Featured article photo: Damyang Bamboo Park in Jeollanam-do, South Korea by Kim Dae Jeung
1 to 10 in the Native Korean Numbering System
Fun fact: The Native Korean numbering system does not have a 0! To say a 0, you would have to use the Sino-Korean numbering system, but don't worry, we’ll cover 0 to 10 in the Sino-Korean numbering system later in this post.
Let's start off first with 1 to 10 in the Native Korean system:
1. Hana (하나)
Alright, so here's the deal. Korean numbers are a little complicated, so let’s try to make it as clear as possible. Now, if you want to say 1 in the Native Korean numbering system out loud, you would say hana (하나), but if you want to use it to count something, like ‘one time’, you would “drop the last letter” of hana (하나) for it to become han (한), and then plus beon (번), to result in han-beon (한 번) ‘one time’. This applies to the numbers ending in -1, -2, -3, -4, as well as the number 20 in the Native Korean numbering system.
2. Dul (둘)
Like hana (하나), when you use dul (둘) to count something, you would “drop the last letter”, resulting in du (두). Add this with a count noun, for example, myeong (명), a count noun for 'people', and you end up with du-myeong (두 명) ‘two people’.
3. Set (셋)
You should be getting the pattern now; let's do: set (셋) + si (시) = se-si (세 시) ‘three o’clock’.
4. Net (넷)
e.g. net (넷) + gae (개) = ne-gae (네 개) ‘four things’
5. Daseot (다섯)
You will not need to "drop the last letter" of numbers ending in -5 to -9 when pairing it with a count noun. So to say ‘five bottles’, you would say daseot (다섯) + byeong (병) = daseot-byeong (다섯 병).
6. Yeoseot (여섯)
e.g. yeoseot (여섯) + sal (살) = yeoseot-sal (여섯 살) ‘six years old’
7. Ilgop (일곱)
e.g. ilgop (일곱) + jang (장) = ilgop-jang (일곱 장) ‘seven sheets’
8. Yeodeol (여덟)
e.g. yeodeol (여덟) + si (시) = yeodeol-si (여덟 시) ‘eight o’clock’
9. Ahop (아홉)
e.g. ahop (아홉) + beon (번) = ahop-beon (아홉 번) ‘nine times’
10. Yeol (열)
e.g. yeol (열) + jan (잔) = yeol-jan (열 잔) ‘ten cups’
0 to 10 in the Sino-Korean Numbering System
Now, let's move on to learning how to express the numbers 0 to 10 in the Sino-Korean numbering system. It's called the Sino-Korean numbering system because they are based on Chinese numbers, so if you know any Chinese languages, these numbers may come off easier to you because they bear some resemblance in terms of how they sound.
As previously mentioned, you would use the Sino-Korean for counting from 100 and beyond, such as dates, money, addresses, et cetera.
0. Gong (공) / Yeong (영)
There are two ways to say 0: Gong (공) and Yeong (영).
1. Il (일)
e.g. il-wol (일월) ‘January’
2. I (이)
e.g. i-wol (이월) ‘February’
3. Sam (삼)
e.g. sam-wol (삼월) ‘March’
4. Sa (사)
e.g. sa-wol (사월) ‘April’
5. O (오)
e.g. o-wol (오월) ‘May’
6. Yuk (육)
In the Sino-Korean numbering system, you would typically also "drop the last letter" for the numbers ending in -6 as well as the number 10 when pairing them with count nouns.
e.g. yuk (육) + wol (월)= yu-wol (유월) ‘June’
7. Chil (칠)
e.g. chil-wol (칠월) ‘July’
8. Pal (팔)
e.g. pal-wol (팔월) ‘August’
9. Gu (구)
e.g. gu-wol (구월) ‘September’
10. Sip (십)
e.g. sip (십) + wol (월) = si-wol (시월) ‘October’