Mind Your Korean 6: 하나, 둘, 셋, 넷…come on and count in Korean!

Orchid and Liz use their fingers and toes to count in Korean – while Rooster counts sheep in her sleep – in their latest Korean language class. They now share with you their adventures and misadventures with the language in MYK6!
여러분 (yeo-reo-boon = everyone), put on your Dracula costumes because we’re going to make like Count Dracula and count (what else?) in Korean (of course).

In this lesson, we will be playing around with native Korean numbers (숫자 = sut-ja = numbers) and will leave the Sino-Korean ones for another day.

Teacher: How do we use native Korean and Sino-Korean numbers? In reading out the pages of a book or dates we use Sino-Korean numbers. What else?
Fellow student: Money!
Teacher: 맞아요 (ma-ja-yo) Correct! We count money in Sino-Korean. But for age (나이 = na-i), people (사람 = saram) and objects/things (물건 = mool-geon), we use native Korean. What else?
Liz: Time?
Teacher: For time, it’s a mixture of both native and Sino-Korean.
Liz: Bwah ha ha ha ha…

Getting to know 하나, 둘, 셋…

And so we delved into the world of native Korean numbers. Below is part of what we learned. According to 선생님, numbers 40-99 are rarely used, except when talking about age.

1 = 하나 (ha-na) ~~~ 한(han)___

2 = 둘 (dool) ~~~ 두(doo)___

3 = 셋 (set) ~~~ 세(se)___

4 = 넷 (net) ~~~ 네(ne)___

5 = 다섯 (da-seot)

6 = 여섯 (yeo-seot)

7 = 일곱 (il-gop)

8 = 여덟 (yeo-deol, the 1st batchim is selected to be pronounced)

9 = 아홉 (a-hop)

10 = 열 (yeol)

20 = 스물 (seu-mool) ~~~ 스무(seu-moo)___

30 = 서른 (seo-reun)


Apart from that, we learned the counter word for various objects. I will have to fall back on Bahasa Malaysia (BM) to give you a better picture of this.

In BM, we have kata bilangan (direct translation = counting words) such as sebiji bola (a ball), dua buah rumah (two houses), tiga helai kertas (three sheets of paper) and so on.

They have that in Korean too. For instance if you are counting people, you go 명 (myeong), for age 살 (sal), for objects 개 (gae), for glasses/cups 잔 (jan) and so on.

K-popped! Trio가 몇명 있어요? 세명 있어요.

Also, when adding the counter word to the number mentioned, the numbers 하나, 둘, 셋, 넷 and 스물 change form to the one written on the far right of the number list above.

Are you still with me?

Why don’t you take some time to memorise (외우세요) the list above with the aid of a kiddie smash hit in…The Song Break.

The Song Break

Finding it hard to even remember numbers 1 – 10? No worries. Remember our favourite kiddie tune called Little Indians? The one that goes: One little, Two little, Three little Indians; Four little, five little, six little Indians…etc.

OK, now apply that tune and sing the song like so:

한명, 두명, 세명이에요;= han-myeong, du-myeong, se-myeong-i-e-yo;
네명, 다섯명, 여섯명이에요; = ne-myeong, da-seot-myeong, yeo-seot-myeong-i-e-yo;
일곱명, 여덟명, 아홉명이에요; = il-gop myeong, yeo-deol myeong, a-hop-meyong-i-e-yo;
열명이에요 = yeol myeong-i-e-yo

Got it? 😉 😉

Family matters

The class was then tasked with asking each other about our family and age so we could apply what we have learned. The examples below in no way reflect the true situation of Orchid, Rooster or Liz.

Example 1:
Q: 가족이 몇명 이에요? = kajogi myeon myeong-i-e-yo? = How many people are there in your family?
Note: If you follow the rules, 몇명 is actually pronounced myeot myeong, but it’s a little of a tongue twister there, so it is usually pronounced 면명 (myeon myeong) for a smoother speech.
A: 열한명이에요 = yeol-han-myeong-i-e-yo = 11 people.
Note: Take note of how 11 (열하나) is a combination of 10 + 1 (열 + 하나); and also how 하나 becomes 한 when the counter 명 is attached.

Example 2:
Q: 리즈씨, 오빠 있어요? = Lijeu-sshi, oppa isseoyo? = Liz, do you have elder brother(s)?
A: 네, 있어요. = Ne, isseoyo = Yes, I have.
Q: 몇명이에요? = myeon myeong-i-e-yo? = How many persons?
A: 한명이에요. = han-myeong-i-e-yo. = One person.
Q: 몇살이에요? = myeot sa-ri-e-yo? = How old is he?
A: 스물아홉 살이에요. = seu-mool-a-hop sa-ri-e-yo. = 29 years old.

Ordering a cuppa

So let’s say you find yourself at a café in Seoul one day and want to order a drink. This is how you can do it:

You: 녹차 있어요? = nok-cha isseoyo? = Do you have green tea?
아니오, 없어요. = anio, eobseoyo. = No, we don’t.
커피 있어요? = kheo-pi isseoyo? = Do you have coffee?
네, 있어요. = ne, isseoyo. = Yes, we do.
그럼, 커피 한잔 주세요. = geu-reom, kheo-pi han-jan juseyo. = Then, give me a cup of coffee please.
*a little while later*
여기 있어요 = yeo-gi isseoyo. = Here it is.
감사합니다 = gamsahamnida = Thank you. *slurrrrrp, ahhhhh*

No class next week

Below is a snippet of conversation the class had with Teacher about our next class, which happens to fall on a public holiday.

Liz: 선생님, next week class 있어요?
아니오, 없어요. I will see you all 다음, 다음 주.
Fellow student:
Huh? What’s that?
다음 is next. 주 is week so 다음, 다음 주 is next, next week.
Orchid and Liz:
아, 그래요!

So my dear MYK series fans, there will be no entry on class next week.

Mind Your Korean series:

MYK 1: I’m sorry (미안합니다) – You’re welcome (아니에요)
MYK 2: The one where 선생님 beats Liz to the punch line
MYK 3: The tale of the uncooperative tissue paper
MYK 4: From learning the alphabets to self-introduction
MYK 5: Simple conversations in Korean
MYK Quiz 1: The Match Up
MYK Quiz 1: Answers and winner announcement
MYK 7: Location, location, location
MYK Tidbits
MYK 8: 일, 이, 삼, 사…come on and count in Sino-Korean!