Are you considering visiting the beautiful country of Spain, which is undoubtedly one of the most visited countries in the world, in the near future and not confident about how you would be able to manage the language there? Or are you one of those curious multilingual and interested in learning another language?
If you think the answer to the above questions is yes, then this article will help you understand the language, and we will start with Spanish numbers so that if you happen to visit the country, you can atleast understand the time, directions, and currency.
Spain is located in Southwestern Europe and is famous for its scenic beauty, lush green nature, picturesque beaches and, above all, yummy food. It is often said that every corner of Spain is unique, and you will never get bored in the country. Beautiful beaches of the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean surround the country. Learning a new skill can be a daunting task for many; fortunately, learning numbers in Spanish is relatively easy as the number system follows a certain pattern and can be easily picked up even by an amateur, and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg in attending classes.
Why learn Spanish numbers?
There is no doubt that Spanish is one of the easiest languages in the world. Having a good idea of the number system in Spanish gives a good head start in understanding the language. There are several minor differences between the English number system and the Spanish number system. Once you learn how to count from 0 – 10, it is said that it becomes easy to learn how to count further. If you are visiting a new country, it adds to your overall experience if you try to live the way the locals do or, as it is said – “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”. Knowing the local language would give you that confidence which would ensure you avoid those awkward moments with the locals or the embarrassment it might cause not being able even to do basic things while you are in Spain. It can be debated, but numbers or numeros (Spanish for numbers) play a very important role in our day-to-day life; right from shopping to meeting someone or spending money or telling some time or guiding, we come across the concept of numbers, so many times knowingly or unknowingly.
How Does The Spanish Number System Work?
Let’s start with the easiest numbers in the Spanish number system. Like any other language, the first ten numbers are usually the simpler ones. We are sure you have heard these numbers a few times already; some have been used in many songs, while some sound like the English number system.
1 — uno
2 — dos
3 — tres
4 — cuatro
5 — cinco
6 — seis
7 — siete
8 — ocho
9 — nueve
10 — diez
Now that we have covered the easier one, let’s take it to the next level. If you observe the 11-20 series, you will realise that after 16, the numbers start a similar pattern; this will look scary in the beginning but trust us, it will soon seem like a piece of cake.
11 — once
12 — doce
13 — trece
14 — catorce
15 — quince
16 — dieciséis
17 — diecisiete
18 — dieciocho
19 — diecinueve
20 — veinte
Let’s decode the pattern now, Dieciséis (16) is nothing else but diez y seis (“ten and six”) put together. There is a slight twist to the way the word is written, the pattern for the same:
Z – > C: The first change is that diez is noted as diec, and the same can be seen in the following numbers (diecisiete, dieciocho). In Spanish, when the letter c comes in front of vowels like e and I, it has the identical sound as z, whereas every other time, it would sound like k. In this case, c comes in front of I which means this would sound like z in diez
Y – > I: The second change is like the previous one; in Spanish, the word for “and” is y, in case if you want to put two words together, then you add i so diez y seis (“ten and six”) becomes Dieciséis. It is very uncommon in Spanish for c and y to come together, so i is used instead.
E – > É: The last change is only seen in a few numbers. Spanish accents are the reason we have to implement the change, as people who speak Spanish have a different accent than English speakers. The rule of thumb is that if a word ends in vowel + s, then the last syllable is always said in an accent and, thus, a different way to represent the word. Dieciséis is a long word with the above-mentioned rule, so the rule is applied. The pattern is repeated in veintitrés (23) and veintiséis (26).
21 – veintiuno
22 – veintidós
23 – veintitrés
24 – veinticuatro
25 – veinticinco
26 – veintiséis
30 – treinta
31 – treinta y uno
32 – treinta y dos
33 – treinta y tres
40 – cuarenta
41 – cuarenta y uno
42 – cuarenta y dos
50 – cincuenta
60 – sesenta
70 – setenta
80 – ochenta
90 – noventa
Once you have mastered 100, then there is no looking back. Cien is used for hundred. If you want to say 163, it is said in the same manner as in the English system. Cien becomes ciento, so one hundred and sixty-three becomes ciento sesenta y tres. Some other values in Spanish becomes:
200 – 2 + 100 = doscientos
300 – 3 + 100 = trescientos
553 – five hundred and fifty-three = cinco cientos cincuenta y tres
How To Use the Spanish Number System?
The Spanish number system is just not limited to learning how to pronounce Spanish numbers but just like any other number system is quite vast and for someone trying to learn Spanish numbers diction it would come handy to know how to say date and day and read the Spanish calendar.
We will begin with how to say days in Spanish:
Monday — lunes
Tuesday — martes
Wednesday — miércoles
Thursday — jueves
Friday — viernes
Saturday — sábado
Sunday — domingo
Obviously, this would sound difficult in the beginning, but you would realise its not hard to pick up and once you start practising it you would feel confident in no time.
Once you have mastered days, the next step is to learn how to pronounce dates in Spanish. Now that we already know how to dictate numbers in Spanish we do not have to work on dates and year, the only thing we need to learn next is name of month in Spanish. Like the day of week, month of year also begin with lower case.
January — enero
February — febrero
March — marzo
April — abril
May — mayo
June — junio
July — julio
August — agosto
September — septiembre
October — octubre
November — noviembre
December — diciembre
I am sure by now your English-speaking mind has already picked up the similarity with your language pattern. Yes, the names of month in Spanish are quite like the English calendar. In Spanish language, you first say the day (día), then you say the month (mes) and at the end you say the year (año).
So, if you were to say the date is 01 November 2023, it would be written as uno de noviembre de dos mil veintitrés.
You can get more creative at this stage and add the day as well, Sunday 01 November 2023 would be written as domingo uno de noviembre de dos mil veintitrés.
Steps to Learn and Memorize Spanish Numbers
As mentioned above, learning Spanish number system is not hard at all, just like any other thing/skill you learn you need to remember the three golden rules:
- Break down the language/number into smaller pieces, this would not only make it easy for you to say things, but the other person would also understand it.
- To master the new skill, try to use different topics, this way you are programming your mind to be able to comprehend multiple things at the same time.
- Take notes – just like when you are studying in a classroom you take notes of all important things so that you do not forget them, similarly, do the same in this case.
Tips for Learning The Spanish Numbers Fast
Even though Spanish number accent and names are quite easy to pick up for someone who understand the English language and its number system, but you still need to put in genuine efforts as you are trying to learn a new language which would not come without putting in your hard work. You need to remember there is not shortcut in remembering the names. It would be good if you could leave your laptop aside and try to learn it the old-school way; the more you practice, the easier it would sound and feel.
Patience is the key factor here, remember when you were trying to learn your mother tongue it didn’t happen overnight, and it did take some time so if you were determined then there should be no reason to lose patience now.
Q: How long does it take to learn the Spanish Numbers?
Ans: Learning Spanish numbers doesn’t take a lot of time but if you want to learn it in detail and master the skill then it can take 1-2 months.
Q: Does the Spanish number system use decimals?
Ans: No, the majority of European number systems use (,) comma instead of decimals. So 1.25 would be written as 1,25.
Q: How does geography in Spain impact the Spanish number system? Ans: The Spanish number system doesn’t change as you travel to different places within Spain, however there can be slight change in the accent which might sound different.