Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Beginning numbers

Though they look a little funny, on close inspection you'll notice that the Germanic numbers look pretty familiar. Here are the first ten:

English : German : Dutch : Swedish
zero : null (nool): nul (nool) : noll (noll)
one : eins (ine-ss): een (ayn) : ett (ett)
two : zwei (ts-vie) : twee (tvay) : två (tvaw)
three : drei (dry) : drie (dree) : tre (tray)
four : vier (fear) : vier (fear) : fyra (foora)
five : fünf (foonf) : vijf (fayf) : fem (fem)
six : sechs (zex) : zes (zess) : sex (sex)
seven : sieben (zee-ben) : zeven (zayveh) : sju (shoe)
eight : acht (akht) : acht (akht) : åtta (awt-ta)
nine : neun (noyn) : negen (nay-kheh) : nio (nee-o)
ten : zehn (tsayn) : tien (teen) : tio (tee-o)

Very approximate pronunciations are in parentheses. To say these properly you should consult a native speaker or a decent cassette pack. I've given pronunciations that should be understandable but have deliberately avoided some finer distinctions that are evident to those who have learned these languages' phonetic systems and would only confuse things for those who haven't.

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