sam-sip-see
9. see-paan-gao-roi-bat-sip-jet
10. sam-sen-neung-meun-sawng-paan-hok-roi-bat-sip-sam

Part B:

1. 89
2. 65
3. 71
4. 130
5. 3,529
6. 384
7. 290
8. 79,048

Part C:

Adults get charged 80 baht and children 60, so foreigners are charged 80 baht and 100 baht more, respectively. But hey, at least we know they’re not cutting the Chinese any breaks either.

Other lessons:

Thai Crash Course Part 1: 6 Useful Expressions | Thai Crash Course Part 2: 5 Useful Questions | Thai Crash Course Part 3: 7 Commonly Used Adjectives | Thai Crash Course Part 4: 5 Useful Verbs | Thai Crash Course Part 5: Numbers | Thai Crash Course Part 6: Question Words


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