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Counting from 1 to 10 in different languages: A helpful guide for globetrotters and polyglots

Article by GVI


Posted: December 12, 2022

If you’re a globetrotter, a polyglot, or just curious about the world and its people, learning to count in different languages is an essential skill to have in your linguistic toolbox. Not only does it give you a better understanding of the culture and customs of the countries where these languages are spoken, but it also comes in handy when travelling or doing business in those places. 

What’s in a word? Language literacy and cognitive development

Learning different languages has many benefits for the brain, including improved cognitive function and enhanced problem-solving abilities. Studies have shown that bilingual individuals have more developed executive function, which is the cognitive process responsible for decision-making and problem-solving. This means that bilingual individuals are better able to switch between tasks and focus their attention on the task at hand.

In addition to improved cognitive function, learning different languages also has other benefits for the brain. For example, it can delay the onset of age-related cognitive decline and protect against conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. This is because learning a new language stimulates the brain and keeps it active, which can help to prevent the loss of cognitive function as we age.

Another benefit of learning different languages is that it can improve your memory. When you learn a new language, you have to remember vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation rules, which can help to improve your overall memory. In addition, being exposed to different languages and cultures can also help to improve your memory by providing a broader range of experiences and information for your brain to process.

Counting in a new language: a simple and effective starting point

Counting is often the first thing that we learn when we start learning a new language. This is because it is a simple and straightforward way to familiarise ourselves with the basic concepts of the language, such as numbers and pronunciation. By learning to count in a new language, we are laying the foundation for further language learning and building the necessary skills to eventually have more complex conversations in that language.

Plus, counting is a universal concept that is applicable in many different contexts, so it can be a practical skill to have in a variety of situations.

Travel tip: learn to count from 1 to 10 in Spanish and French

Spanish and French are two of the most widely spoken languages in the world. They’re also two languages that are spoken across a number of locations in which GVI is based, like Tenerife in the Canary Islands (Spanish), and the island of Madagascar (French).


Learn how to speak Spanish in Tenerife (left) or French in Nosy Be (right) 


Count from 1 to 10 in Spanish

In Spanish, the numbers from 1 to 10 are as follows:













As you can see, the numbers in Spanish are relatively easy to learn and pronounce. The numbers 1 through 4 follow a similar pattern, with the ending “-o” being added to the corresponding cardinal numbers (un, dos, tres, cuatro). The numbers 5 through 9 also follow a similar pattern, with the ending “-e” being added to the corresponding cardinal numbers (cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve). The number 10 simply adds the ending “-e” to the cardinal number diez (dé).

Develop your Spanish speaking skills with GVI in Tenerife

If you’re looking to volunteer in Tenerife, Spain, then consider joining one of our range of volunteer and internship opportunities in Tenerife, including cetacean conservation. You’ll have the chance to contribute directly to dolphin and whale data monitoring, while also gaining valuable experience and skills that will benefit you in your future career. You’ll also have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the beautiful island of Tenerife and its rich culture. GVI provides comprehensive support and training to all of its volunteers, so you can feel confident and prepared for your time in Tenerife. 

Counting in French

In French, the numbers from 1 to 10 are as follows:













The numbers in French are also relatively easy to learn and pronounce. The numbers 1 through 4 follow a similar pattern, with the ending “-e” being added to the corresponding cardinal numbers (un, deux, trois, quatre). The numbers 5 through 9 also follow a similar pattern, with the ending “-e” being added to the corresponding cardinal numbers (cinq, six, sept, huit, neuf). The number 10 simply adds the ending “-e” to the cardinal number dix.

Speaking French around the world: Madagascar

Malagasy people, the native inhabitants of Madagascar, came to speak French through a complex history of French colonisation of Madagascar and neo-colonialist education.

Madagascar was a French colony from 1896 until 1960, when it gained its independence. During this time, French was introduced as the official language of the colony and was taught in schools. This helped to spread the use of French among the Malagasy people, and many came to speak it as a second language.

After independence, the use of French continued to be promoted through the education system. Students were required to learn French in order to attend higher education institutions, and French was the language of instruction in many schools. This led to a significant portion of the population becoming fluent in French.

Today, French is still widely spoken in Madagascar. It is used in government, business and education, and international communication. 

Support English language teaching in Madagascar

Madagascar is one of Earth’s most vulnerable and rare habitats. Both its ecosystem and people are increasingly and alarmingly impacted by the climate crisis. GVI works with local partner organisations on the island of Nosy Be, Madagascar to teach English and contribute towards wildlife – particularly lemur – conservation. Joining a program here includes teaching English to children and adults in the community – which, in turn, equips these students with a skill that is vital for making more connections in their careers. 

Knowing how to count from 1 to 10 in different languages may seem basic. But if you’re experiencing Madagascar for the first time, your knowledge of French or Malagasy numbers will come in handy when communicating with locals, understanding train schedules and shopping at stores.

Learning to count in different languages is a valuable skill that can enhance your understanding of culture and customs, as well as improve your communication skills. You open up a world of possibilities by simply returning to the basics.

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