Featured article photo: Damyang Bamboo Park in Jeollanam-do, South Korea by Kim Dae Jung (CC0 Licensed)
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—don't worry, expressing 0 to 10 in the Sino-Korean numbering system is contained in this lesson and you'll get there soon. Let's just start off with 1 to 10 in the Native Korean system, shall we?
1. Hana (하나)
Alright, so here's the deal. Korean numbers can be a little complicated, so I'm trying to make it as clear as possible. Now, if you want to say 1 in the Native Korean numbering system out loud, you would just 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) 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 the noun you are counting, 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 when compared to Chinese numbers.
As previously mentioned, you would use the Sino-Korean for everything else other than age or general counting from 1 to 100, 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'
Want More Practice in Korean?
- Basic Korean (Grammar Workbook) by Professor Andrew Sangpil Byon (변상필) is a useful workbook that you can use to practice your skills in basic Korean grammar points such as forming present and past tense sentences.
- Check out KoreanClass101.com, a website where you can learn Korean guided by native speakers through audio lessons. You can start learning anywhere from Beginner, Upper Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced levels to practice on listening, vocabulary lists, and grammar pointers to fast track your goal in becoming a pro in Korean!
- Talk To Me In Korean Level 1 is a useful self-study book designed for absolute beginners to embark on their self-study journey in learning Korean.
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