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Do you know the special counter for bags of rice? Find out at the end of this video!
Hi everybody! I'm Alisha.
안녕하세요. 노경진입니다.
Welcome to Korean Counters for Beginners, where you'll learn how to count all sorts of different objects in Korean! Seonsaeng-nim (선생님), what counter will we learn in this lesson?
(pause) 개 (gae)
First, let's take a look at what sorts of objects can be counted with the counter.
When counting inanimate objects in general, you can use this counter.
개 (gae)
This counter can be translated as "thing" in English. Although it's better to use the specific counters that we're going to learn in the following lessons, you can use this counter for any inanimate object in general. For example, you can count apples with this counter as well as pens. When you're not sure which counters to use for inanimate objects, you can simply use this one. But you can't use it when you're counting animate objects such as dogs or people.
Okay, let's count from 1 to 10 with this counter. Seonsaeng-nim will give you the numbers one by one. Repeat after her.
한 개
두 개
세 개
네 개
다섯 개
여섯 개
일곱 개
여덟 개
아홉 개
열 개
Did you notice that the counter sounded different when she read it for the numbers 5 to 10? Those numbers have the batchim, or the final consonant in a Korean syllable, so it makes the counters sound stronger, a process that is called fortis. Let's hear them once again.
"For number 5, it's dasseo kke (다섯 깨) not dasseo gae(다섯 개)
For number 6, it's yeseokkae (여섯 깨) not yeseot gae (여섯 개)
For number 7, it's ilgopkkae (일곱 깨) not ilgopgae (일곱 개)
For number 8, it's yeodeol kkae (여덟 깨) not yeodeol gae(여덟 개)
For number 9, it's ahop kkae (아홉 깨) not ahop gae (아홉 개)
For number 10, it's yeol kkae (열 깨) not yeol gae(열 개)"
Okay. Now let's take a look at some sample sentences using this counter.
사과 세 개를 살 겁니다. (sagwa se gaereul sal geomnida.)
I'll buy 3 apples.
펜 다섯개 주세요. (pen daseot kkae juseyo.)
Can you give me 5 pens, please?
건물이 열 개 있습니다. (geonmuri yeol gae isseumnida.)
There are 10 buildings.
It's now time for a quiz. I'm going to ask you a question in English. Answer the question in Korean. Are you ready? Make sure to use the right counter.
How many umbrellas are there?
우산이 열 개 있습니다. (usani yeol gae isseumnida.)
How many computers do you have?
컴퓨터를 두 개 갖고 있습니다. (keompyuteoreul du gae gakko isseumnida.)
Do you know the special counter for bags of rice? Rice is the main ingredient in Korean dishes, so it has a special counter just for the bags. The answer is...
가마 (gama)
You need to use this counter to specify how many bags of rice. If you say...
쌀 한 가마 주세요. (ssal han gama juseyo.)
It means, "Please give me one bag of rice". When you count a grain of rice, you can use the counter 톨(tol) instead.
Okay, everyone. That's it for this lesson. I'll see you next time!

20 Comments

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KoreanClass101.com Verified
Friday at 06:30 PM
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What other objects can you count with this counter?

KoreanClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 11:55 PM
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Hi Email,


Thank you for posting. This is a great question and also a difficult one. Even the National Institute for the Korean Language does not have a clear answer to this (as there are various studies that try to explain how it changes). But to try to make it simpler:


‘한’ is a determiner which needs a phrase (or counter) to follow it, whereas ‘하나’ is a numeral which does not need anything accompanying it. So you would not say 저기 사과 하나 개가 있어요 (x), but you would say 저기 사과 한 개 있어요(o).

The best thing would be to try to remember these numeric phrases and counters.

Hope this was of help.


Sincerely,

Lyn

Team KoreanClass101.com

Email
Friday at 10:02 PM
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Hi.


Why do some numbers change and others don't? 한, not 하나, for example?

KoreanClass101.com Verified
Wednesday at 11:20 AM
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Hi Rick,


Thanks for posting. ~대 is the proper counter, but ~개 can be used to count everything (that is non-living).


Cheers,

Lyn

Team KoreanClass101.com

Rick
Monday at 01:10 PM
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I thought computers,electronics and machinery were counted with 대 instead 개?

KoreanClass101.com
Wednesday at 06:02 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi Greg,


Thanks for commenting. Regarding your question on 'rice', when counting the actual rice kernels themselves, the counter would be '톨'. However, when referring to a 'bag' of rice, the counter is '가마'. So please keep this in mind! 😄


Cheers,

Lyn

Team KoreanClass101.com


KoreanClass101.com
Wednesday at 05:58 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi Greg,


Thank you for posting. That is a good way to remember your vocabulary! 😄

Keep up the good work.


Cheers,

Lyn

Team KoreanClass101.com

Greg B
Friday at 07:00 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

2/15/19


In Spanish, "cama" means "bed." To help me remember gama/kama I imagine carrying a bag of rice, quite heavy, got me so exhausted, when it was time to sleep, I I used that bag as my bed.

Greg B
Friday at 06:45 PM
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2/15/19


Proofreader might have missed this:


펜 다섯개 주세요. (pen daseot kkae juseyo.)

How many computers do you have?

쌀 한 가마 주세요. (ssal han gama juseyo.)

Can you give me 5 pens, please?

컴퓨터를 두 대 갖고 있습니다. (keompyuteoreul du dae gakko isseumnida.)

It means, "Please give me one bag of rice". When you count a grain of rice, you can use the counter 톨(tol) instead.


Note the sequence: Talks/asks about pen, then computer, then rice, instead of going with pen question then pen answer etc.


From koreanclass101.com/lesson/korean-counters-for-beginners-1-gae


KoreanClass101.com Verified
Wednesday at 01:59 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi Denise,


Thank you for posting.


For more details on Korean Sentence Structure, please check out:

https://www.koreanclass101.com/lesson/all-about-3-basic-korean-grammar/

https://www.koreanclass101.com/lesson/introduction-to-korean-3-introduction-to-korean-grammar/

https://www.koreanclass101.com/lesson-library/must-know-korean-sentence-structures/


You can also refer to our Grammar bank:

https://www.koreanclass101.com/korean-grammar/


We hope this helps! In case of any questions, please feel free to contact us.


Sincerely,

Cristiane

Team KoreanClass101.com

Denise
Wednesday at 10:40 PM
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Hi - Is there a related lesson where the grammar structure related to using counters in the sentence is explained in more detail (e.g - the order of words)?

Thanks!