I learned that 마디 could be used as a countword for words. Indeed, the dictionary has examples like "한 마디도 안 했다" - I didn't say a word.

However, I'm reading an article (here, unfortunately behind a paywall) about word frequencies, and some data given includes a corpus (collection of texts; 말뭉치 in Korean) with a 마디수 of 2,881,175 and 어절의 수 of 529,758. I know 어절 is used to denote a string of text delimited by spaces (so the word + all the endings is 1 어절), but then what is 마디수? Is it morphemes, or syllables, or something else?

If it's each morpheme (base word and all endings counted separtely), then the ratio isn't high enough (there should be about 1.8 morphemes per 어절 in Korean, from my experience).

  • "I learned that 마디 could be used as a counter for words". However according to dictionaries, it should be a counter for sentences. So I am doubting the numbers you've given, maybe they were swapped.
    – user237
    Jul 29, 2016 at 6:30
  • The ratio looks like it's syllabic blocks. I can't be sure though.
    – busukxuan
    Aug 24, 2016 at 9:12
  • Note that, 마디 is a syntactic word, the one separated by spaces. Sep 29, 2018 at 16:38
  • And 한마디 here is a single compound word, meaning “a short comment.” It should not have a space in it. Sep 29, 2018 at 16:39

2 Answers 2


I guess this article cites the same source.

말뭉치의 이름 마디수 어절의 수 연세말뭉치1 (정찬섭 말뭉치) 2,881,175 529,758 균형 말뭉치 연세말뭉치2 (정영미 말뭉치) 1,107,363 193,192

The footnote says:

17) 이는 띄어쓰기를 구분자로 하여 말뭉치 자료의 양을 나타내는 단위로, 일반적인 ‘어절’과 거의 같은 개념으로 볼 수 있다. 그러나 실제 자료에서는 규범으로서의 띄어쓰기의 규정을 완전히 적용한 예는 보기 드물며, 또한 일관된 원칙으로 통일하기에도 어려움이 있다. 따라서, 이 때의 ‘마디’란 실제 언어 자료에서 ‘띄어쓰기’로 되어 있는 낱낱의 단위를 일컫는다.

In short, the term 마디 has almost the same meaning as 어절 in the article.

24) 아래 표의 ‘마디수’는 해당 말뭉치의 모든 표본에서 추출된 마디수 전체의 합을, ‘어절수’는 각 말뭉치에서 추출된 ‘각기 다른 어절’의 유형의 수를 나타낸다.

So 2,881,175 is the number of all 마디 and 529,758 is the number of unique 어절.


The meaning of the noun '마디' doesn't seem to be well-defined. According to No. 7 definition of the link, it says

[Linguistics] (synonym: 절 clause) 주어와 술어를 갖추었으나 독립하여 쓰이지 못하고 다른 문장의 한 성분으로 쓰이는 단위. A unit of a sentence which has a subject and predicate, but can't be used independently.

The linked Wikepedia article on '절 (언어학)' seems to confirm it.

절은 어떠한 품사처럼 행동하는가에 따라 다음과 같이 나뉜다.

체언절 (=이름마디) 명사절 관형절 (=매김마디) 부사절 (=어찌마디) 용언절 (=풀이마디)

절은 문장 내에서 어떠한 통사적 기능을 담당하는가에 따라 다음과 같이 나눌 수 있다.

주어절 (=임자마디) 목적절 (=부림마디) 보어절 (=기움마디) 술어절 (=풀이마디, 서술절)

It is possible that there might be another definition of '마디' in the link you posted, but it seems weird to use '마디' in that way.


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