Phone Number Rhythm

File this one under weird observations, but I think it may be a useful little bit when language learning. That is, when giving someone their phone number, do you have proper phone number rhythm?

You know, if you do it wrong, it’s sometimes really difficult to figure out exactly what the number is—especially in a foreign language.

Case in point: At the post office today, I had to suddenly give my phone number over the phone to get a package, which was being held at another post office location. I awkwardly gave her my number and afterward she asked, “It seems like I have an extra number—[repeats the number] oh wait no it’s okay.” This made me think about the proper “rhythm” for a number and just how to do it!

So, here’s my tip (for Taiwan numbers anyway):

Example:

# 0922222222

Proper rhythm:

0922-222-222

My screw up:

09-222-22-222
(too many breaks in the number lead to her getting confused on what the number really was)

I know this seems silly, but it’s just one of those random things that never occurred to me in a language before. The more I listened and had my friends give me examples today, the more I realized that there’s an actual way to properly give out your number.

Who knew?

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2 thoughts on “Phone Number Rhythm

  1. I came across this *exact* same problem, my phone number has 3355 in the middle of it, so for a while I was saying my number as:

    xxx-3355-xxx

    I’m not joking when I say this, but every single time I would say the number like this they would get it wrong. I couldn’t believe it, I’m saying the bloody numbers what’s the problem? I though.

    I switched to saying:

    xxx3-355-xxx

    and now I don’t have any problems whatsoever. My original thought was that it has that 3355 in the middle, I should break it out, like in English we might say ‘xxx double three, double five xxx’, but as far as I know there’s no such way to say it like that in Chinese.

  2. hehe, same thing happened to me when I moved back to France, same number of phone digits as in the states but different setup: XX-XX-XX-XX-XX for France and XXX-XXX-XXXX for the states. Then, my friend corrected me wit the “French way” to say phone numbers, haha.

    That’s when it’s helpful to be in an immersive environment to learn a language, you can notice little silly things like that.

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