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Korean Numbers: Easy Guide To Learn From 1 to 1 Million

March 28, 2022

Wanna count in Korean numbers but don't know where to start from? 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 a 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 it further in the section below.

Get ready!

Counting In Korean

Numbers in Korean

Counting in Korean has two main number systems and that is why it seems intimidating to most people but what they do not realize is 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, both 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 and therefore to have an accurate Korean pronunciation and the ability to read Korean, it is important to learn the Korean alphabet. Check our blog to know the easiest way of learning Hangul!

Romanized Hangul refers to the writing system of hangul characters/words using the English alphabet.

Two Korean Number Systems

There are two systems in the Korean language. Be it counting, collecting money, or using numbers in any way, Koreans use these systems in their daily lives. So, it is necessary to learn both systems if you are planning a trip to Korea, to avoid confusion on when to use which.

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 lesser than that of 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). To make it easier for you to follow, I will break down the entire phrase.

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, combining all the numbers and their counter words, 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 (yeol) - ten and (dul) two. To make any number in its ten's form, simply add (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

To tell the age, it is important 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
1 One 하나 (hana)
2 Two 둘 (dul)
3 Three 셋 (set)
4 Four 넷 (net)
5 Five 다섯 (daseot)
6 Six 여섯 (yeoseot)
7 Seven 일곱 (ilgop)
8 Eight 여덟 (yeodeol)
9 Nine 아홉 (ahop)
10 Ten 열 (yeol)
11 Eleven 열하나 (yeolhana)
12 Twelve 열둘 (yeoldul)
13 Thirteen 열셋 (yeolset)
14 Fourteen 열넷 (yeolnet)
15 Fifteen 열다섯 (yeoldaseot)
16 Sixteen 열여섯 (yeolyeoseot)
17 Seventeen 열일곱 (yeolilgob)
18 Eighteen 열여덟 (yeolyeodeol)
19 Nineteen 열아홉 (yeolahop)
20 Twenty 스물 (seumul)
30 Thirty  서른 (seoreun)
40 Forty 마흔 (maheun)
50 Fifty 쉰 (swin)
60 Sixty 예순 (yesun)
70 Seventy 일흔 (ilheun)
80 Eighty 여든 (yeodeun)
90 Ninety 아흔 (aheun)

Sino Korean Numbers

Now that you have learned the native system, the next system will be very easy to grasp. It is definitely different from the previous numbers, but not difficult at all! Besides, you will notice that counting in Korean becomes simple when using 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 probably 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. Even to this day, you can find in Korea Chinese characters together with Hangul. For example, in the newspaper, restaurant menus, Buddhist temples, beautiful calligraphy scrolls, or street signs.

China and Korea have shared a long history. 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 the 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, days, count years and months, write phone numbers and talk about money. Let's see some examples below:

Counting Money

If you want to count money, remember that you should always use the Sino-Korean numbers. 원 (Won) is the Korean currency and 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 Sino-Korean system is '' (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 I 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!

(o) - Five

(cheon) - Thousand

(won) - Currency / Korean Won

있어요 (isseoyo) - To have / Be

Giving Phone Numbers

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 (chil) indicates 7, (sam) indicates 3, (I) indicates 2, (o) indicates 5, and (il) indicates 1. If you use the other system to refer to phone numbers, it wouldn't sound natural and fluent.

Writing Sino-Korean Numbers

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
1 One 일 (il)
2 Two 이 (i)
3 Three 삼 (sam)
4 Four 사 (sa)
5 Five 오 (o)
6 Six 육 (yuk)
7 Seven 칠 (chil)
8 Eight 팔 (pal)
9 Nine 구 (gu)
10 Ten 십 (sip)
11 Eleven 십일 (sibil)
12 Twelve 십이 (sibi)
13 Thirteen 십삼 (sipsam)
14 Fourteen 십사 (sipsa)
15 Fifteen 십오 (sibo)
16 Sixteen 십육 (sibyuk)
17 Seventeen 십칠 (sipchil)
18 Eighteen 십팔 (sip-pal)
19 Nineteen 십구 (sipgu)
20 Twenty 이십 (isip)
30 Thirty  삼십 (samsip)
40 Forty 사십 (sasip)
50 Fifty 오십 (osip)
60 Sixty 육십 (yuksip)
70 Seventy 칠십 (chilsip)
80 Eighty 팔십(palsip)
90 Ninety 구십 (gusip)
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

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

Korean ordinal numbers

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 
1st First 첫째 (cheotjae)
2nd Second 둘째 (duljae)
3rd Third 셋째 (setjae)
4th Fourth 넷째 (netjae)
5th Fifth 다섯째 (daseotjae)
6th Sixth 여섯째 (yeoseotjae)
7th Seventh 일곱째 (ilgopjae)
8th Eighth 여덟째 (yeodeoljae)
9th Ninth 아홉째 (ahopjae)
10th Tenth 열째 (yeoljae)
11th Eleventh 열한째 (yeolhanjae)
12th Twelfth 열둘째 (yeolduljae)
13th Thirteenth 열셋째 (yeolsetjae)
14th Fourteenth 열넷째 (yeolnetjae)
15th Fifteenth 열다섯째 (yeoldaseotjae)
16th Sixteenth 열여섯째 (yeolyeoseotjae)
17th Seventeenth 열일곱째 (yeolilgopjae)
18th Eighteenth 열여덟째 (yeolyeodeoljae)
19th Nineteenth 열아홉째 (yeolahopjae)
20th Twentieth 스무째 (seumujae)
30th Thirtieth 서른째 (seoreunjae)
40th Fortieth 마흔째 (maheunjae)
50th Fiftieth 쉰째 (swinjae)
60th Sixtieth 예순째 (yesunjae)
70th Seventieth 일흔째 (ilheunjae)
80th Eightieth 여든째 (yeodeunjae)
90th Ninetieth 아흔째 (aheunjae)
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 (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;

Things Counter Words
개 (gae) Things
명 (myeong) People
군데 (gunde) Places
사람 (saram) People
분 (bun) people
채 (chae) Houses and buildings
그루 (geuru) Trees and plants
켤레 (kyeolle) Pairs of shoes
가지 (gaji) Types and varieties
조각 (jogak) Slices
장 (jang) Pieces of paper
권 (gwon) Books
벌 (beol) Clothes and Dresses
마리 (mari) Animals
초 (cho) Seconds
분 (bun) Minutes
시간 (sigan) Time period in hours
시 (si) Time
번 (beon) Times
일 (il) Days
주일 (juil) Weeks
주간 (jugan) Weeks
월 (wol) Months
개월 (gaewol) Time period of months
달 (dal) Time Period in months
해 (hae) Years
년 (nyeon) Years
살 (sal) Age
킬로그램 (killogeuraem) Kilograms/ Weight
미터 (miteo) Meters
원 (won) Korean currency
병 (byeong) Bottles
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.

Wrapping Up

Korean Alphabet

In today's lesson, you learned 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 of 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 sentence structure in Korean and telling about hobbies in the Korean language.

If Korean is a new language for you then is important to learn Korean numbers because Korean numbers are used for many purposes. If you are looking for blogs in other languages then fasten your seat belt because the Ling app brings you a roller coaster of learning in a fun and easy way.

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