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How to tell time in Kannada

Telling time in Kannada is quite simple. Just follow the article and tell time in Kannada in no time!

Surya Siddhanta

Statue of Sun God Surya in Thailand
Sun God Surya portrayed in Thailand

Since time immemorial, timekeeping has been an unbroken tradition across many ancient civilisations. One of the oldest time-keeping treatises, Surya Siddhanta, talks about heavenly bodies, planetary motion and their calculations, it also can be used to calculate seasons based on lunar motion. India is a land known for its traditions and rituals; those rituals are based on lunisolar time-keeping methods. We in India have a hoary tradition of time management to conduct rituals. Since the earlier known times, knowing the correct time and hour of the day was very important to our ancestors and hence, we have had a scientific system for measuring time for many millennia.

Mokshagundam Srinivasa Shastry Vishveshwarayya, Sir MV
Sir M V

Karnataka is the land of scholars and industrious people. As early as the beginning of the current era, in the first few centuries, scholars and mathematicians of the Jain persuasion contributed immensely towards scientific and philosophic advancement of the discussion, be it about metaphysics or about time and its nature. People in Karnataka are known to be soft-spoken and accommodating, however, they are also known to be very professional, in the modern sense of the word, and therefore, are also very conscious of the time and its value. One of the leading role models of such qualities is none other than Sir Mokshagundam Srinivasa Shastry Vishveshwarayya, popularly known as Sir MV, who was the 19th Diwan of the Mysore Kingdom. Among the many qualities that made him a statesman par excellence, he was also known for being very punctual and mindful of the time and its value. 

Time-related vocabulary and phrases in Kannada

Chart with Kannada words for time

Telling time in Kannada if the time is on the hour

Telling time in Kannada

Telling time in Kannada

Hours and minutes in Kannada

If dealing with the first half of the Hour like 9.05, we will say ಈಗ ಸಮಯ ಒಂಬತ್ತು ಘಂಟೆ ಐದು ನಿಮಿಷ ಆಗಿದೆ Iga samaya oMbattu ghaMTe aidu nimiSha Agide.

If dealing with the second half of the Hour like 3.55, we will say ಈಗ ಸಮಯ ಮೂರು ಘಂಟೆ ಐವತ್ತೈದು ನಿಮಿಷ ಆಗಿದೆ ಅಥವಾ ನಾಲ್ಕು ಘಂಟೆಗೆ ಐದು ನಿಮಿಷಗಳಿವೆ Iga samaya mooru ghaMTe aivattaidu nimiSha Agide athavA nAlku ghaMTege aidu nimiShagaLive.


Use of half-past, quarter-past, and quarter to in Kannada

In Kannada, we use the term ವರೆ (vare) for half-past. For example, 4.30 will be ನಾಲ್ಕುವರೆ ಘಂಟೆಯಾಗಿದೆ (nAlkuvare ghaMTeyAgide).

In Kannada, we use the term ಕಾಲು (kAlu) for quarter-past. For example, 5.15 will be ಐದುಕಾಲು ಘಂಟೆಯಾಗಿದೆ (aidukAlu ghaMTeyAgide).

In Kannada, we use the term ಮುಕ್ಕಾಲು (mukhAlu) for quarter-to. For example, 6.45 will be ಆರುಮುಕ್ಕಾಲು ಘಂಟೆಯಾಗಿದೆ (ArumukkAlu ghaMTeyAgide).

Some key points to remember when telling time in Kannada

There is no exception for saying 1.30 and 2.30 in Kannada unlike Hindi or other northern Indian languages. For example, for both 1.30 and for 2.30 we either use the term ವರೆ (vare) or say the numbers, as in ಮುವತ್ತು (muvattu). That is, ಒಂದುವರೆ or ಎರಡುವರೆ (oMduvare or eraDuvare) or ಒಂದು ಘಂಟೆ ಮುವತ್ತು ನಿಮಿಷ (oMdu ghaMTe muvattu nimiSha) or ಎರಡು ಘಂಟೆ ಮುವತ್ತು ನಿಮಿಷ (eraDu ghaMTe muvattu nimiSha).

The Twelve-Hour Clock –   Due to the prevalence of the twelve-hour clock in India rather than the twenty-four-hour clock, Kannada as well uses the phrase of the day to describe the hour rather than am or pm.  For instance:

5 p.m. would be expressed as ಸಾಯಂಕಾಲ / ಸಂಜೆ ಐದು ಘಂಟೆ (sAyaMkAla / saMje aidu ghaMTe)

6 a.m. would be expressed as ಮುಂಜಾನೆ / ಬೆಳಿಗ್ಗೆ ಆರು ಘಂಟೆ (muMjAne / beLigge Aru ghaMTe)

2 p.m. would be expressed as ಮಧ್ಯಾಹ್ನ ಎರಡು ಘಂಟೆ (madhyAhna eraDu ghaMTe)

Knowing the right terms and words while speaking any language provides you with the mastery over the language that is often expected of you by native speakers. At the same time, using them appropriately opens many doors to the hearts of the native speakers too. While doing that, if you can show that you are punctual and take time seriously, you endear yourself to the speakers of that language. Happy learning.


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