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Thread: Punctuation of numbers in Korean

 
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    Default Punctuation of numbers in Korean

    I came across an interesting point with numbers in Korean.

    In English, units of counting change by the thousands, whereas in Korean, units change by the ten-thousands. Despite this linguistic difference, Koreans use the thousand separator (,) in written numbers exactly as it is used in English-speaking countries.

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    Moderator solg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Punctuation of numbers in Korean

    That's a tough one! It's hard to remember...

    In Japanese, the numbers are also divided in units of four. I think this follows the Chinese tradition.

    So, a number such as 10.000 is actually 1.0000. In kanji, it would be 一万, "ichi man". (1, followed by the unit man --the four zeros).

    And 1.000.000 becomes 100.0000. 百万, "hyaku man". 100, followed by man.

    Kanji are easier to understand. I sometimes still need to make the conversion in my head, but it's not as confusing as "100.0000" /(@゚ペ@)

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    Senior Member iyuanobi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Punctuation of numbers in Korean

    Correct. Both Japanese and Korean have their counting system based on the ancient Chinese calculation system.
    The reason why this difference is because there are two different systems:

    The positional notation or place-value notation vs. sign-value notation.
    The positional one is what is now used commonly in the society, which you are all familiar with.
    In the case of sign-value notation, it was the pre-historic way of writing numbers and only gradually evolved into place-value notation, also known as positional notation.
    The most simple examples are the Roman numerals represented by letters such as X equals ten; L, fifty; etc.


    The particular feature of this counting method is that when it comes to a number, it is given a name/symbol to represent it. For example, in Chinese, 1000 is "千", 10,000 is "万", and 12 is "打". This notation was commonly used in ancient Egyptian civilization, ancient Greek civilization and widely used in the Babylonian civilization. I guess this is because of the simple idea that when you represent it all with symbols, you can picture the value in just a quick glance.

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    Default Re: Punctuation of numbers in Korean

    Is this an arbitrary decision? I mean, changing the position of the period looks to be a decision made once western numbers got to the Far East. According to iyuanbi, numbers were quite different before.

    So, was there a special consideration when it came to deciding the position of the period?

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    Senior Member iyuanobi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Punctuation of numbers in Korean

    Quote Originally Posted by francot View Post
    Is this an arbitrary decision? I mean, changing the position of the period looks to be a decision made once western numbers got to the Far East. According to iyuanbi, numbers were quite different before.

    So, was there a special consideration when it came to deciding the position of the period?
    Well, far as I know the sign-value notation was way much older than the invention of Roman numbers. So I guess, people´s way of thinking just evolved with the passing of time and now we are commonly using the positional notation because of the globalization.

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