Korean numerals

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Korean grammar
 
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Korean grammar

The Korean language has two regularly used sets of numerals, a native Korean system and Sino-Korean system.

Construction[edit]

For both native and Sino- Korean numerals, the teens (11 through 19) are represented by a combination of tens and the ones places. For instance, 15 would be sib-o (십오), but not usually il-sib-o in the Sino-Korean system, and yeol-daseot (열다섯) in native Korean. Twenty through ninety are likewise represented in this place-holding manner in the Sino-Korean system, while Native Korean has its own unique set of words, as can be seen in the chart below. The grouping of large numbers in Korean follow the Chinese tradition of myriads (10000) rather than thousands (1000). The Sino-Korean system is nearly entirely based on the Chinese numerals.

The distinction between the two numeral systems is very important. Everything that can be counted will use one of the two systems, but seldom both. Sino-Korean words are sometimes used to mark ordinal usage: yeol beon (열 번) means "ten times" while sip beon (십(十) 번(番)) means "number ten."

When denoting the age of a person, one will usually use sal (살) for the native Korean numerals, and se (세) for Sino-Korean. For example, seu-mul da-seot sal (스물다섯 살) and i-sib-o se (이십오 세) both mean 'twenty-five-year-old'. See also East Asian age reckoning.

The Sino-Korean numerals are used to denote the minute of time. For example, sam-sib-o bun (삼십오 분) means "__:35" or "thirty-five minutes." The native Korean numerals are used for the hours in the 12-hour system and for the hours 0:00 to 12:00 in the 24-hour system. The hours 13:00 to 24:00 in the 24-hour system are denoted using both the native Korean numerals and the Sino-Korean numerals. For example, se si (세 시) means '03:00' or '3:00 a.m./p.m.' and sip-chil si (십칠 시) or yeol-ilgop si (열일곱 시) means '17:00'.

For counting above 100, Sino-Korean words are used, sometimes in combination: 101 can be baek-hana or baeg-il.

Some of the native numbers take a different form in front of measure words:

NumberNative Korean cardinalsAttributive forms of native Korean cardinals
HangulMcCune-ReischauerRevisedHangulMcCune-ReischauerRevised
1하나hanahanahanhan
2tuldultudu
3setsetsese
4netnetnene
20스물sŭmulseumul스무sŭmuseumu

The descriptive forms for 1, 2, 3, 4, and 20 are formed by "dropping the last letter" from the original native cardinal, so to speak. Examples:

Something similar also occurs in some Sino-Korean cardinals:

The cardinals for three and four have alternative forms in front of some measure words:

Numerals (Cardinal)[edit]

NumberSino-Korean cardinalsNative Korean cardinals
HanjaHangulLatinHangulLatin
0零/〇영 (N: 령), 공yeong (N: ryeong), gong--
1il하나hana
2idul
3samset
4sanet
5o다섯daseot
6육 (N: 륙)yuk (N: ryuk)여섯yeoseot
7chil일곱ilgop
8pal여덟yeodeol
9gu아홉ahop
10sipyeol
11十一십일sibil열하나yeolhana
12十二십이sibi열둘yeoldul
13十三십삼sipsam열셋yeolset
14十四십사sipsa열넷yeolnet
15十五십오sibo열다섯yeoldaseot
16十六십육 (N: 십륙)simnyuk[note 1]열여섯yeollyeoseot
17十七십칠sipchil열일곱yeorilgop
18十八십팔sippal열여덟yeollyeodeol
19十九십구sipgu열아홉yeorahop
20二十이십isip스물seumul
30三十삼십samsip서른seoreun
40四十사십sasip마흔maheun
50五十오십osipswin
60六十육십 (N: 륙십)yuksip (N: ryuksip)예순yesun
70七十칠십chilsip일흔ilheun
80八十팔십palsip여든yeodeun
90九十구십gusip아흔aheun
100baek[note 2]on
1,000cheon즈믄[note 2]jeumeun
104man드먼 / 골[note 2]deumeon /
gol
108eok[note 2]jal
1012jo[note 2]ul
1016gyeong--
1020hae--
1024[note 3]ja--
1028[note 3]yang--
1032[note 3]gu--
1036[note 3]gan--
1040[note 3]jeong--
1044[note 3]jae--
1048[note 3]geuk--
1052 or 1056恒河沙항하사[note 4]hanghasa--
1056 or 1064阿僧祇아승기[note 4]aseunggi--
1060 or 1072那由他나유타[note 4]nayuta--
1064 or 1080不可思議불가사의[note 4]bulgasaui--
1068 or 1088無量大數무량대수[note 4]muryangdaesu--

Pronunciation[edit]

The initial consonants of measure words and numbers following the native cardinals 여덟 ("eight", only when the ㅂ is not pronounced) and 열 ("ten") become tensed consonants when possible. Thus for example:

Several numerals have long vowels, namely 둘 (two), 셋 (three) and 넷 (four), but these become short when combined with other numerals / nouns (such as in twelve, thirteen, fourteen and so on).

The usual liaison and consonant-tensing rules apply, so for example, 예순 여섯(sixty-six) is pronounced like [예순녀섣] (yesunnyeoseot) and 칠십 chilsip (seventy) is pronounced like [칠씹] chilssip.

Constant Suffixes used in Sino-Korean ordinal numerals[edit]

번(番),호(號),차(次), and 회(回)are always used with Sino-Korean or Arabic ordinal numerals. For example, 이호선(二號線) is Line Number Two in metropolitan subway system. 37번국도(37番國道) is Highway Number 37. They cannot be used interchangeably. 906호(號) is 'Apt #906' in mailing address. 906 without 호 is not used in spoken Korean to imply apartment number or office suite #. Special prefix 제(第) is usually used in combination with suffixes to designate a specific event in sequential things such as the Olympics.

Substitution for disambiguation[edit]

In commerce or financial sector, some hanja for each Sino-Korean numbers are replaced by alternative ones to prevent ambiguity or retouching.

EnglishHangulRegular HanjaFinancial Hanja
one
two
three
four
five
six육 (N: 륙)
seven
eight
nine
ten
hundred
thousand

For verbally communicating number sequences such as phone numbers, ID numbers, etc., especially over the phone, native Korean numbers for 1 and 2 are sometimes substituted for the Sino-Korean numbers. For example, o-o-o hana-dul-hana-dul (오오오 하나둘하나둘) instead of o-o-o il-i-il-i (오오오 일이일이) for '555-1212,' or sa-o-i-hana (사-오-이-하나) instead of sa-o-i-il (사-오-이-일) for '4521,' because of the potential confusion between the two similar-sounding Sino-Korean numbers.

For the same reason, military transmissions are known to use mixed native Korean and Sino-Korean numerals: 하나 둘 여섯 칠 팔 아홉 .

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

See also[edit]