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All the different counting units in Korean

I was wondering how many of these there are. For beginners (and I hope I get this right): if you use the pure Korean numbers (hana dul set net etc.) to say there are a certain number of something, there's an extra word after the number to indicate what type of object it is. Usually pretty superfluous, since you're already saying what the stuff is, but there you go. That's languages for ya!

Three of the most common ones, apologies in advance if I spell anything wrong:

  • 한 명 ~ one person
  • 한 마리 ~ one animal
  • 한 개 ~ one...thing? (this seems like the most common and generic one)

What are some more of them?

September 12, 2017



Just remember that most of the time, you use the pure Korean numbers (하나, 둘, 셋, 넷, etc.) + counting word, as Demonym281 said above. 맥주 한 병, 두 병, etc. An exception to that rule: when talking about years, use the sino-Korean numbers!

선생님 asked if any of the 학생 could speak another foreign language. My friend replied that he spoke Russian. 선생님 asks when he learned, so he says, "열두 년 전에 배웠습니다." 선생님 laughs and says, "Really? Twelve b%#*$ ago? I think you meant to say, '십이 년 전에.'" And that's the story of how I learned my first Korean curse word...


So 열두 can be a curse word too? Numbers are a right minefield in Korean, first 18 and now 12...


18 years, amirite?

It's like that old fake cereal commercial. Woman: "Honey, what are you eating for breakfast? I can see crunchy clusters of nuts, and sweet bunches of granola! What are you eating?" Man: "Nut 'n Bits!" Woman: "What did you say?!" Man: "I said Nut 'n Bits!" Woman: "Why, you lousy, no good, sonuva..." scene fades


so '년' is the curse word lol


열두 just means twelve.


잔 = glasses/drinks/cups 대 = vehicles + electric machines 권 = books 송이 = flowers 장 = thin flat things (usually paper) Those are all I know...


Excellent! Thanks

I do kind of love that these all exist, even though they make the language unnecessarily harder. Every time you think you might have got the basics mastered, there's something extra like this. Always a challenge. I find that there's much less 'true beginner' material in Korean than in a lot of other languages...formality levels are another reason for this


Here are a few more. 종류 - a kind/type, 번 - times, 병 - bottles, 한 아름 - one armful.

Just remembered these annoying ones: 하루, 이틀, 사흘, 나흘, 닷새, 엿새, 이레, 여드레, 아흐레, 열흘 - one day, two days, etc.


God yeah those were an unpleasant surprise (the days) - after two years living here I didn't know about them at all, thus very confused when they came up in the course

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