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Specifying hours in Thailand : the six-hour clock

The six-hour clock is a traditional timekeeping system used in Thailand alongside the official twenty-four-hour clock. Like the other common systems, it counts twenty-four hours in a day, but divides the day into four quarters, counting six hours in each.

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The six-hour clock is a traditional system used in Thailand

The six-hour clock is a traditional timekeeping system used in Thailand alongside the official twenty-four-hour clock. Like the other common systems, it counts twenty-four hours in a day, but divides the day into four quarters, counting six hours in each.

From 6-11am, the word Mong Chao morning hour is used after the Thai numbering. For example, 9am is Gao Mong Chao, and here, nine means Gao. From 2-4pm, the word Baai afternoon is put before the Thai numbering at each hour, followed by Mong hour.

The six-hour clock is a traditional system used in Thailand

The six-hour clock is a traditional timekeeping system used in Thailand alongside the official twenty-four-hour clock. Like the other common systems, it counts twenty-four hours in a day, but divides the day into four quarters, counting six hours in each.

These terms are believed to have originated from the sounds of traditional timekeeping devices. The gong was used to announce the hours in daytime, and the drum at night. Hence the terms mong, an onomatopoeia of the sound of the gong, and thum, that of the sound of the drum. Ti is a verb meaning to hit or strike, and is presumed to have originated from the act of striking the timekeeping device itself. Chao and bai translate as morning and afternoon respectively, and help to differentiate the two daytime quarters.

The sixth hours of each quarter are told by a different set of terms. The sixth hour at dawn is called yam rung (ย่ำรุ่ง, [jâm rûŋ]), and the sixth hour at dusk is called yam kham (ย่ำค่ำ, [jâm kʰâm]), both references to the act of striking the gong or drum in succession to announce the turning of day (yam), where rung and kham, meaning dawn and dusk, denote the time of these occurrences. The midday and midnight hours are respectively known as thiang (เที่ยง, [tʰîaːŋ], or thiang wan, เที่ยงวัน, [tʰîaːŋ wān]) and thiang khuen (เที่ยงคืน, [tʰîaːŋ kʰɯ̄ːn]), both of which literally translate as middayand midnight.

6-hourSimplified 6-hour24-hour
MeaningThaiRTGSNotesThaiRTGSISO
1 early morningตีหนึ่งti nuengnueng = oneตีหนึ่งti nueng01:00
2 early morningตีสองti songsong = twoตีสองti song02:00
3 early morningตีสามti samsam = threeตีสามti sam03:00
4 early morningตีสี่ti sisi = fourตีสี่ti si04:00
5 early morningตีห้าti haha = fiveตีห้าti ha05:00
6 in the morningตีหก,
ย่ำรุ่ง
ti hok,
yam rung
hok = sixหกโมงเช้าhok mong chao06:00
1 in the morningโมงเช้าmong chaoเจ็ดโมงchet mong07:00
2 in the morningสองโมงเช้าsong mong chaoแปดโมงpaet mong08:00
3 in the morningสามโมงเช้าsam mong chaoเก้าโมงkao mong09:00
4 in the morningสีโมงเช้าsi mong chaoสิบโมงsip mong10:00
5 in the morningห้าโมงเช้าha mong chaoสิบเอ็ดโมงsip et mong11:00
middayเที่ยงวันthiang wanเที่ยง(วัน)thiang (wan)12:00
1 in the afternoonบ่ายโมงbai mongบ่ายโมงbai mong13:00
2 in the afternoonบ่ายสองโมงbai song mongบ่ายสอง(โมง)bai song (mong)14:00
3 in the afternoonบ่ายสามโมงbai sam mongบ่ายสาม(โมง)bai sam (mong)15:00
4 in the afternoonบ่ายสี่โมงbai si mongสี่โมงเย็น,
บ่ายสี่โมง
si mong yen,
bai si mong
16:00
5 in the afternoonบ่ายห้าโมงbai ha mongห้าโมงเย็น,
บ่ายห้าโมง
ha mong yen,
bai ha mong
17:00
6 in the eveningหกโมงเย็น,
ย่ำค่ำ
hok mong yen,
yam kham
หกโมงเย็นhok mong yen18:00
1 at nightหนึ่งทุ่มnueng thumหนึ่งทุ่มnueng thum19:00
2 at nightสองทุ่มsong thumสองทุ่มsong thum20:00
3 at nightสามทุ่มsam thumสามทุ่มsam thum21:00
4 at nightสี่ทุ่มsi thumสี่ทุ่มsi thum22:00
5 at nightห้าทุ่มha thumห้าทุ่มha thum23:00
midnightหกทุ่ม,
เที่ยงคืน,
สองยาม
thiang khuen,
hok thum,
song yam
เที่ยงคืน,
หกทุ่ม
thiang khuen,
hok thum
24:00,
00:00

For instance, 2pm is Baai Song Mong. Obviously, Song refers to two. The exception is for 1pm, when you say Baai Mong, and 5-6pm is Ha Mong Yen five evening hour and Hok Mong Yen six evening hour respectively.From 7-11pm, the Thai words are Nueng Tum, Song Tum all the way to Ha Tum, which is 11pm.

Midnight is Tiang Keun, while midday is Tiang One.And as five is Ha in Thai, that is why 555 is often used in text messaging by Thais for their laughter as hahaha.It will take some time to learn how to say the time correctly. If you still find it too difficult, stick to the western way, for most Thais understand it anyway.

Source: MET107FM

via Specifying time and  Wikipedia

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