|From:||Sanghyeon Seo <sanxiyn@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, March 10, 2005, 3:34|
In recent Tatari Farn McGuffey Readers thread, Roger Mills remarked:
> It has occurred to me more than once, w.r.t Tatari Faran, that your
> complements might be compared to the use of "classifiers" in counting,
> esp. in Asian languages.
> (Malay, Japanese, Chinese mentioned)
Don't blame me for using this as a chance to introduce an elaborate
system of Korean counting words. :-)
First, some samples: (Hangul and pronunciation)
나무 두 그루, 종이 한 장, 버섯 다섯 송이, 사과 세 알, 개 네
마리, 사람 여섯 명
[namu tu k14u, coNi han caN, pVsVt tasVt soNi, sagwa se al,
k& ne ma4i, sa4am yVsVt mjVN]
Which can be translated as "two trees, one paper, five mushrooms, three
apples, four dogs, six persons", or "two stumps of trees, a sheet of paper,
five bunches of mushrooms, three grains of apples, four heads of dogs,
six names of persons".
Word order is always "things to be counted", "number", and then
Flower and grape are counted in same unit as mushroom ([soNi]). Seed
and rice, also egg are counted as apple ([al]). Most animals are counted
in same unit ([ma4i]), but horses are counted in [p_hil]. Oops, that's not
completely true, cattles may be counted in [gjV4i].
Some oddities: house, palanqueen, bedquilt, ginseng is counted in same
unit, [c_h&]. Sword, gun, but also pen (rather, writing brush) is counted in
same unit, [ca4u]. Vegetables and grass are counted in [p_hogi]. Age of
person is counted in [sal]. Rooms are counted in [k_han]. There are
specific units to count cuttlefish, octopus, mackerel. Generic counting
unit is [g&].
I once saw an entire dictionary devoted to these stuffs in the bookstore.
Diachronically, it seems there weren't *this* many counting words in
Middle Korean around 15th century. It seems more and more counting
units, especially loans from Chinese, were added one by one, until
somewhat in 19th century. Interestingly, Modern Korean is slowly losing
all these complexities, substituting [g&] for specific units in more cases.