After learning numbers, you may probably learn how to speak “Time”. It is a good topic to start conversation like weather. Similar to English, we have different ways to express it. As you know, some clocks are marked with the numbers 1 to 12 (see the picture below). It represents the hour, but in Cantonese, the numbers have another meaning. Normally people divide an hour into 60 minutes, but we sometimes divide an hour into 12 parts. For example, the following clock shows six-twenty. We say 六點二十分 (meaning six o’clock and twenty minutes) or more commonly we say *六點四 (meaning six o’clock and four “5 minutes), for this expression is shorter than the first one. As I know, such expression you do not find in North part of China or Taiwan, only Cantonese! There is an article written by a university professor in Hong Kong. He was from North part of China. He expressed how convenient is to use “一個字” to represent 5 minutes.
* The full term of 六點四 is 六點四個字.
“Making the most of every opportunity”, life is short and limited!
In the following video, you will learn how to say it and how to ask what time it is.
Try to read the clock in Cantonese.
In the next video, you can learn asking more questions about time and period of time.