In this article we will spur out the words for both Korean numbers and Sino-numbers. You’ll need to know both system because they are use in different manner.

Honestly, this will be a torturing process. Sino-korean numbers are easy because you just have to know the basics of 1-10 and also 100, 1000, 10000. But for Korean numbers, they have different terms for the tenths which makes my head whirls even more.

Korean numbers:

Korean numbers are used often to count for things that have smaller quantities not more than 99 cause that’s the max you can count with korean numbers.

하나 1
다섯 5
여섯 6
일곱 7
여덟 8
아홉 9
스물 20
서른 30
마흔 40
예순 60
일흔 70
여든 80
아흔 90

How it works: Exactly like English.

Eg. If 24 is twenty four in English,

   In korean ‘twenty” is 스물 and ‘four’ is 넷.

    Thus 24 = 스물넷

Sino- numbers:

Sino-numbers are develop on Chinese numbers that’s why you call them Sino. They are used to count bigger quantities stuff.

10 000

How it works: Exactly like English

Eg. 132 is one hundred and thirty two in English.

       In korean, 100=백     30 =삼십     2=이

       Thus    132 = 백삼십이

Eg. 379 is three hundred and seventy nine in English.

       In korean, 300=삼백     70 =칠십     9=구

       Thus    379 = 삼백칠십구

Note: Unlike English, chinese numbers count 5 digit numbers by the ten-thousand (10 000) not by the thousands (1000)

    Thus a number like 23456 :

    20000=이만   3000=삼천  400=사백  50=오십  6=육

             23456 = 이만삼천사백오십육

   Leading to a number like 200 000 [which is 20 x 10 000]

   to be pronounced as 이십만 . and not 이백천 (english equivalent of two hundred thousand)


Side tips:

  • the number 0 is often said 영 except when reading out telephone number it is said as 공.
  • In reading telephone number, read the individual Sino-number as it is. However, where there is a hypen (-) it is pronounced as 에.  Eg. 234-567 is 이삼사에오육칠.
  • When used with counters (ie like two months, the counter is month) the usage of korean numbers or Sino-korean depends on the counters. One big indication is whether the counter is korean or sino-korean word. For example month is 달(korean) and 월 (Sino-korean which means moon). Thus if use with 달 the number used is korean numbers and if used with 월 the numbers used will be Sino-korean.



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