How To Tell Time In Korean?: 6 Easy Steps

Original blog post:

Can you imagine a world without time? Time — 시간 sigan is significant in our everyday life. So, in this blog, we will 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. Learning how to tell time can 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 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.

South Korea Time Zone

South Korea’s time zone has a lot of history. The South Korean government, led by President Syngman Rhee, changed the time zone to UTC+08:30 in 1954. Then, in 1961, under President Park Chung-military hee’s regime, the standard time was restored back to UTC+09:00. Korea Standard Time (abbreviated KST) is the only time zone in South Korea. Although South Korea does not now observe daylight saving time, it did so during the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.

A 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, this time, you’ll be learning about Korean time and other Korean words related to time. 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 how to tell the time in Korean. Here are six simple steps.

1. Learn The Native Korean Numbers And Sino-Korean Numbers

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

In 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 in Korean, they are “stacked” on top of each other. You begin with the “tens” number and work your way down to the “ones.” This is true for 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”

So, let us learn the numbers used in telling time in Korean. Check the table below:

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

3. Discover How To Say “Minutes” In Korean

분 (Bun) — Minutes

Of course, we cannot learn about time in Korean 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.

4. Master Telling Time In Korean

In learning how to tell the time in Korean, it will be nice if you have your Korean friends with you to help you in your journey. Now that you have learned how to tell hours and minutes in Korean, just put it together to tell the time in Korean. See the example below:

8:15 — 여덟시십오분 (yeodeolsi sibobun)

4:30 = 네시 반 | naesi ban


Spaces generally separate these Korean terms. However, when it comes to telling time in hours and minutes, there isn’t any room. Always remember this when you are telling time in Korean.

Tell Time In Korean Using These Words

5. Differentiating AM And PM In Korean

You might also be wondering about how to specify AM or PM. In Korean, it’s simple. For AM, use 오전 (ojeon) which literally means “morning” and for PM, use 오후 (ohu) which means “evening.”

However, you might also hear the word 아침 (achim) when referring to morning. The only difference between the two is that 오전 (ojeon) includes early morning until noon while 아침 (achim) early morning (breakfast time, going to school, or going to work.). This rule also applies to 오후 (ohu) and. 저녁 (jeonyeok) in evening. 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, bus schedules, 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).

Korean Words About Time In Korean Language

Now that you have learned how to tell the time in Korean. let us now learn more words related to time in Korean. You might also want to check Ling App to make this lesson more fun and engaging in practicing and learning.

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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