Do you want to count in Korean numbers but don’t know where to start? Do the number of words in the Korean language confuse you? Well, don’t worry. In this blog, we got you covered on the Korean numbers and counting system. Anneyeong Chingus (Hi friends)! Eunnie (slang for sister) is back with yet another issue to solve for you guys.
I know the Korean numbers are just playing with your mind, and you don’t seem to get the hang of them. In this blog, I will make the entire explanation super easy for you, and by the end of the lesson, you will be a pro in Korean numbers, so let the learning begin!
Korean numbers are a bit tricky to learn. However, we are here to solve that issue for you. We will teach you to use both native Korean numbers and Sino-Korean numbers easily.
These are the two Korean number systems used in the country that you must learn. It is often what makes learning Korean numbers more challenging for students.
Both of these number systems are equally important to learn, which is why we will discuss them further in the section below.
How To Count In Korean?
Counting in Korean has two main number systems, which is why it seems intimidating to most people but what they do not realize that it is easy to learn all these numbers if one knows the root words.
The use of native Korean numbers and Sino-Korean numbers depends upon the situation. In this blog, we will give you a brief handbook of when to use what number system so that you do not end up using the wrong number system for a certain situation. Using the wrong number system does not necessarily cause any harm or issues to the learners, but it does not leave a nice impression. We will provide you with a lesson about Korean numbers in Hangul and Romanized English. So, if you haven’t learned the Korean alphabet, then you can rely on Romanized English.
However, we suggest learning the Korean alphabet (Hangul) before you start learning vocabulary.
Why? Because each Korean letter has a specific sound that is not present in English, it is essential to learn the Korean alphabet to have an accurate Korean pronunciation and the ability to read Korean. Check our blog to learn the easiest way of learning Hangul!
Romanized Hangul refers to the writing system of hangul characters/words using the English alphabet.
What Are The Two Korean Number Systems?
There are two systems in the Korean language. Whether counting, collecting money or using numbers, Koreans use these systems in their daily lives. So, it is necessary to learn both systems if you plan a trip to Korea to avoid confusion on when to use which.
1. Native Korean Number System
Use the Native Korean system to indicate the numbers between 1 and 99. This is because, after 99, the objects need to be counted in Sino-Korean Numbers.
Often, combinations with both Native Korean numbers and Sino-Korean numbers can be seen to count, such as when you are telling the time.
For example, when you tell time, you have to use the native Korean numbers to tell the hour and the Sino-Korean numbers to indicate the minutes. Counting in Korean, therefore, often becomes complicated.
But there is a tip! The rule of thumb that will help you master the systems is that you should first use the native numbers. This is because the total number of hours is less than minutes and seconds.
Follow the next explanation:
Telling Time In Korean
To say that the time currently is 1:35 you can say “하나시 삼십오분” (hanasi samsib-obun). I will break down the entire phrase to make it easier for you to follow.
하나 (hana) is the native Korean number for 1, while 삼십오 (samsib-o) is the Sino-Korean number for 35. 시 (si) and 분 (bun) are the words used to measure hours and minutes, respectively.
Thus, by combining all the numbers and their counterwords, it is easy to tell the time in the Korean language. You can try to make other examples o exercise your abilities to answer if someone asks you what time it is. Practice makes perfect!
Before learning about the Sino-Korean system, take some time to learn how to say the numbers in the native system.
Let’s Learn The Native Korean Numbers!
Native Korean numbers are easy to learn and use. The first thing you have to do is learn the Korean numbers from 1 to 10. After that, you will the root words for other numbers. Each Korean number has a specific root word that can be used to write bigger numbers in Korean.
For example, 2 can be added with 10 to make 12: 열둘 (yeoldul), which means ‘twelve’ in Korean. It is formed by combining 열 (yeol) – ten and 둘 (dul) two. To make any number in its ten’s form, simply add 열 (yeol) to the word.
Don’t get discouraged if it sounds difficult at first, with practice you will understand very quickly! Let’s move on.
The Korean Age, How Does It Work?
To tell the age, you need to use the native Korean system. As mentioned before, Native Korean numbers have to be used for the items between 1-99, and since an average individual can live until the age of 77, then Koreans use Native Korean numbers for 99.
The native Korean word used to represent age is 살 (sal). Adding this word after any number indicates that the person is referring to the age. For instance, “예순 아홉 살” (yesun ahob sal) means 69 years.
A few more examples include; “서른 일곱 살” (seoleun ilgob sal), which means 37 years old, “마흔 살” (maheun sal) – 40 years old, and “넷살“ (nes-sal) meaning 4 years old.
Here is an organized table that will help you learn Native-Korean numbers easily and effortlessly:
|Arabic Numeral||English Numbers||Native Korean Numbers|
2. Sino-Korean Numbers
Now that you have learned the native system, the next system will be easier to grasp. It is different from the previous numbers, but not difficult at all! Besides, you will notice that counting in Korean becomes simple when using the Sino-Korean Numbers.
You are probably wondering what does the word ‘Sino’ means. It is a prefix that generally refers to China or the people of China. This is, in fact, a very interesting point, since the root of this word is the Latin ‘Sinæ‘ (Chinese people), which is believed that refers to the ‘Ch’in‘ Dynasty.
So why are these numbers called ‘Sino-Korean’? Simply because they have roots in Chinese characters, just like many other Korean words. If you walk around Korean streets you will see Chinese characters being used together with hangul. Some places where both writing systems are being used are newspapers, restaurant menus, Buddhist temples, beautiful calligraphy scrolls, or street signs.
Before Hangul was introduced, Korea used Chinese calligraphy but with their own spoken language. In fact, only scholars were able to read the Chinese characters, and therefore King Sejong introduced Hangul to make it easier for people to read and communicate. However, as stated above, the essence of the Chinese characters and language, in general, has been preserved in Korea, starting from the numbers.
The Sino-Korean System can be used to write dates, and days, count years and months, write phone numbers and talk about money.
Let’s see some examples below:
How To Count Money?
If you want to count money, remember that you should always use Sino-Korean numbers. 원 (Won) is the Korean currency; therefore, this word should be added after a certain number to indicate that you are counting money.
This example will clear your doubts:
The number 5 in the Sino-Korean system is ‘오’ (o). On the contrary, 5 in the native Korean system is 다섯 (daseot), as you previously learned. So, if I have 5,000 won and want to tell someone how much money I have, I wouldn’t use 다섯 (daseot) at all! Instead, I would say “오천 원 있어요” (ocheon won isseoyo).
Let’s break it down!
오 (o) – Five
천 (cheon) – Thousand
원 (won) – Currency / Korean Won
있어요 (isseoyo) – To have / Be
How To Say Your Phone Number?
Sino Korean System can also be used to exchange phone numbers. For example, the number 733-3251 will be written as “칠삼삼-삼이오 일” (chilsamsam-sam-io il), where 칠 (chil) indicates 7, 삼 (sam) indicates 3, 이 (I) indicates 2, 오 (o) indicates 5, and 일 (il) indicates 1. Using the other system to refer to phone numbers wouldn’t sound natural and fluent.
How To Write The Sino-Korean Numbers?
The same rule that I explained for the native number system also applies to conjugating bigger numbers in the Sino-Korean Number System. One root word is followed by another number to make a bigger number.
Here is a table for you to learn Sino-Korean numbers easily and effortlessly;
|Numbers||English Numbers||Sino Korean Numbers|
|100||One Hundred||백 (baek)|
|200||Two Hundred||이백 (ibaek)|
|300||Three Hundred||삼백 (sambaek)|
|400||Four Hundred||사백 (sabaek)|
|500||Five Hundred||오백 (obaek)|
|600||Six Hundred||육백 (yukbaek)|
|700||Seven Hundred||칠백 (chilbaek)|
|800||Eight Hundred||팔백 (palbaek)|
|900||Nine Hundred||구백 (gubaek)|
|1000||One Thousand||천 (cheon)|
|2000||Two Thousand||이천 (icheon)|
|3000||Three Thousand||삼천 (samcheon)|
|4000||Four Thousand||사천 (sacheon)|
|5000||Five Thousand||오천 (ocheon)|
|6000||Six Thousand||육천 (yukcheon)|
|7000||Seven Thousand||칠천 (chilcheon)|
|8000||Eight Thousand||팔천 (palcheon)|
|9000||Nine Thousand||구천 (gucheon)|
|10,000||Ten Thousand||만 (man)|
|20,000||Twenty Thousand||이만 (iman)|
|30,000||Thirty Thousand||삼만 (samman)|
|40,000||Forty Thousand||사만 (saman)|
|50,000||Fifty Thousand||오만 (oman)|
|60,000||Sixty Thousand||육만 (yungman)|
|70,000||Seventy Thousand||칠만 (chilman)|
|80,000||Eighty Thousand||팔만 (palman)|
|90,000||Ninety Thousand||구만 (guman)|
|100,000||Hundred Thousand||십만 (simman)|
|1,000,000||One Million||백만 (baengman)|
|10,000,000||Ten Million||천만 (cheonman)|
|100,000,000||Hundred Million||일억 (ireok)|
|1,000,000,000||One Billion||십억 (sibeok)|
|10,000,000,000||Ten Billion||백억 (baegeok)|
Ordinal numbers are used when numbering a sequence of something, for example, “first song” would be 첫째 노래 (cheosjjae nolae).
첫째 (cheosjjae) – First
노래 (nolae) – Song
The number word “째” (jjae) is used to make any number in Korean an ordinal number. “째” (jjae) should be added with a Sino-Korean number to convert it into an Ordinal number.
Here is a table for you to learn Ordinal numbers easily and effortlessly;
|Arabic Numerals||English Numbers||Korean Numbers|
|100th||One Hundredth||온째 (onjae)백째 (baekjae)|
|200th||Two Hundredth||이백째 (ibaekjae)|
|300th||Three Hundredth||삼백째 (sambaekjae)|
|400th||Four Hundredth||사백째 (sabaekjae)|
|500th||Five Hundredth||오백째 (obaekjae)|
|600th||Six Hundredth||육백째 (yukbaekjae)|
|700th||Seven Hundredth||칠백째 (chilbaekjae)|
|800th||Eight Hundredth||팔백째 (palbaekjae)|
|900th||Nine Hundredth||구백째 (gubaekjae)|
|1000th||One Thousandth||천째 (cheonjae)|
|2000th||Two Thousandth||이천째 (icheonjae)|
|3000th||Three Thousandth||삼천째 (samcheonjae)|
|4000th||Four Thousandth||사천째 (sacheonjae)|
|5000th||Five Thousandth||오천째 (ocheonjae)|
|6000th||Six Thousandth||육천째 (yukcheonjae)|
|7000th||Seven Thousandth||칠천째 (chilcheonjae)|
|8000th||Eight Thousandth||팔천째 (palcheonjae)|
|9000th||Nine Thousandth||구천째 (gucheonjae)|
|10000th||Ten Thousandth||만째 (manjae)|
|20000th||Twenty Thousandth||이만째 (imanjae)|
|30000th||Thirty Thousandth||삼만째 (sammanjae)|
|40000th||Forty Thousandth||사만째 (samanjae)|
|50000th||Fifty Thousandth||오만째 (omanjae)|
|60000th||Sixty Thousandth||육만째 (yukmanjae)|
|70000th||Seventy Thousandth||칠만째 (chilmanjae)|
|80000th||Eighty Thousandth||팔만째 (palmanjae)|
|90000th||Ninety Thousandth||구만째 (gumanjae)|
|100000th||Hundred Thousandth||십만째 (sipmanjae)|
|1000000th||One Millionth||백만째 (baekmanjae)|
|10000000th||10 Millionth||천만째 (cheonmanjae)|
|100000000th||100 Millionth||억째 (eokjae)|
|1000000000000th||1 Trillionth||조째 (jojae)|
Counter Words In the Korean language
Korean numbers have various counterwords to indicate the amount of a certain thing. There are various measure words used in different languages for example Chinese, Korean, and some other examples.
It is important to use these measure words if one wants to sound like a native Korean speaker.
Specific words are used with each number to tell what the number is about. These specific Korean counters are important to know about.
An important word (measure word) for most inanimate objects is 개 (ge). It is a common counterword and is the first word to be taught because of its versatility.
Here is a table for you to learn some basic counter words and therefore start using them in your everyday life;
|채 (chae)||Houses and buildings|
|그루 (geuru)||Trees and plants|
|켤레 (kyeolle)||Pairs of shoes|
|가지 (gaji)||Types and varieties|
|장 (jang)||Pieces of paper|
|벌 (beol)||Clothes and Dresses|
|시간 (sigan)||Time period in hours|
|개월 (gaewol)||Time period of months|
|달 (dal)||Time Period in months|
|킬로그램 (killogeuraem)||Kilograms/ Weight|
|원 (won)||Korean currency|
|대 (dae)||Automobile and machinary|
Language Tip Of The Day
While taking a picture make sure to use the first three Native Korean numbers since it is a trend to say “Hana, Dul, Sett” before taking a picture.
This is a cultural practice of Korean people and especially the new generation so don’t forget to say that when you are taking a picture or selfie with a Korean friend. It is equivalent to saying cheese in the English language.
Start Counting In Korean Now!
Today’s lesson taught you how to use Native Korean Numbers and Chinese Numbers. You learned both the Cardinal numbers, Ordinal numbers, and counter words to write with such numbers.
Congratulations on being able to count numbers in Korean like a pro. Sharpen your Korean skills by taking courses in language learning from the Ling App.
On Ling App, we have many blogs for you to enhance your Korean language learning process. If you liked today’s blog, then don’t forget to check out the sentence structure in Korean and talk about hobbies in the Korean language.
If Korean is a new language for you, then it is important to learn Korean numbers because Korean numbers are used for many purposes.
If you are looking for blogs in other languages, fasten your seat belt because the Ling app brings you a roller coaster of learning fun and easy.