The difference between 'Zahlen' and 'Nummer' : http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1206849#top
Just saw this earlier in some other discussion, just in case anyone needs it :)
The best explanation in that thread: " Nummern designate something specific, such as a phone number, or indicate the order of something, such as house numbers or room numbers. In contrast to Zahlen, you cannot apply arithmetic operators to Nummern. You may, for instance, add two telephone numbers (Telefonnummern) as if they were Zahlen, but the result is completely meaningless."
I'd rather say that "die Zahlen" is the matematical term for numbers, while "die Nummern" is for the "every day" usage. Also, as a rule of thumb, you can tell that generally "eine Nummer" is not just a number, it usually has a meaning whereas "die Zahl" just quantifies something.
English only kept it as ‘algorithm’ (which Portuguese has too, in the form of ‘algoritmo’). The doublet ‘algarismo’ seems to be an all-Portuguese innovation, many other European languages preferred using words derived from ‘ṣifr’, while English decided on a noun going back to the Latin for ‘finger’ (namely ‘digit’, from Latin ‘digitus’, whence also Portuguese ‘dedo’). In fact, ‘digit’ is also the noun you use to indicate fingers and toes indiscriminately.
Wait people, I'll make it easy for y'all. Nummer = Number. Zahl = digit.
In fact, "zahl" in french is translated to "chiffre", and "chiffre" as well as zahl or even another german word for zahl which is "Ziffer" all that comes from the arabic word for: "Zero" said "Sifr"... Early arab mathematics and algebra was very developped and they discovred that new number and replaced the roman system (ex: I II III IV V VI etc.) ... Even the word "algebra" is arabic. Not the arabic word for "the" which is "al" But I digress. Anyway ;)
So is alcohol. Between alcohol and algebra, I blame the old Arabic language for all these modern problems. : P That is true in French, (le) chiffre is the word for a figure or sum, or as I like to translate it, an "amount". Phone numbers, for instance (in French, [le] «numèro [de téléphone]») are not amounts. They have a meaning and a significance, but not mathematically. If you can differentiate that Zahl/chiffre is an amount, and Nummer/numèro not necessarily so, it may help.
Digit is one small part of a quantity. 1 is a digit whereas 11 is a quantity (a number made up of 2 digits).
From what I understand thanks to other discussions, "Nummer" is used for something with numbers, like a telephone number, a house number on a street or a username that has numbers in it. But "Zahlen" is used where there is a specific quantity - like in maths or statistics. "47 cars" or "23 plus 34" etc.
It's still an "odd Duosim," but here's a somewhat-real situation that I can think of: As a person taking Calculus, the majority of the characters involved are Latin (and sometimes even Greek!) letters, so that's what I'm used to seeing when doing math. If, however, I were to take a test on basic arithmetic, I could all of a sudden yell out in joy, "I see numbers! Finally! My long wait is over!"
From the provided link at the top of this discussion, I think the contribution from Bahiano as the most helpful ...
- Zahl is a mathematic value wich you can perform mathematic operations (calculations) with. A Zahl always consists of digits (0-9). Exception: We say Postleitzahl (zip code) and Lottozahlen (lottery numbers) although there's no mathematical operation possible, but they still consist of digits.
- Nummer is a designation, a label for something. You can compare it with Name. A Name usually consists of letters (A-Z, a-z), while a Nummer can consist of both digits and letters Examples: Hausnummer 38b, Seriennummer CGZ564-008, Telefonnummer 0049-711-890..., etc.
I feel like this. I could be wrong. But if the number would make sence if you added a half to it it would be zahlen. If not it would be nummer. So. A phone number wouldn't make sense as 555-555-5555.5 and an address as 456.8w wouldn't make sense, so it would be nummer. And 3.6 cookies makes sense so it would be Zahlen
Zahl is a noun, meaning "mathematical number". The plural is Zahlen. All nouns are capitalised in German.
zahlen is a verb, meaning "to pay (an amount)". Verbs are only capitalised at the beginning of a sentence, and the ending changes according to the subject (verbs are conjugated).
zählen is a verb, meaning "to count". Note the umlaut (dots above the letter ā). This is a different letter in German, so if you leave the dots away you are changing the spelling into a different word.
You should usually be able to tell whether zahlen/Zahlen is being used as a verb or noun by considering the sentence as a whole, and the context, even when spoken (when you can't see the capital letter).
“(die) Zahl” is the singular form of the word, but “ich sehe Zahl” without any article is ungrammatical (the same way that “I see number” is). “Ich sehe eine Zahl” would be ok, but it would mean “I see a number”.
“Zahle” isn't a noun in German. It can be a conjugated form of the verb “zahlen” (“to pay”), for example: “ich zahle”, “I pay”.
“Zahlen” is the plural form of the word, this is why “ich sehe Zahlen” is the correct translation for “I see numbers”.
I have just completed a test out at level 5 numbers. It was insultingly easy and agonizingly repetitive. It tested my knowledge of two three and four and the plurals of man, boy, girl, woman, egg, the word for numbers and that is all!! There was definitely more content than that in 20 lessons! Not impressed.
I'm so confused i typed number in Google and got all this:
die Anzahl: number
die Zahl: number, figure, numeral, cipher, cypher
die Nummer: number, item
die Reihe: series, row, number, range, set, line
die Ziffer: numeral, digit, number, cipher, figure, cypher
die Ausgabe: output, edition, issue, expenditure, spending, number
das Heft: issue, notebook, booklet, book, handle, magazine
der Numerus: number
die Seitenzahl: number, number of pages, page number
die Autonummer: number
die Kreation: creation, number
nummerieren: number, paginate
zählen: count, number, score, reckon
beziffern: estimate, figure, number
Apparently "Zahlen means [0-9] and Nummer means [0-infinity] but why?
Is there a way to distinguish between an abstract number and its representation in some notation system?For example, "three" is the first odd prime number (this is a mathematical abstraction), whereas "3", "3.0", "11(base2)" are all notations for that abstract concept. So if "Ich sehe Zahlen", am I having a mathematical vision, am I surrounded by loads of accounting files, or could either one be what's happening?
Technically "Die Nummern" is a correct translation for "The numbers".
But in German everyday use you'll hardly find anyone who uses "Nummern" instead of "Zahlen" in this sentence. Duolingo tries to convey the contemporary everyday use of words and sentences in the German language.
To say "Ich sehe Zahl" in german is like saying "I see number" in english. - wrong.
In this example it's about the plural. "eine/die Zahl" = "a/the number" is singular and "(die) Zahlen" = "(the) numbers" is the plural.
If you want to express that you see ONE (more or less specific) number you'd say
"I see a/the number" in english and "Ich sehe eine/die Zahl" in german.
I am a little confused over the significance of the umlaut and how they affect the meaning of the words. May I clarify the difference between Zahlen, zahlen and zählen?
Is it the case that zählen is used as a verb to meant count (e.g. "wir zählen") while the capitalised Zahlen refers to numbers as an entity (such as how it is used in this example)? And zahlen without the umlaut in the lower case would refer to "pay"?
Thanks for your time!