How to pronounce the Chinese numbers 1-10 like a native speaker: detailed guide

Have you been struggling with pronouncing Chinese numbers, such as 6 (liù)? In this article we discuss how to pronounce the Chinese numbers 1-10.

Chinese numbers 1-10 grouped by tone

Chinese is a tone language. If you want to be understood in Chinese, you need to use the right tone. Therefore, we will focus on the tones of the numbers between 1 and 10. We will group the Chinese numbers 1-10 by their tone mark (first, second, third, and fourth tone), and discuss each of these groups. We will start with numbers that have the first tone.

First tone

Actually, most Chinese numbers have the first tone: 1, 3, 7, and 8 are yī, sān, qī, and bā. The first tone is high-pitched and steady. It is a bit of a singing tone!

NumberCharactersPinyin
1
3sān
7
8
Chinese numbers with the first tone

Use the audio clips below to listen to these numbers. Notice that they are all given a high, flat pitch.

How to pronounce 1 in Chinese:
How to pronounce 3 in Chinese: sān
How to pronounce 7 in Chinese:
How to pronounce 8 in Chinese:
Want to find out the tone of a Chinese word? With our Chinese dictionary for Windows you can look up Chinese words, check out their pinyin tone marks, and listen to their pronunciation.

Second tone

Among the Chinese numbers 1-10, there is only one number with the second tone: 10 (shí). The second tone is a rising tone.

Okay, as a bonus, let us discuss one other Chinese number. The number zero has the second tone as well: líng.

NumberCharactersPinyin
0〇 / 零líng
10shí
Chinese numbers with the second tone

Use the audio clips below to find out how to pronounce 0 and 10:

How to pronounce 0 in Chinese: líng
How to pronounce 10 in Chinese: shí

Third tone

There are two numbers with the third tone: 5 () and 9 (jiǔ). The third tone first falls, and then rises.

NumberCharactersPinyin
5
9jiǔ
Chinese numbers with the third tone

Here are the audio clips for 5 and 9:

How to pronounce 5 in Chinese:
How to pronounce 9 in Chinese: jiǔ

Fourth tone

The numbers with the fourth tone are 2, 4, and 6: èr, , liù. Remember, the fourth tone is a short, falling tone, as is heard in commands in English (for example, “Stop!”). You can make them sound a little commanding: èr, , liù!

NumberCharactersPinyin
2èr
4
6liù
Chinese numbers with the fourth tone

Again, you can use the audio clips to practice your pronunciation:

How to pronounce 2 in Chinese: èr
How to pronounce 4 in Chinese:
How to pronounce 6 in Chinese: liù

All Chinese numbers from 1 to 10, with pronunciation

Let’s end with an overview of all the numbers between 1 and 10 in Chinese:

NumberCharactersPinyin
1
2èr
3sān
4
5
6liù
7
8
9jiǔ
10shí
How to pronounce the Chinese numbers 1-10: overview

Here are the audio clips for all Chinese numbers between 1 and 10:

How to pronounce 1 in Chinese:
How to pronounce 2 in Chinese: èr
How to pronounce 3 in Chinese: sān
How to pronounce 4 in Chinese:
How to pronounce 5 in Chinese:
How to pronounce 6 in Chinese: liù
How to pronounce 7 in Chinese:
How to pronounce 8 in Chinese:
How to pronounce 9 in Chinese: jiǔ
How to pronounce 10 in Chinese: shí

Last updated: January 21, 2022