Once upon a time, Stanislas Dehaene - French neurologist and mathematician, best known for his work on numeral cognition – conducted a study. Participants were supposed to memorize a sequence of 7 numbers, let’s say, 8,2,4,6,7,5,1 within 20 seconds. While English speakers struggled, Chinese participants pretty much nailed it. That’s because Chinese words sound shorter. Our brain is programmed to store numbers in a repetitive loop that lasts for only a short period of time. Chinese speakers are able to fit those 7 numbers into that span of time, while English speakers cannot. According to Dehaene’s book ‘The Number sense’ : “At the age of 4 years old, a child living in the United States who speaks English on average has the ability to count to 15. The same age child living in China has the ability to count to 40, based purely on their efficiency of memorization’.
This is probably the best explanation why China does it better in the kingdom of numbers and the reason behind expressing whole sentences with them (including declaring the feelings!)
Let’s count, then – shall we?!