Korean numbers (edit)
 ←  7 8 9  → 
    Native isol.: 여덟 (yeodeol)
    Native attr.: 여덟 (yeodeol)
    Sino-Korean: (pal)
    Ordinal: 여덟째 (yeodeoljjae)


First attested in the Seokbo sangjeol (釋譜詳節 / 석보상절), 1447, as Middle Korean 여듧 (Yale: yetulp). Also attested in the Beonyeok nogeoldae (飜譯老乞大 / 번역노걸대), 1517, as Middle Korean 여ᄃᆞᆲ (Yale: yetolp).

Jeju ᄋᆢᄃᆞᆸ demonstrates that the immediate pre-fifteenth century form was *ᄋᆢᄃᆞᆲ (*yotolp). The Seoul dialect underlying the Middle Korean corpus had a merger of ᄋᆢ (yo) and (ye) which was still relatively recent by the invention of the alphabet in the 1440s. Beyond this, the ultimate reconstruction of the ancestral Koreanic root for "eight" is difficult. See a list of relevant attestations and forms in Appendix:Historical Koreanic numerals#Eight.


Revised Romanization?yeodeol
Revised Romanization (translit.)?yeodeolb
Yale Romanization?yetelp
  • In Contemporary Korean, the underlying phonemes of 여덟 is 여덜 /jʌtʌl/, without the consonant cluster implied by the orthography. Hence, it is pronounced with /l/ even when followed by a vowel-initial particle: 여덟이 is realized as 여더리 [jʌ̹dʌ̹ɾi], not 여덜비 [jʌ̹dʌ̹ɭbi]. Nonetheless, the latter pronunciation is still considered prescriptively correct, although virtually never followed in practice.


여덟 (yeodeol)

  1. (native numeral) eight
    Synonym: () (pal, eight, Sino-Korean numeral)

Usage notesEdit

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.

Some Sino-Korean classifiers take native numerals, others take Sino-Korean numerals, while yet others take both.

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.

  • 반(班) (se ban, three school classes, native numeral)
  • 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.

  • 하나 주세 (hana-man deo juse-yo, Could you give me just one more, please, native numeral)
  • 더하기 ? (Il deohagi ir-eun?, 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.