Korean Numbers

Korean Bill

In Korean, there are two counting systems: Sino-Korean (Chinese System) and Native Korean (Korean System).

When to Use Each Counting System

Roughly speaking, we can use the two counting systems as the following table.

Sino-KoreanNative-Korean
0 - infinite1 - 99
large numberssmall numbers
time: minutes, seconds
days, months, years
phone numbers
currency amounts

etc.
time: hour ("o'clock")
age
counting things:
e.g. 3 apples, 5 dogs, 7 people

etc.

Sino-Korean takes less time to pronounce the numbers, so maybe that's one of the reasons to use it for the large numbers.

Since Sino-Korean System is based on Chinese numbers, some of them have similar sounds to them. Below are a few examples of them. Click the Korean and Chinese Characters and they will pronounce them.

Sino-KoreanChinese Number
1 (il) (yi)
3 (sam) (sān)
7 (chil) (qī)
8 (pal) (bā)

Basic: 0 and 1 to 10

In Sino-Korean, 0 is (yeong) or (gong) as "zero" or "oh" in English respectively. On the other hand, (bbang) is used to count zero in Native-Korean.

From 1 to 10, each system goes as the following table.

Sino-KoreanNative-Korean
Sound:
1 - 10
1일 (il)하나 (hana)
2이 (i)둘 (dul)
3삼 (sam)셋 (set)
4사 (sa)넷 (net)
5오 (o)다섯 (daseot)
6육 (yuk)여섯 (yeoseot)
7칠 (chil)일곱 (ilgob)
8팔 (pal)여덟 (yeodeol)
9구 (gu)아홉 (ahop)
10십 (sip)열 (yeol)

From 10 to 19

From 10 to 19, both Sino-Korean and Native-Korean pronounce the numbers with the combination of "10 + number." For example, 11 is "10 (십) + 1(이)," 15 is "10 (십) + 5 (오)," and so on.

Sino-KoreanNative-Korean
Sound:
11, 12, 18, 19
11십 (ship) + 일 (il)
십일
(shipil)
열 (yeol) + 하나 (hana)
열하나
(yeolhana)
12십 + 이 (i)
십이
(shipi)
열 + 둘 (dul)
열둘
(yeoldul)
...
18십 + 팔 (pal)
십팔
(ship-pal)
열 + 여덟 (yeodeol)
열여덟
(yeolyeodeol)
19십 + 구 (gu)
십구
(shipgu)
열 + 아홉 (ahop)
열아홉
(yeolahop)

From 20, both count the same way. But Native-Korean has a distinctive name for 20, 30, 40, ..., 90, and 100. It's explained in the following paragraph.

10, 20, 30, ..., 100

Sino-Korean counts "number + 10," but Native-Korean has different sound for each numbers.

Sino-KoreanNative-Korean
Sound:
10 - 100
10십 (ship)열 (yeol)
20이십 (eeship)스물 (seumul)
30삼십 (samship)서른 (seoreun)
40사십 (saship)마흔 (maheun)
50오십 (oship)쉰 (swin)
60육십 (yukship)예순 (yesun)
70칠십 (chilship)일흔 (ilheun)
80팔십 (palship)여든 (yeodeun)
90구십 (guship)아흔 (aheun)
100백 (baek)백 (baek)

After 100

After 100, the numbers are the combination of the above-mentioned numbers. Plus, we will have new numbers like "1000 (천) and 10000 (만)" that will also be keys to count large numbers.

(Just for clarity, I put a space between the Hangul in the below table, but we don't need the spaces in a real situation.)

100
(baek)
123
(100 + 2×10 + 3)

(baek eeship sam)
1000
(cheon)
4567
(4×1000 + 5×100 + 6×10 + 7)

(sacheon obeak yukship chil)
10000
(man)
10001
(manil)
※ not 만일
89012
(8×10000 + 9×1000 + 2×10 + 3)

(palman gucheon shipi)
......
100000
(1010000)

(sip man)
1000000
(10010000)

(baek man)
10000000
(100010000)
천 만
(cheon man)
......

Reference

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