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How To Tell Time In Korean?: 6 Easy Steps

March 4, 2022

Can you imagine a world without time? Time --“시간” (Sigan) is significant in our everyday life. You will even need it on your trip to Korea! So we have created an easy 6-step guide for you to learn how to tell the time in Korean.

Just like what The Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland said, "If you know Time as well as I do, you wouldn't want to waste it." This just shows how important time is. Once it has passed, you can never go back. You can never change what has been done. You just have to continue and make each second better and worth it.

Time has a lot of importance in our life. If you're running late or have lots of time on your hands, only time will tell. Also, when you're off to work, school, or just meeting your friends, it can assist you in catching a train, bus, or aircraft on time. It can tell you whether you'll be late or early for an important gathering. 

We can also recall that telling time is one of the first lessons that are taught at home and in school. Knowing how to determine the time by gazing at a typical clock is also necessary for comprehending time zones and foreign times. It can also help children improve their physical, cognitive, and arithmetic skills.

So, in this blog, let's discover how to tell the time in Korean. This will be very helpful, especially if you're having a trip to South Korea. But, don't worry because it will just take you a few steps to learn.

 

The Time Zone In South Korea

South Korea Time Zone

Let's begin with some background history about South Korea's time zone. Back in 1954, the South Korean government, led by President Syngman Rhee, changed the time zone to UTC+08:30. Then, in 1961, under President Park Chung-military hee's regime, the standard time was restored to UTC+09:00. Currently, Korea Standard Time (abbreviated KST) is the only time zone being used in South Korea. Although the country does not observe daylight saving time, it did so during the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.

 

An Easy Guide On Telling Time In Korean Language

Ride on a time machine and go back to your early days when you are being taught how to tell time. But now, you'll be learning how to say it in Korean, along with other related Korean words. Remember, just like what Alice in Wonderland says, "It is no use going back to yesterday because I was a different person then." So, use this precious time to learn something new!

Here are six simple steps to follow:

  • Master Korean Number Systems (Native Numbers And Sino-Korean Numbers)
  • Know The Korean Word For "Hours."
  • Discover How To Say "Minutes" In Korean
  • Master Telling Time In Korean
  • Learn How to Differentiate AM And PM In Korean
  • Learn When To Use 12hr Clock Or 24hr Clock

Ready to start? Scroll down for more details on how to learn the time in Korean!

Time in Korean | --시간 sigan

1. Master Korean Number Systems (Native Numbers And Sino-Korean Numbers)

The first step is to learn the native Korean numbers and Sino-Korean numbers. In this language, just a quick lesson: there are two numerical systems: the native Korean system and the Sino-Korean system. The native numbers are utilized for items (1-99) and age, but the Sino-Korean system uses Chinese digits for dates, money, addresses, phone numbers, and numbers over 100.

When you are telling time in Korean, the combination of two numbers is needed. You will use the Native Korean numbers for telling hours and the Sino-Korean for the minutes and seconds.

To make bigger numbers, you have to "stack" them on top of each other. You begin with the "tens" number and work your way down to the "ones." This applies to both counting methods. Here are the examples:

  • Native Korean: 열 (yeol) “10” + 하나 (hana) “one” = 열하나 (yeolhana) "eleven"
  • Sino-Korean 십 (sip) “10” + 일 (il) “one” = 십일 (sibil) “eleven”

Now that you have that clear, let's learn all the Korean numbers that you will be using. Check the table below:

Numeral Native Korean (Korea System) Sino-Korean (China System)
1 하나 (hana) 일 (il)
2 둘 (dul) 이 (i)
3 셋 (set) 삼 (sam)
4 넷 (net) 사 (sa)
5 다섯 (daseot) 오 (o)
6 여섯 (yeoseot) 육 (yuk)
7 일곱 (ilgop) 칠 (chil)
8 여덟 (yeodeol) 팔 (pal)
9 아홉 (ahop) 구 (gu)
10 열 (yeol) 십 (sip)
11 열하나 (yeolhana) 십일 (sibil)
12 열둘 (yeoldul) 십이 (sibi)
13   십삼 (sipsam)
14   십사 (sipsa)
15   십오 (sipo)
16   십육 (sipyuk)
17   십칠 (sipchil)
18   십팔 (sippal)
19   십구 (sipgu)
20   이십 (isip)
21   이십일 (isipil)
22   이십이 (isipi)
23   이십삼 (isipsam)
24   이십사 (isipsa)
25   이십오 (isipo)
26   이십육 (isipyuk)
27   이십칠 (isipchil)
28   이십팔 (isippal)
29   이십구 (isipgu)
30   삼십 (samsip)
31   삼십일 (samsipil)
32   삼십이 (samsipi)
33   삼십삼 (samsipsam)
34   삼십사 (samsipsa)
35   삼십오 (samsipo)
36   삼십육 (samsipyuk)
37   삼십칠 (samsipchil)
38   삼십팔 (samsippal)
39   삼십구 (samsipgu)
40   사십 (sasip)
41   사십일 (sasipil)
42   사십이 (sasipi)
43   사십삼 (sasipsam)
44   사십사 (sasipsa)
45   사십오 (sasipo)
46   사십육 (sasipyuk)
47   사십칠 (sasipchil)
48   사십팔 (sasippal)
49   사십구 (sasipgu)
50   오십 (osip)
51   오십일 (osipil)
52   오십이 (osipi)
53   오십삼 (osipsam)
54   오십사 (osipsa)
55   오십오 (osipo)
56   오십육 (osipyuk)
57   오십칠 (osipchil)
58   오십팔 (osippal)
59   오십구 (osipgu)

2. Know The Korean Word For "Hours."

시 (Si) or 시간 (Sigan)- Hour

The next thing you need to learn in telling time in Korean is the word "hours." To say "hours", use 시 (Si) or 시간 Sigan. 시 (si) is for telling time (4 o'clock = | nesi), whereas 시간 (sigan) is for expressing a quantity of time (4 hours = | ne sigan).

Remember, when telling hours, use the Native Korean numbers 하나, 둘, 셋 (hana, dul, set). Check the examples below:

Time in English Hangul (Korean) Romanization
one o’clock 한 시 han si
two o’clock 두 시 du si
three o’clock 세 시 se si
four o’clock 네 시 ne si
five o’clock 다섯 시 da-seot si
six o’clock 여섯 시 yeo-seot si
seven o’clock 일곱 시 il-gob si
eight o’clock 여덟 시 yeo-deol si
nine o’clock 아홉 시 a-hop si
ten o’clock 열 시 yeol si
eleven o’clock 열한 시 yeol-han si
twelve o’clock 열두 시 yeol-du si

3. Discover How To Say "Minutes" In Korean

분 (Bun) - Minutes

Of course, we cannot learn about time if we do not learn how to say minutes. Korean use the word 분 (Bun) to indicate minutes. Telling minutes is different from telling hours. You must use the Sino-Korean number system to tell the minutes. It can also be used to tell the exact time as well as the duration. It may sound a little confusing at first, but you will get used to it with practice!

Minutes in English Hangul (Korean) Romanization
Five minutes 오분 obun
Six Minutes 육분 yukbun
Ten minutes 십분 sipbun
Twenty minutes 이십분 isipbun
Thirty-five minutes 삼십오분 samsibobun
Forty-two minutes 사십이분 sasibibun
Fifty-one minutes 오십일분 osibilbun
Fifty-nine minutes 오십구분 osipgubun

4. Master Telling Time In Korean

Try to get your Korean friends to help you with your learning journey. There is nothing better than practicing with native speakers who can advise you. Start practicing on your own as well. Instead of telling the time in your language, say it in Korean until you feel familiar with the number systems.

Now that you have learned how to tell hours and minutes in Korean, simply put them together as the example below:

  • 8:15 - 여덟시십오분 | yeodeolsi sibobun
  • 4:30 = 네시 반 | naesi ban

Tell Time In Korean Using These Words

Hangul (Korean) Romanization English Translation
한 시 십오분 han si sib-obun It's quarter past one
한 시 삼십분
한 시 반
han si samsibbun
han si ban
It's half past one
한 시 사십오분 han si sasib-obun It's quarter to two
두 시 십오분 du si sib-obun It's quarter past two
두 시 삼십분
두 시 반
du si samsibbun
du si ban
It's half past two
두 시 사십오분 du si sasib-obun It's quarter to three
세 시 십오분 se si sib-obun It's quarter past three
세 시 삼십분
세 시 반
se si samsibbun
se si ban
It's half past three
세 시 사십오분 se si sasib-obun It's quarter to four
네 시 십오분 ne si sib-obun It's quarter past four
네 시 삼십분
네 시 반
ne si samsibbun
ne si ban
It's half past four
네 시 사십오분 ne si sasib-obun It's quarter to five
다섯 시 십오분 daseos si sib-obun It's quarter past five
다섯 시 삼십분
다섯 시 반
daseos si samsibbun
daseos si ban
It's half past five
다섯 시 사십오분 daseos si sasib-obun It's quarter to six
여섯 시 십오분 yeoseos si si sib-obun It's quarter past six
여섯 시 삼십분
여섯 시 반
yeoseos si si samsibbun
yeoseos si ban
It's half past six
여섯 시 사십오분 yeoseos si si sasib-obun It's quarter to seven

5. How Can I Differentiate AM And PM In Korean?

It's simpler than you may think! You might also be wondering about how to specify AM or PM. In Korean, it's simple. For AM, use 오전 (ojeon) which means "morning" and for PM, use 오후 (ohu) which means "afternoon."

However, you might also hear the word 아침 (achim) when referring to morning. The only difference between the two is that 오전 (ojeon) is used from early morning until noon, while on the other hand, 아침 (achim) includes only early morning (breakfast time, going to school, or going to work.). This rule also applies to 오후 (ohu) used for the afternoon, and 저녁 (jeonyeok) to represent the end of the day and beginning of the night.

Remember that in Korean, you should insert the necessary words before denoting AM or PM.

6. Learn When To Use 12hr Clock Or 24hr Clock

Just like the clocks in different parts of the world, there's also a 12hr and 24hr clock in Korean. So if you're wondering when to use the 24-hour clock, it's mostly used in airplane terminals, and bus and TV schedules. What's interesting about this is that only the Chinese (Sino-Korean) number system is used in the 24-hour clock (even for hours).

 

How To Say "What Time Is It?" In Korean?

Now that you have learned how to tell the time. Let’s learn how to say "what time is it?" in Korean, as well as other important and related words that will come in handy. You might also want to check Ling App to make this lesson more fun and engaging!

Hangul (Korean) Romanization English Translation
지금 몇 시지? jigeum myeoch siji? What time is it?
우리 몇시에 만날까요? uri myeot sie mannalkkayo? What time should we meet?
박물관은 오전 아홉(9)시에 문을 열어요 bangmulgwaneun ojeon ahop(9)sie muneul yeoreoyo The museum opens at 9 am.
나는 오전 열(10)시부터 오후 여덟(8)시까지 일해요 naneun ojeon yeol(10)sibuteo ohu yeodeol(8)sikkaji ilhaeyo I work from 10 am until 8 pm.
나는 오전 여덞(8)시 전에 학교에 가요 naneun ojeon yeodeom(8)-si jeone hakgyoe gayo I go to school before 8 am.
나는 오전 6(여섯)시 30(삼십)분이 지나 일어나요 naneun ojeon 6(yeoseot)-si 30(samsip)buni jina ireonayo I wake up at 6.30 am.
십오(15)분 동안 휴식을 취해요 sibo(15)bun dongan hyusigeul chwihaeyo I take a break for 15 minutes.

 

It's Time To Learn Korean Now!

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As the days go by, lots of people realize the perks of knowing how to speak many languages. Waste no more time and start learning Korean now!

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