All about that dates - Year, Month, day

Continuing on the topic of numbers.

Expressing week, month, year and dates usually only require simple numbers. Learn them so you don’t miss your appointments!

Let’s start with days!

Days in Cantonese is known as 日(sun or day)(Dummy PY: Yat), sometimes you might also see 天(sky or day) (Dummy PY: Teen) in formal speech or written contexts. The reason why the Sun, 日, is used to represent days is because, back in the days people observed the movements of the sun, for the cycle from Sunrise to sunset, that was then recognized as a day 日.

What about weeks?

Little bit of background:

I have heard that the system of weeks originated from ancient Babylon and ancient Jewish Countries. In China, on the other hand, weeks started with astrology 七曜 (The Seven luminaries) (Dummy PY: Chat Yeuk), was known as the Sun, the moon, and 5 other planets in The Shang and Zhou Dynasties (1600 BC) Still used by Japan, South Korea, and North Korea. In 1905, when the Ching Dynasty officially canceled the imperial examination system that lasted for over 1000 years and later started gathering info for forming its own system. In 1909, they decided to unify the weeks, 7 days a week, and called the word week in Cantonese星期 (Dummy PY: Sing Kay), literally the period of the stars, 星 (Dummy PY: Sing) means star, normally HKers called stars 星星 (Dummy PY: Sing Sing). Like I said, the original weeks were based on astrology, they originally wanted to name the days of the week with the names of the stars and planet 日(Dummy PY: Yat)、月(Dummy PY: Yuet)、火 (Dummy PY: Fo)、水(Dummy PY: Shui)、木(Dummy PY: Muk)、金 (Dummy PY: Gum)、土 (Dummy PY: Told), literally Sun, moon, fire, water, wood, gold, and soil. But because they felt it was not too easy to be remembered, they decided to use the numbers 1-6, with the exception of Sunday, which kept the word sun日 instead. Hence now Monday is known as 星期一 literally the 1st of the period of stars, Tuesday is 星期二, 2nd of the period of stars and etc. Pretty easy right?

Monday- 星期一

(Dummy PY: Sing Kay Yat)

Tuesday - 星期二

(Dummy PY: Sing Kay Yee)

Wednesday - 星期三

(Dummy PY: Sing Kay Sarm)

Thursday - 星期四

(Dummy PY: Sing Kay Say)

Friday - 星期五

(Dummy PY: Sing Kay Um)

Saturday - 星期六

(Dummy PY: Sing Kay Look)

Sunday - 星期日

(Dummy PY: Sing Kay Chat)

Now let’s take a look at the months.

Back in the Chinese new year, I kind of already introduced that there is the lunar calendar, and the western gregorian calendar that is used more widely in Hong Kong. Months are very easy, in Cantonese, it is called 月(moon or month), formally it is called 月份. The reason why the word 月is used to represent months is that the rough time for the moon to circle around the Earth roughly takes about a month. Now because there are 12 months in a year, in Chinese or Cantonese, we simply use numbers 1-12 to represent January to December.

January- 一月

(Dummy PY: Yat yuet)

February- 二月

(Dummy PY: Yee yuet)

March - 三月

(Dummy PY: Sarm yuet)

April - 四月

(Dummy PY: Say yuet)

May - 五月

(Dummy PY: Um yuet)

June - 六月

(Dummy PY: Look yuet)

July - 七月

(Dummy PY: Chat yuet)

August - 八月

(Dummy PY: Bat yuet)

September - 九月

(Dummy PY: Gow yuet)

October - 十月

(Dummy PY: Sup yuet)

November - 十一月

(Dummy PY: Sup Yat yuet)

December - 十二月

(Dummy PY: Sup Yee yuet)

How about the year?

Back in the Chinese new year episode, I have already mentioned that year is 年 (Dummy PY: Neen). That is, when the earth circles around the sun for one round. Other than using the word year 年 as a unit, you also need to add it after the date, say like this year is year 2020, you would say 二零二零年 (Dummy PY: Yee Link Yee Link Neen), instead of just 2020 like in English.

For dates, we usually read the date by the following format, year, month and date, 年月日 (Dummy PY: Neen Yuet Yat), to read the year, you would usually read it out digit by digit, so say for example, we would say 二零二零年 literally 2-0-2-0 year, instead of 二千零二十年 (Dummy PY: Yee chin link yee sup neen) like two thousand and twenty, just as in English. So remember, you read the year digit by digit. Then you would say the month, then the date. One more thing to add about the date, I mentioned day is 日 or 天, but when you read a date out loud, the character 號 (Dummy PY: Ho) often replaces the character日(which is more formal to say in terms of reading the date, but of course if you say 日 it is still understood) So for example, today is March 5th, 2020, in Cantonese I would read it as 二零二零年三月五號 (Dummy PY: Yee link yee link neen sarm yuet um ho), usually in mandarin, they would say 日as often as 號.

Finally, I just want to quickly introduce the words for today, tomorrow and yesterday.

What is the date today? In Cantonese we would say 今日幾多號丫? (Dummy PY: Gum Yat gay door ho ah?) Just like telling time, do you remember? 宜家幾多點? (Dummy PY: Yee Ga gay door Dim) 幾多 (Dummy PY: Gay door) means how many or how much, 號 is like I said date, 今日 means today. What about yesterday? Yesterday is 琴日 (Dummy PY: Kum Yat), so what was the date yesterday? 琴日幾多號丫? (Dummy PY: Kum Yat Gay Door Ho Ah?)For tomorrow, it’s 聽日 (Dummy PY: Ting Yat), so what is the date tomorrow? 聽日幾多號丫? (Dummy PY: Ting Yat Gay Door Ho ah?)

Today - 今日

(Dummy PY: Gum Yat)

Yesterday - 琴日

(Dummy PY: Kum Yat)

Tomorrow - 聽日

(Dummy PY: Ting Yat)