Learn Korean,  South Korea

Learning Korean Numbers 101

Hi guys, for today’s topic we’re going to learn about numbers in Korean! Both the Real-Korean ones (고유의 수사) and Sino-Korean (한자의 수사) which was derived from Chinese.

These two types of numbers have different usage and you can see how they are used in the table below!

* housing number, phone number, floor level, and license plate

So let’s just start learning those numbers!

The concept for counting those after 10 is like this:

  • 11 = 10+1 = 열 + 하나 / 십 + 일
  • 21 = 20+1 = 스물 + 하나 / 이십 + 일
  • 35 = 30+5 = 서른 + 다섯 / 삼십 + 오
  • 77 = 70+7 = 일흔 + 일곱 / 칠십 + 칠
  • 99 = 90+9 = 아흔 + 이홉 / 구십 + 구
  • The patterns are the same for both type of numbers

After reaching 99, the next numbers follow the Sino-Korean ones as you can see on the table below:

Let say, you wanna tell someone the year you’re born, 1995 for example. By following the concept it will be:

1995 = 1,000 + 900 + 90 + 5 = 천 + 구백 + 구십 + 오 = 천구백구십오

한자의 수사 (Sino-Korean)

1. Date

In Korea, people tell the dates starting from the year followed by the month and the date. However, for June and October, instead of using 육월 and 십월. They use 유월 and 시월.

Example:

  • 2015, October 6 = 이천십오년 시월 육일
    • Year 2015 = 2000 + 10 + 5 + 년 = 이천 + 십 + 오 + 년
    • Month October = 시월
    • Date 6 = 육 + 일
  • 1993, February 23 = 천구백구삼년 이월 이십칠일
    • Year 1993 = 1000 + 900 + 90 + 3 + 년 = 천 + 구백 + 구십 + 삼 + 년
    • Month February = 이월
    • Date 27 = 20 + 7 + 일 = 이십+ 칠 + 일

2. Price

For telling price, usually it’s seperated per four numbers from the back. It’s almost like telling year but more complicated. Korean currency is KRW (Korean Won / 원), so here, we’re going to use 원 for telling price.

Example:

  • This apple is 1,300 KRW
    • 이 사과는 천삼백원 이에요
    • 1,300 = 1,000 + 300 = 천 + 삼백
  • That coat is 55,555 KRW
    • 그 코트는 오만오천오백오십오원 이에요
    • 55,555 = 50,000 + 5,000 + 500 + 50 + 5 = 오만 + 오천 + 오백 + 오십 + 오
  • That Gucci bag is 2,175,000 KRW
    • 그 구찌 가방은 이백십칠만오천원 이에요
    • 2,175,000 = 2,000,000 + 170,000 + 5,000
    • We already know that 1 million is 백만 but in this example, we have the following number after 2 million, the 175,000. So we need to kinda separate it into 200 and 170,000 and 5,000
      • This happens because they sort it out backward starting from the last four digits, the 5,000 (오천).
      • After 천 (thousand) is 만 (ten thousand) because there’s 170,000 so it’s 17 times 10,000 (십칠만).
      • Lastly, for million is 백만. We don’t want to add 만 twice, which leaves us to the remaining 백. Because we have 2 million, it becomes 이백.
    • By combining all of them, we will have 이백-십칠만-오천
    • Confusing? Yep, it truly is. I’m still struggling too so no worries :p

3. Telephone Number

For telling phone numbers when you wish to add a dash (-), you will need to say .

Example:

  • My phone number is 010-112-233-678
    • 제 전화는 공일공 에 일일이 에 이삼삼 에 육칠팔 이에요

고유의 수사 (Real-Korean)

1. Counter

These counters are used to tell objects, things, people, etc. From number 1 until 4 they omit one letter. Others stay the same.

In general, you can just use 개 for almost everything. However, it’s best to be able to use other counters~

  • 하나 → 한
  • 둘 → 두
  • 셋 → 세
  • 넷 → 네

2. Time

From the first table, you know that telling time requires both types of numbers. The Korean number for the hour and the Sino-Korean number for the minute and the second.

Example:

  • Now is 9:45 AM
    • 지금 오전 아홉시 사십오분 이에요
    • We tell the AM first then the time
  • I’m leaving at 12:30 PM
    • 오후 십이시 삼십분 에 떠난다
      • You can tell the time fully like this
    • 나 는 오후 십이시 반 에 떠나요
      • Or use 반 which means half

3. Sequence of Numbers

For telling numbers in sequence, both Real-Korean numbers and Sino-Korean numbers are used.

Sino-Korean uses 제 and followed by its respective numbers.
제 일: First
제 이: Second
제 삼: Third
and so on…

Real-Korean uses (번)째 after its respective numbers. The word 번 can be either be used or omit it.
첫 (번)째: First
두 (번)째: Second
세 (번)째: Third
and so on…

Well, then that’s it for learning numbers. Don’t let those numbers sink you down to the bottom of the sea :p

I’ll see ya next post!

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