By optilingo
One of the basics to cover when learning a foreign language is understanding how numbers are represented in that language. In the German language, numbers are pretty straightforward – especially if you already speak English. Like many languages around the world, German cardinal numbers use the Arabic number system, just like English. So the number “1” is written exactly the same in German as it is in English, as are all the other numbers.
So why did I use that fancy word, “German cardinal number” before? Well that’s because in every language, cardinal numbers and ordinal numbers are totally different, and this represents a challenge for every students, at least at the beginning. But do not worry, challenges in learning German [Top 10 Most Common Mistakes When Learning German]are there to be overcome, and with practice, everybody can master German numbers.
So, let’s begin by learning what exactly means to talk about an ordinal number or about a cardinal number. German cardinal numbers are regular mathematical numbers like 1, 2, 5, 50, 500, 1,047 and so on. German cardinal numbers count specific items and are used in mathematics.
Cardinal numbers in German are easy to learn, especially if you use the following table:
0 
null 
10 
zehn 
20 
zwanzig 
200 
zweihundert 
1 
eins 
11 
elf 
30 
dreißig 
266 
zweihundertsechsundsechzig 
2 
zwei 
12 
zwölf 
40 
vierzig 
1000 
tausend 
3 
drei 
13 
dreizehn 
50 
fünfzig 
1008 
tausendacht 
4 
vier 
14 
vierzehn 
60 
sechzig 
200000 
zweihunderttausend 
5 
fünf 
15 
fünfzehn 
70 
siebzig 
1000000 
eine Million 
6 
sechs 
16 
sechzehn 
80 
achtzig 
2000000 
zwei Millionen 
7 
sieben 
17 
siebzehn 
90 
neunzig 
1 billion 
eine Milliarde 
8 
acht 
18 
achtzehn 
100 
hundert 
1 trillion 
eine Billion 
9 
neun 
19 
neunzehn 
101 
hunderteins 


As you can observe, the big challenge is learning the first nineteen numbers as they are totally different from one another. But once you get to twenty (zwanzig), you only have to add the word “und” (and) and one of the first nine numbers (19) to the the numbers representing the tens. Let’s see some examples:
32: zweiunddreißig
44: vierundvierzig
68: achtundsechzig
99: neunundneunzig
So can do that until you get to onehundred (hundert). Then you simply add the following numbers as with the numbers representing the tens.
108: hundertacht
134: hundertvierunddreißig
182: hundertzweiundachtzig
196: hundertsechsundneunzig
German ordinal numbers, on the other hand, are not used to count, but to show order. Ordinal numbers also exist in English, and as in any other language, they are used to describe a list of things. Examples of ordinal numbers in English are “first” and “second” and “fifth” and so on.
Here’s a short list of ordinal numbers in the German language:
First: erster
Second: zweiter
Third: dritter
Fourth: vierter
Fifth: fünfter
Sixth: sechster
Seventh: siebter
Eigth: achter
Ninth: neunter
Tenth: zehnter
Twentieth: zwanzigster
Thirtieth: dreißigster
Fortieth: vierzigster
Fiftieth: fünfzigster
Sixtieth: sechzigster
Seventieth: siebzigster
Eightieth: achtzigster
Ninetieth: neunzigster
Hundredth: hunderster
To form other cardinal numbers, you simple add the first nine ordinal numbers to the units of ten.
11^{th}: elfter
24^{th}: vierundzwanzigster
45^{th: }fünfundvierzigster
99^{th: }neunundneunzigster
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