Learn more about how to tell time in Hawaiian
This lesson continues on from 0514G Telling Time On The Hour in which the basic structure for telling time in Hawaiian is introduced. Make sure you understand that lesson first before moving into this one.
In this lesson, you will learn how to tell the time on the half hour. Here are some examples:
- It’s 6:30 (“six-thirty” or “half past six”)
- It’s half past three.
- It’s 8:30 in the morning.
- It’s 12:30 in the afternoon.
- It’s nine-thirty at night.
Notice that in English there are a couple of common ways to express the half-hour. In Hawaiian, we only use one which makes things easier for us to learn!
Time On the Half-Hour
The structure of the half-hour phrase is very similar to the on-hour structure. You just need to add the word hapalua before the hour. The word hapalua (which means “half”) is built from the words hapa (part) and lua (two).
Pepeke Model For 2:30
It is half-past two.
(lit., this is half hour (past) two)
Here are some examples of time on the hour and the half-hour with audio available by clicking on the text:
|ʻO ka hola ʻelua kēia.||2:00||It’s 2 o’clock|
|ʻO ka hapalua hola ʻelua kēia.||2:30||It’s half-past two.|
|ʻO ka hola ʻeono kēia.||6:00||It’s six o’clock.|
|ʻO ka hapalua hola ʻeono kēia.||6:30||It’s six thirty.|
|ʻO ka hola ʻumi kēia.||10:00||It’s now 10 o’clock.|
|ʻO ka hapalua hola ʻumi kēia.||10:30||It’s now 10:30.|
You may be asking, “How is it that using the word for a half (hapalua) along with the hour can mean ‘a half-past the hour’ and not ‘a halfway to the coming hour’?” It’s a fair question, but to understand the answer will take you learning a little more Hawaiian grammar, for there is a missing modifier (kāhulu) in the phrase which can be left unspoken. The full phrase would be “ʻO ka hapalua (hola) kēia i hala ka hola x” (where “x” is the hour number). We almost always shorten it down to “ʻO ka hapalua hola x kēia” however, and that’s the form you should learn for now.
Add The Time Period
Do you remember the basic time periods we learned in the previous lesson, 0514G Telling Time On The Hour? They were ahiahi, pō, aumoe, wanaʻao, kakahiaka, awakea, and ʻauinalā. Here’s a reminder should you need it.
Seven Basic Time Periods
- ahiahi – late in the day, when you start to notice the dimming of daylight and feel like it’s time to stop work and go back home; evening.
- pō – when it’s dark enough to see stars in the sky, all the way through the turning of the Milky Way and until light breaks the horizon line; night.
- aumoe – in the middle of the night, when all is quiet and still and not even the pueo (owl) stirrs; this time ends well before the eastern sky starts to brighten and well before any roosters crow. It’s the time when the menehune were said to be active.
- wanaʻao – when the eastern sky starts to brighten enough to wake up the roosters and the sky gains its beautiful purple tint; continues as the sky becomes orange in color.
- kakahiaka – from when it’s light enough in the early morning to see where you are going without an artificial light, and it’s time to get going for the day; morning.
- awakea – when the sun is over and above your shoulders and head and you feel perhaps it’s time to get out of the hot sun for a rest and something to eat; midday.
- ʻauinalā – when the sun is visibly making its curving descent towards the western horizon; after a rest, time to think about wrapping up the day; afternoon.
As in the previous lesson, we will add the time period phrase to the end of our clock time. Notice that we do not need to translate the “a.m.” or “p.m.” designations into Hawaiian; what we add instead are the appropriate time period designations as described above.
It is also possible to add the time period in English of course —saying “It’s 3:30 p.m.” is the same as “It’s 3:30 in the afternoon” for example. But in spoken Hawaiian, we should only add the time of day description and not say “3:30 pī mū.”
That’s a great example of how Hawaiian style can differ from English style when building sentences in your mind; it’s a wonderful thing and you should be sure to celebrate that difference as you learn Hawaiian so that your Hawaiian doesn’t just sound like English spoken with Hawaiian words.
So here are some examples of adding the time of day designation to half-hour phrases:
|ʻO ka hapalua hola ʻelua kēia.||2:30||It’s two-thirty.|
|ʻO ka hapalua hola ʻelua kēia o ka pō.||2:30 a.m.||It’s 2:30 a.m.|
|ʻO ka hapalua hola ʻeono kēia.||6:30||It’s half-past six.|
|ʻO ka hapalua hola ʻeono kēia o ke ahiahi.||6:30 p.m.||It’s 6:30 in the evening.|
When you actually write the times in Hawaiian, you can indeed use the “a.m.” and “p.m.” designations; but when you read those times back, use the appropriate time period designations that we have been going over in this and the previous lessons.
Now time for practice…
Practice Exercises and Answers
Once again, it’s your turn to practice! Don’t forget that you should follow this simple set of suggestions:
- write the questions out yourself so you can practice writing Hawaiian
- say the questions to yourself by reading them out loud
- write the answers
- say your answers several times out loud
Note: Press and hold with your mouse on the answer link underlined in orange to see my answer for each question. On touch-based devices like iPads and phones, click on the disclosure triangle below each set of exercises to see the answers.
“ʻO ka hola ʻehia kēia?” (What time is it now?)
- ʻO ka hola ʻehia kēia? 4:30
- ʻO ka hola ʻehia kēia? 7:30
- ʻO ka hola ʻehia kēia? 9:30
- ʻO ka hola ʻehia kēia? “Half-past One”
- ʻO ka hola ʻehia kēia? It’s 11 o’clock
- ʻO ka hola ʻehia kēia? It’s now 2:00
- ʻO ka hola ʻehia kēia? “It’s now six thirty”
- ʻO ka hola ʻehia kēia? 5:30
All Answers for Basic Exercises
|1||4:30||ʻO ka hapalua hola ʻehā kēia.|
|2||7:30||ʻO ka hapalua hola ʻehiku kēia.|
|3||9:30||ʻO ka hapalua hola ʻeiwa kēia.|
|4||Half-past one.||ʻO ka hapalua hola ʻekahi kēia.|
|5||It’s 11 o’clock.||ʻO ka hola ʻumikūmākahi kēia.|
|6||It’s now 2:00.||ʻO ka hola ʻelua kēia.|
|7||It’s now six thirty.||ʻO ka hapalua hola ʻeono kēia.|
|8||5:30||ʻO ka hapalua hola ʻelima kēia.|
Time and Part of Day Exercises
Include the part of the day in your answers, as explained above. Pretend you are responding to an imaginary friend who is asking you the time:
- ʻO ka hola ʻehia kēia? It’s now 4:30 a.m.
- ʻO ka hola ʻehia kēia? It’s 7:30 p.m.
- ʻO ka hola ʻehia kēia? 9:30 in the morning.
- ʻO ka hola ʻehia kēia? It’s now half-past one after lunch.
- ʻO ka hola ʻehia kēia? It’s 1 o’clock in the middle of the night.
- ʻO ka hola ʻehia kēia? 2 o’clock in the afternoon.
- ʻO ka hola ʻehia kēia? It’s now six thirty in the morning!
- ʻO ka hola ʻehia kēia? It’s 5:30 p.m.
Answers for Time & Part of Day Exercises
Note that alternate answers are provided where the position of the sun in the sky at that time of day might make one of the answers more appropriate than the other.
|It’s now 4:30 a.m.||ʻO ka hapalua hola ʻehā kēia o ke kakahiaka|
ʻO ka hapalua hola ʻehā kēia o ka wanaʻao.
|It’s 7:30 p.m.||ʻO ka hapalua hola ʻehiku kēia o ke ahiahi.|
|9:30 in the morning.||ʻO ka hapalua hola ʻeiwa kēia o ke kakahiaka.|
|It’s now half-past one after lunch.||ʻO ka hapalua hola ʻekahi kēia o ke awakea.|
ʻO ka hapalua hola ʻekahi kēia o ka ʻauinalā.
|It’s 1 o’clock in the middle of the night.||ʻO ka hola ʻekahi kēia o ke aumoe.|
|2 o’clock in the afternoon.||ʻO ka hola ʻelua kēia o ka ʻauinalā.|
|It’s now six thirty in the morning!||ʻO ka hapalua hola ʻeono kēia o ke kakahiaka!|
|It’s 5:30 p.m.||ʻO ka hapalua hola ʻelima kēia o ke ahiahi.|
The upcoming lesson in this series on time, 0516G: Time On The Quarter Hour is still being written. Check back soon; meanwhile, don’t forget to use what you have learned here every day so that you can understand times used in texts and conversation, and so that you can write and speak the same!