top of page
Search
• Bilingualbees

# Are native Chinese-speaking children better at math?

Numbers are surprisingly easy to learn in Chinese because they are simply logical. Once you have learnt how to count from 1 to 10 in Chinese, you can count all the way up to 99. Whereas if you were to learn to count in English, you would have to learn unique words for numbers beyond ten, such as “eleven” “twelve” and “twenty,” to name a few. To illustrate, when you have mastered numbers 1 to 10 in Chinese, moving on to double digit numbers would simply be putting two digits together. For example, 10 in Chinese is “十” and 1 is “一” and eleven would be “十一”. This is also very similar to the Roman numbering system, with X being 10 and 11 would be XI. In English, firstly when you move on double digit numbers beyond 10, the wordings for the subsequent numbers not only take a completely different form but they bear no connection or resemblance to the numbers 1 to 10 e.g. eleven, twelve, thirteen and so forth. So conceptually we begin to see that numbers in the Chinese language are structured in a way that supports efficient calculations. Let me explain. If you were to ask a child in English, to add say thirteen and twenty, the child will have to first know that the numbers translate to 13 and 20 before being able to add them. Retrospectively, in Chinese, these numbers are already verbally translated to "十三" (ten three i.e. 13) and "二十” (two ten i.e. 20) as such one is able to proceed to do the sum immediately. As you can see learning numbers in Chinese is surprisingly easy because it's logical. I believe that it is these simple building blocks that help set the foundation for a student to be able to grasp mathematical concepts more quickly. Related items available in our store that are useful to learning numbers in Chinese: