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A Study on Arabic Numeral Expressions in English-Korean Translation

Kwak, Eun Joo 1 Kim, Sejung 1

1세종대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

An arabic number is one of the most common methods for expressing quantity in English and Korean written texts. However, English and Korean languages have quite different numeral systems in spite of using the same arabic numbers. While English has a single system for numeral expressions, Korean has dual systems, i.e. the native Korean numbers and the Sino-Korean numbers. Thus, English has only one way to read arabic numbers, whereas Korean has two ways. Choices between these two kinds of numerals depend on the types of numeral unit nouns, which are needed by nearly all Korean nouns. In Korean arabic numeral expressions, ‘arabic number+unit', the arabic number could read in two ways according to the types of the unit words. This study investigates the relationship between Korean arabic numbers and numeral unit words, and factors affecting their choices in English-Korean translation. The first important factor is the degree of formality in a text. Arabic numbers and Sino-Korean units are widely used in newspapers, whereas numerals and numeral units tend to be native Korean ones in novels. The second factor to affect the selection of numeral expressions is unit words. Each unit word has its preferred numeral type, but numbers with a few unit words are read in either way depending on their meanings. The typical usage of arabic numeral expressions is found in both Korean and English. However, in Korean, the distinction between the native Korean and the Sino-Korean numeral systems is quite crucial in meaning. Therefore, in English to Korean translation, a translator should choose arabic numeral expressions carefully considering a text type and the choice of unit words.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.