Every language in the world has its own quirks and interesting ways of expressing itself. Read more about how numbers are expressed in different languages around the world. We don't all write numbers the same way ...

Roman numerals In the western world, before Hindu-Arabic numerals appeared, Roman numerals were used. This system was very cumbersome as it had no value for zero. I is 1, V is 5, X is 10, L is 50, C is 100, D is 500, M is 1000. Sometimes IV is written as IIII, and IX as VIIII. To see how cumbersome this system is, compare the numbers 76 to LXXVI, or 4969 to MMMMCMLXIX. Hindu-Arabic numerals Written numerals that are so familiar to us are known as Arabic numerals or Hindu-Arabic numerals. They were invented by two Indian mathematicians in the 5th century. This system includes a value for zero which revolutionised mathematics. Devanagari numerals These Devanagari numerals are used in Hindi, Marathi, Nepali and Sanskrit. Eastern Arabic numerals The numbers you can see above are numerals written in Arabic. They are written from left to right, although Arabic letters are written from right to left. The dot is the zero. The circle is five. Perso-Arabic numerals This form of Arabic numerals is used in Persian and a variant in Urdu. Chinese and Japanese numerals These characters are used both in Chinese and Japanese. Shown are 0 to 10. To avoid fraud, more complicated characters known as financial numerals are used on cheques and banknotes. Here are the Chinese financial numerals in Simplified characters: 零壹贰叁肆伍陆柒捌玖拾 and in Traditional characters: 零壹貳參肆伍陸柒捌玖拾 and here are the Japanese financial characters in current use: 壱弐参四五六七八九拾 Bengali-Assamese numerals Gurmukhi numerals Gujarati numerals Oriya numerals Tamil numerals Malayalam numerals Kannada numerals Telugu numerals Tibetan numerals Mongolian numerals Thai numerals Lao numerals Khmer numerals Burmese numerals |