Now on to learning some French numbers. French is considered a Romance language because it has its language origins in the Latin language. Other Romance languages include Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian. As a result, many of the French numbers look like or very similar to their Latin counterparts, such as “sept” (September was the 7th month in the Roman calendar) and “trois.”
The French numbers 1-12 go like this (click on each word to hear the number spoken):
1) Don’t be fooled by the number “six.” It might look like six, but it’s anything but! It sounds more like “seas” or even the word “cease,” meaning to stop.
2) Here’s something to help you remember some of the numbers. There’s a very sad story involving the numbers 4 through 6. You might have noticed that the number 4 sounds like the English word “cat,” that number 5 sounds like “sank” and that number 6 sounds like “seas.” Here’s a phrase that includes those numbers:
The cat sank into the seas. (cat = quatre ) (sank = cinq ) (seas = six )
You can easily practice numbers in your daily life. Think of all the times we encounter numbers in our daily life: prices, cooking, counting items….. In fact, the next time you’re counting something at home, practice counting those items in French. The more you practice with these numbers, the more naturally it will come to you! You can also practice counting on your fingers and if you have children, you can have them practice counting in French on their fingers as well!
When you have learned these numbers, here’s a fun game you can play online to practice your numbers.
Got the numbers 1 through 12? Now here’s 13-20! Click on each number to hear them spoken:
1) Notice the numbers 17 – 19? Seventeen literally means “ten-seven,” eighteen means “ten-eight,” and nineteen means “ten-nine.” This is a common thing in Romance languages with the numbers higher than fifteen. For instance, in Spanish, sixteen (diesiseis) means “ten-six,” seventeen (diesisiete) means “ten-seven.” The same goes for Italian.
When you have practiced these numbers 13-20, here’s an online game for practicing your French numerical knowledge!
Click Numbers to download a PDF document that you can print at home and use to practice your numbers as well.