|Revised Romanization (translit.)?||seumul|
Syllables in red take high pitch. This word always takes high pitch on both syllables, and lowers the pitch of subsequent suffixes.
스물 • (seumul)
- (native numeral) twenty (independently, without a classifier)
In modern Korean, numbers are usually written in Arabic numerals.
The Korean language has two sets of numerals: a native set of numerals inherited from Old Korean, and a Sino-Korean set which was borrowed from Middle Chinese in the first millennium C.E.
Native classifiers take native numerals.
- 개 한 마리 (gae han mari, “one dog”, native numeral)
- 나무 두 그루 (namu du geuru, “two trees”, native numeral)
Some Sino-Korean classifiers take native numerals, others take Sino-Korean numerals, while yet others take both.
- 종이 두 장(張) (jong-i du jang, “two sheets of paper”, native numeral)
- 이 분(分) (i bun, “two minutes”, Sino-Korean numeral)
- 서른/삼십 명(名) (seoreun/samsip myeong, “thirty people”, both sets possible)
Recently loaned classifiers generally take Sino-Korean numerals.
For many terms, a native numeral has a quantifying sense, whereas a Sino-Korean numeral has a sense of labeling.
- 세 반(班) (se ban, “three school classes”, native numeral)
- 삼 반(班) (sam ban, “Class Number Three”, Sino-Korean numeral)
When used in isolation, native numerals refer to objects of that number and are used in counting and quantifying, whereas Sino-Korean numerals refer to the numbers in a more mathematical sense.
- 하나만 더 주세요 (hanaman deo juseyo, “Could you give me just one more, please”, native numeral)
- 일 더하기 일은? (Il deohagi ireun?, “What's one plus one?”, Sino-Korean numeral)
While older stages of Korean had native numerals up to the thousands, native numerals currently exist only up to ninety-nine, and Sino-Korean is used for all higher numbers. There is also a tendency—particularly among younger speakers—to uniformly use Sino-Korean numerals for the higher tens as well, so that native numerals such as 일흔 (ilheun, “seventy”) or 아흔 (aheun, “ninety”) are becoming less common.