We already covered counting once, but we mentioned then that there is a second system of counting: the Sino-Korean numbers. Those who learned the native Korean numbers will surely notice that these Sino-Korean numbers are a who lot easier to remember.

Sino-Korean Numbers

Some might wonder if you can choose between Sino-Korean numbers and the native Korean numbers. The simple answer is: no, you cannot choose. Both systems have their specific uses and in rare cases they can change the meaning ever so slightly. There for it is imperative to remember when to use the numbers.

The rule I am going by for myself is pretty simple and works out quite well. It is to say, it has not failed me yet! What I do is; I memorize when I need to use the native Korean numbers and in all other situations I will use the Sino-Korean numbers instead. This is pretty good rule since the native Korean numbers have a far more narrow use, making it easier to learn those by heart than the Sino-Korean numbers.

As the name implies the Sino-Korean numbers are of Chinese descend so for Chinese learners these numbers might sound pretty familiar. However, it also might mean that the slight pronunciation differences might make it difficult as well. Unlike the native Korean numbers, these numbers go from 0 all the way to infinity so to speak.

One important aspect we need to stress: Unlike European languages who count in units of thousands, Koreans count things in units of ten thousands. Is this difference important to remember in Korean? Yes! Due to the Korean currency prices in Korean quickly mounting up into the hundreds of thousands. You will often hear large numbers when shopping for clothes and other daily things and all those prices are in Sino-Korean! I made a little chart for you to help you learn the numbers.


Start counting

Native Korean Numbers

Related Grammar Topics


About Author

Nick is a someone who enjoys exploring new and different things. 2 years ago when he met his Korean friends he decided to go for it and learn Korean. Now he is struggling with the language while sharing an apartment with his Korean roomie.

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