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Learn: How to tell time in Tamil

Being able to tell time is an important part of language learning. Read below for an exhaustive lesson on how to tell time in Tamil.

Telling Time in Tamil

Time is an integral part of human life. Imagine a world without time and its management. What utter chaos? Whether it is waking or sleeping our daily schedule centres around time.

time is precious

Regardless of region, culture, country or people the learner of any new language has to know how to converse in the language of that place. To learn to tell the time in the regional language, knowing the basics of telling the time, is important so that conversing with the locals becomes comprehendible.

map of Tamil Nadu
Map of Tamil Nadu 

Tamil Nadu is a state full of temples and steeped in religious tradition and culture. Whether you are visiting Tamil Nadu for a vacation or for a business meeting the place has a lot to offer you in terms of food, culture and music. To help you learn the basics of time we have created the Tamil time telling guide and here it goes.

Time-related vocabulary and phrases

wrist watch on a wrist

English               Tamil

time                      Nēram

hour                     Maṇi

O'clock                 Maṇi

morning                Kālai

afternoon              Matiyam

evening                Cāyaṅkālam

what time is it?     Maṇi Eṉṉa?

what's the time     Eṉṉa nēram


If the time is on the hour                                                              

ENGLISH                                    TAMIL

It’s one o’clock- Mani onnu (one) ākiviṭṭatu.
It’s two o’clock - Mani rendu (two) ākiviṭṭatu.
It’s three o’clock - Mani moonu (three) ākiviṭṭatu.
It’s four o’clock - Mani naalu (four) ākiviṭṭatu.
It’s five o’clock - Mani aanjee (five) ākiviṭṭatu.
It’s six o’clock - Mani aaru (six) ākiviṭṭatu.
It’s seven 0’clock - Mani yelu (seven) ākiviṭṭatu.
It’s eight o’clock - Mani yettu (eight) ākiviṭṭatu.
It’s nine o’clock - Mani vombadu (nine) ākiviṭṭatu.
It’s ten o’clock - Mani patthu (ten) ākiviṭṭatu.
It’s eleven o’clock - Mani paddhinonu (eleven) ākiviṭṭatu.
It’s twelve o’clock - Mani panandu (twelve) ākiviṭṭatu.


 Hours+ minutes in Tamil

If dealing with the first half of the Hour like 9:05, we will say 9:05 Pōṉṟa maṇinērattiṉ mutal pātiyaik kaiyāḷvatu eṉṟāl, nām kūṟuvōm

If dealing with the second half of the Hour like 3.55, we will say 3.55 Pōṉṟa maṇiyiṉ iraṇṭām pātiyaik kaiyāḷvatu eṉṟāl, nām colvōm

Use of half-past, quarter-past and quarter to in (Tamil)

Half- past means arrai (half)

So for e.g. 1.30 means vondu (one) arrai mani

                    3.30 means moond (three) arrai mani

                    5.30 means aanjai (five) arrai mani

Quarter past

 For e.g. 1.15 means onne kaal mani

                 2.25 means rende kaal mani

                 3.15 means moonai kaal mani

                 5.15 means aanjai kaal mani

Quarter to means mukkaal mani

For e.g. 1.45 means onnai mukkaal mani

                2.45 means rende mukkaal mani

                3.45 means moonai mukkaal mani

                6.45 means aar mukkaal mani

Points to remember

Tamil and time

There is an exception for saying 1.30 and 2.30 in (Tamil). For 1.30 we use onu arrai maṇi and for 2.30 we use the term rendu arrai maṇi.

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

5 p.m. would be expressed as   Mālai 5 maṇi (மாலை 5 மணி)

6 a.m. would be expressed as   Kālai 6 maṇi (காலை 6 மணி)

2 p.m. would be expressed as    Matiyam 2 maṇi (மதியம் 2 மணி)

To become fluent in Tamil knowing how to tell the time alone is not enough. It is important that you have the complete learning plan with the vocabulary, simple grammar explanations speaking practice and Language Curry offers you all this under one learning umbrella!

Language Curry is an app you can trust for language learning. It provides the most relevant Tamil words and phrases voiced out by native speakers, so you won't have to waste time learning unimportant ones. The "Time" and “Number and Denomination” tab in the Vocab section will help you gain a better understanding of how to tell the time in Tamil by giving you phrases and examples.  Most of all, learn conveniently because, with Language Curry App, you don't have to be worried about strict schedules. You can learn anywhere and anytime you want. 

cover image: Balancing Rock at Mahabalipuram

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4 Forbidden Questions One Should Never Ask A Tamilian 

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