Is it better to say 4,000 yì or 400 billion? | Speaking of China

5 Responses

  1. Núria
    Núria September 16, 2013 at 4:22 am | | Reply

    Similar thing happens in Japanese, I’ll never be fluent because of the number issue. It’s funny this small difference, such a basic thing for us such as “change the unit every three 0’s”. Many calendars have been kind of forgotten in favour of the Gregorian one, but saying numbers is too basic in language, so a single system can’t replace the others nowadays .

  2. ordinary malaysian
    ordinary malaysian September 16, 2013 at 6:37 am | | Reply

    I prefer 400 billion, although 4000 亿 yi is the same.

    4000 is to much to think of, countless though the stars are. But stars are stars, whether they are 400 billion or 4000 yi.

    Switching from counting in Chinese and counting in English sometimes gives me trouble too. But I prefer 一 万 yi wan (one wan) to 10 thousand, though they mean the same.

    Ah, language and cultural differences – and life!

    And the stars, of course.

  3. Nicki Chen
    Nicki Chen September 16, 2013 at 4:31 pm | | Reply

    I don’t look at the stars very often these days. I enjoy the moon and a scattering of stars, but there are too many lights in the city. A couple of years ago on a clear night, some friends and I sat out on a deck and stared at the stars. At first I thought I was seeing an unusual number of falling stars. Then I realized they weren’t falling; they were moving. What I was seeing was satellites.

    The best star gazing I’ve ever done was in Vanuatu in the South Pacific. It was unbelievable!!! A sky bright with stars. I could easily believe 400 billion… or 4000 yi.

  4. Lina
    Lina September 16, 2013 at 8:50 pm | | Reply

    Keep your head up, on thursday you will see the brightest and roundest moon 🙂 hope your place is not too light-polluted 🙂

  5. Sveta
    Sveta September 19, 2013 at 7:36 pm | | Reply

    I guess its the Westerner in me, but I prefer to say 400 billion 😀 Where I live now, its raining.

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