# Why does the number 0 (zero) not have its own Korean native numeral?

The number zero (0) does not really have a Korean native numeral of its own. In fact, the only way to say zero in Korean is by Hanja: Yeong (영) or Gong (공).

I'm very tempted to say that it's because the whole concept of zero had never existed in the Korean numeral system, considering the fact that it also wasn't really part of the Roman Numerals, as the Romans used the Latin word "nulla" (which means "none") instead of a Roman numeral alongside their mathematics. So that means... the Koreans had used something like "없음" (which means "absent" or "nonexistent") instead of their own numeral? The number zero wasn't actually invented back then.

(Also, on a side note: in modern/contemporary days today, when writing (alongside?) Roman numerals, instead of writing the Latin word "nulla", we write the Arabic numeral 0, which is a real number and not just a symbol that represents nothing, in order to indicate zero. So 0/1/2/3/4 becomes 0/I/II/III/IV.)

Anyway, the point here is: Why didn't the number 0 actually have a Korean native number of its own?

• No relevant materials have been found so far (reference). They guess that there was no need to create a word other than 영 and 공 that had originated from Chinese. As a side note, the Korean consonant ㅇ relates to 0 (reference). ㅇ looks almost the same as 〇; 〇 exactly means zero (0). One Hanja dictionary I have uses 〇 with other Chinese numerals to indicate page numbers.
– Klmo
Dec 28, 2019 at 10:11
• @Klmo - you mean, 영/하나/둘/셋 etc, like 0/I/II/III? Read the part about the RNs. But, 영/하나/둘/셋 etc IS true, right.
– user2563
Dec 28, 2019 at 14:49
• I do not understand your comment. Please clarify your points. // This is off-topic, but people prefer to say 영, 일, 이, 삼 rather than 영, 하나, 둘, 셋.
– Klmo
Dec 28, 2019 at 22:01
• "Zero" is probably a more specific concept in Mathematics than "absent" or "null" in daily language. If old Korean literature in mathematics was done in Classical Chinese, then the more specific concept of "zero" is probably borrowed from there. Dec 28, 2019 at 22:09