Easy Ways To Tell Date And Time In Cantonese

Date and time are part of our daily life. When you’re happy, you will wish the date 日期 (jat6 kei4) and time 時間 (si4 gaan3) to stop. In Hong Kong, knowing the date and time in Cantonese will be helpful in different situations. It can be used to book flights, restaurant reservations and observe shops, malls, and museum hours.

Telling date and time in the Cantonese language is similar to how it’s done in the English Language. So, all you have to do is learn Cantonese vocabulary about date and time. However, it would be best if you also considered learning the right pronunciation of each word and Chinese character. With the pronunciation, I’m pretty sure Ling App can make it happen.


Traditional Chinese Calendar Vs Modern Calendar

In Hong Kong, they make use of two types of calendars. The first one is the 農曆 (nung4 lik6), 舊曆 (gau6 lik6), or 陰曆 (jam1 lik6), which is known as the Traditional Chinese Calendar. This calendar is lunisolar, and it based its months, days according to astronomical phenomena. Hong Kongers also use this calendar as a basis for conducting funerals, weddings, or starting a business.

Hong Kong also uses the Gregorian calendar, which is the calendar that is also used in most countries in the world.

Date and Time in Cantonese

Date Format In Cantonese

Knowing how to write the date in Cantonese is important. Of course, you can do it in English but, it still nice to learn how to write and say it in Cantonese. This will help you take note of important dates to remember like your flight, important celebrations and holiday, and even birthdays of your friends and family. Here is how times are written in Cantonese.

[year]年 [month]月 [day]日 (nin4 / jyut6 / jat6).

This format is also used in different parts of the world, so it would not be hard for you to understand. What you need to do is to learn how to state months, days, and years in Cantonese. You will learn this as you go further on this blog.

Years In Cantonese – 年 (nin4)

Another important thing to learn about dates and times in Cantonese is the years. Giving the year in Cantonese is very interesting because, unlike in other languages, Cantonese reads each digit individually. For example, in the year 2021, when read in English, we would say (Two thousand twenty-one / Twenty twenty-one) But, for Cantonese, you would say (Two, Zero, Two, One).

Here are some examples of years in Cantonese.

CantonesePinyinEnglish Translation
二零一九年ji6 ling4 jat1 gau2 nin4The year 2019
 二零j二零年ji6 ling4 ji6 ling4The year 2020
二零j二一年ji6 ling4 ji6 jat1 nin4The year 2021

Months Of The Year -月 (yut6)

In Cantonese, the character 月 (yut6) is used for the word “month.” To state the month in Cantonese, add the number order of the month before 月 (yut6). For example, January is the 1st month in a year so, you would say jat1 (1st) yut6 (month). Check out examples below for the Cantonese term for other months.

CantonesePinyinEnglish Translation
一月jat1 yut6January
 二月ji6 yut6February
三月saam1 yut6March
四月sei3 yut6 April
五月ng5 yut6May
 六月luk6 yut6 June
七月cat1 yut6 July
八月baat3 yut6August
九月gau2 yut6September
十月sap6 yut6October
十一月sap6 jat1 yut6November
十二月sap6 ji6 yut6December

Days in Cantonese – 日 (jat6

Writing day of the month in Cantonese is almost the same as what other countries do. 日 (jat6) is the Chinese character for “day.” So if you want to express day in Cantonese, add the number in front of the Chinese character 日 (jat6).

Example: baat3 jat6 (8th of the month)

Take note!

  1. Written and spoken form of stating dates is different.
  2. Use the Chinese character 日 (jat6) for writing. Use teh Chinese character 號 (hou6) for spoken
  3. Replace 二十 (ji6 sap6) with 廿 (jaa6) when speaking.
CantonesePinyinEnglish Translation
一日jat1 jat61st
二日ji6 jat6 2nd
三日saam1 jat63rd
四日sei3 jat64th
五日 ng5 jat65th
六日luk6 jat66th
七日cat1 jat6 7th
八日baat3 jat68th
九日gau2 jat6 9th
十日sap6 jat610th
十一日sap6 jat1 jat611th
十二日sap6 ji6 jat612th
十三日sap6 saam1 jat613th
十四日sap6 sei3 jat614th
十五日sap6 ng5 jat615th
十六日sap6 luk6 jat616th
十七日sap6 cat1 jat617th
十八日sap6 baat3 jat618th
十九日sap6 gau2 jat6 19th
二十日ji6 sap6 jat6 20th
二十一日ji6 sap6 jat1 jat621st
二十二日 ji6 sap6 ji6 jat622nd
二十三日ji6 sap6 saam1 jat6  23rd
 二十四日 ji6 sap6 sei3 jat6 24th
二十五日 ji6 sap6 ng5 jat625th
二十六日 ji6 sap6 luk6 jat626th
二十七日 ji6 sap6 cat1 jat627th
二十八日 ji6 sap6 baat3 jat628th
二十九日ji6 sap6 gau2 jat629th
三十日saam1 sap6 jat630th
三十一日saam1 sap6 jat1 jat631st

Days Of The Week

After learning the months of the year, you should also learn the days in a week. Here is the list of Cantonese days of the week.

CantonesePinyinEnglish Translation
星期日sing1 kei4 jat6Sunday
星期sing1 kei4 jat1Monday
星期二sing1 kei4 ji6Tuesday
星期三sing1 kei4 saam1Wednesday
星期四sing1 kei4 sei3Thursday
星期五sing1 kei4 ng5Friday
星期六sing1 kei4 luk6Saturday

Time In Cantonese – 時間 (si4 gaan1)

Telling time in Cantonese is pretty similar to how it is done in English. Start reading the hour, and the minute, then the time of the day.


Let us first talk about hours. Here are ways on how to tell the time in Cantonese:

number of hour (1 – 12) + 點 (dim2)

CantonesePinyinEnglish Translation
jat1 dim21 o’clock
兩點loeng5 dim22 o’clock
三點saam1 dim23 o’clock
四點sei3 dim24 o’clock
五點ng5 dim25 o’clock
六點luk6 dim26 o’clock
七點cat1 dim27 o’clock
八點baat3 dim28 o’clock
九點gau2 dim29 o’clock
十點sap6 dim210 o’clock
十一點sap6 jat1 dim211 o’clock
十二點sap6 ji6 dim212 o’clock

Minutes – 分鐘 (fan1 zung1).

After learning the hour, let us learn how to tell the time in Cantonese, including the minutes. To express hours and minutes, say the hour, then add the number (1-59) to the Chinese character 分 (fan1).

Take note! For numbers 1-9, we’ll add “0” in front, just like in English.

hour + 點 (dim2) + number of minutes past the hour

Here are some examples:

CantonesePinyinEnglish Translation
點零五分jat1 dim2 ling4 ng5 fan11:05
四點二十八分sei3 dim2 ji6 sap6 baat3 fan14:28
八點四十四分baat3 dim2 sei3 sap6 sei3 fan18:44
十一點五十一分sap6 jat1 dim2 ng5 sap6 jat1 fan111:51
十二點五十九分sap6 ji6 dim2 ng5 sap6 gau2 fan112:59

Quarters – 十五分鐘 (sap6 ng5 fan1 zung1)

For quarters, use the following:

FromToWhen To Use?
三 saam1十五分 sap6 ng5 fan1for 15
半 bun3三十分 saam1 sap6 fan1for 30
九 gau2四十五分 sei3 sap6 ng5 fan1for 45

Times Of The Day In Cantonese

You should also know the different times of the day when you are learning about dates and times in Cantonese. You also encounter some of these terms in learning the Basic Greetings in Cantonese.

CantonesePinyinEnglish Translation
朝早jiu1 jou2morning
上晝soeng6 zau3a.m. / morning (spoken language)
晏晝aan3 zau3noon
下晝ha6 jau3afternoon
下晝haa6 zau3p.m. / afternoon (spoken language)
白天baak6 tin1daytime 

Other Vocabulary Related To Time And Date In Cantonese

Part of learning the date and time in Cantonese is expanding your vocabulary. Here is some vocabulary that you can add to your list.

CantonesePinyinEnglish Translation
日曆jat6 lik6calendar
每日mui5 yat6every day
禮拜lai5 baai3Week (casual)
星期sing1 kei4Week (both formal and casual)
週末jau1 mut6 Weekend
平日ping4 yat6Weekday
日期jat6 kei4Date
今日gam1 yat6Today (casual)
今天gam1 tin1mToday (formal)
尋日cam4 jat6Yesterday (casual)
 昨天zok3 tin1 Yesterday (formal)
聽日 ting1 yat6 Tomorrow (casual)
明天ming4 tin1Tomorrow (formal)
前日cin4 jat6The day before yesterday
後日hau6 jat6The day after tomorrow
下個月ha6 go3 yut6next month
閏年日jeon6 nin4 jat6Leap year day
一分鐘yat1 fan1 zung1a minute
一秒yat1 miu5a second
⋯(-1)點九⋯(-1)dim2 gau2…quarter to
⋯點半⋯dim2 bun3.. half
⋯點三⋯dim2 saam1…quarter past
一個鐘yat1 go3 zung1an hour
而家yi4 ga1now
之前ji1 chin4before
之後ji1 hau6after
同時tung4 si4meanwhile
就嚟zau6 lai4soon
就快zau6 faai3almost
廿四小時jaa6 sei3 siu2 si424-hours
出年ceot1 nin2next year
 舊年gau6 nin2last year
光年gwong1 nin4light year

Let’s Practice Your Vocabulary About Date And Time In Cantonese

Had fun learning date and Time in Cantonese? Learning Cantonese and other languages will be easier when you practice a lot and use it in conversations. Below is some vocabulary about dates and times in Cantonese that will help you master your skills in written and spoken form.

CantonesePinyinEnglish Translation
五月三十一日是世界無煙日ng5 jyut6 saam1 sap6 jat1 jat6 si6 sai3 gaai3 mou4 jin1 jat6May 31st is World No Smoking Day.
我 逢 星 期 一 去 游 水。ngo5 fung4 sing1 kei4 yat1 heui3 yau4 seui2。I swim every Monday.
我 哋 逢 周 末 去 學 唱 歌。ngo5 dei6 fung4 jau1 mut6 heui3 hok6 cheung3 go1。We learn to sing every weekend.
佢 每 個 月 都 去 街 市 買 嘢。keui5 mui5 go3 yut6 dou1 heui3 gaai1 si5 maai5 ye5。She goes shopping at the market every month.
我 每 日 都 行 返 學。ngo5 mui5 yat6 dou1 haang4 faan1 hok6。I walk to school every day.
今 日 係 假 期。gam1 yat6 hai6 ga3 kei4。Today is a holiday.
元 旦 喺 一 月 一 日。yun4 daan3 hai2 yat1 yut6 yat1 yat6。New Year’s Day is on January 1st.
十二月三十一日是除夕sap6 ji6 jyut6 saam1 sap6 jat1 jat6 si6 ceoi4 zik6December 31st is New Year’s Eve.
情 人 節 喺 二 月 十 四 日。ching4 yan4 jit3 hai2 yi6 yut6 sap6 sei3 yat6。-Valentine’s Day is on February 14th.
聖 誕 節 喺 十 二 月 二 十 五 日。sing3 daan3 jit3 hai2 sap6 yi6 yut6 yi6 sap6 ng5 yat6。Christmas is on December 25th.
 我們在六月結婚ngo5 mun4 zoi6 luk6 jyut6 git3 fan1We are getting married in June.
下年見!haa6 nin2 gin3!See you next year!
幾點鐘?gei2 dim2 zung1What time is it?
而 家 朝 早 七 點。yi4 ga1 jiu1 jou2 chat1 dim2。It is 7 a.m.
而家十二點ji4 gaa1 sap6 ji6 dim2It’s now 12 o’clock.

It’s Time To Learn Cantonese!

Life is too short to limit yourself to learning another language. Your love for your own native language is irreplaceable but, would it hurt you to expand your horizons, connect to more people, and discover different cultures. You have just learned about the date and time in Cantonese. With that, you’re up to a good start. Do not waste any year, month, or day. Make it worth it! Learn Cantonese using Ling App now!

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