Monday, June 29, 2015

Counter Nouns (Numeral Classifier, 분류사)

We talked that counter nouns are used to count things. And through this post, we are going to study about counter nouns.

What a counter does is to classify nouns according to common attributes for numbering purposes. Therefore, by using a counter, you can provide more information about the object you count. The Korean language has an extensive list of counters. Some counters are used only with the native Korean numbers, whereas some counters are used only with the Sino-Korean numbers. The table bellow shows the counters that are normally used with the native Korean numbers. However, when the number is above 20 these counters can also be used with Sino-Korean numbers.

On the other hand, the table bellow shows the counters that are used only with Sino-Korean numbers. Notice that when the counter is a loanword, such as 달라(dollars), 마일(miles), and 미터(meters), Koreans in general prefer to use Sino-Korean numbers, as in 십육 미터(sixteen meters).

As seen above, the choice of a certain counter depends on the kinds of objects. However, one must know what counter is used with either a native Korean number or a Sino-Korean number. For instance, when counting minutes, you have to use 분 after a Sino-Korean number, as in 칠 분(seven minutes).
A few counters, such as 주일 or 주간(week), can be used with both Sino-Korean numbers as well as native Korean numbers. For instance, one week can be either 한 주간 or 일 주간 and four weeks can be either 네 주간 or 사 주간. However, the use of Sino-Korean numbers with this counter is more common.

* One of my friend, +김태준  shared a nice tip. Thank you so much!
(He said spacing is added every ten thousand.)
Good info. but could you correct spacing for examples?
Because of the rule "수를 적을 적에는 '만(萬)' 단위로 띄어 쓴다," one should write them as 스물여덟 명 and so on.

* Click to read related posts.
Grammar for Beginners
Numbers & Ordinals (숫자와 서수)

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