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  5. "Saa kumi kamili"

"Saa kumi kamili"

Translation:Four o'clock

March 4, 2017



Etymology (kamili)

From Arabic كَامِل ‎(kāmil).


kamili (invariable)

1) complete, entire

From Wiktionary: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/kamili


If you're wondering why 'kamili' is there this the Swahili way of saying '4 on the dot'.


Why add kamili and then make it wrong to write exactly in the English translation. Why not just say four c'clock?


Because time in Swahili has a six hour difference with time in English and most languages. The day begins with the sunrise, at one in the morning, and ends with the sunset, at one in the evening, which would be 7 AM and 7 PM in English.


If 1:00 in the morning is sunrise, is there a morning hour before the rising of the sun?


According to https://www.spokenswahili.com/blog/telling-the-time-in-swahili/ it would be "12 in the morning", "saa Kumi na mbili asubuhi".


Saa moja is one hour after sunrise. Sunrise is at 6 so Saa moja is seven am.


So, how would one say "4:00 exactly"?


4:00 AM is also "saa kumi asubuhi", and 4:00 PM is "saa kumi mchana", I think so. ;)

Here the list of examples (Swahili phrasebook):

To say the time in Swahili, you need to add (or subtract) 6 from the English time. 7:00 in America will be expressed as the first hour (1:00) in Swahili. AM is expressed with asubuhi (morning, 4.00 to 11.59) or usiku (night, midnight to 3.59) and PM is typically marked with mchana (daytime, noon to 7.59) or usiku (night, 8.00 to 11.59). Because the daytime begins at 4 AM, hours from midnight to 3.59 AM will be expressed with usiku, as these are nighttime hours in Swahili. Jioni (evening) can be used in place of mchana for last 2 hours of mchana, i.e. 6.00 PM to 7.59 PM.

1 o'clock AM

saa saba usiku

2 o'clock AM

saa nane usiku

3 o'clock AM

saa tisa usiku

4 o'clock AM

saa kumi asubuhi

5 o'clock AM

saa kumi na moja asubuhi

6 o'clock AM

saa kumi na mbili asubuhi

7 o'clock AM

saa moja asubuhi

7.15 AM

saa moja na robo asubuhi

7.20 AM

saa moja na dakika ishirini asubuhi

7.30 AM

saa moja na nusu asubuhi

7.45 AM

saa mbili (kasoro robo = kasorobo) asubuhi

7.50 AM

saa mbili kasoro dakika kumi asubuhi

8 o'clock AM

saa mbili asubuhi

9 o'clock AM

saa tatu asubuhi

10 o'clock AM

saa nne asubuhi

11 o'clock AM

saa tano asubuhi

Noon (12 o'clock PM)

saa sita mchana

1 o'clock PM

saa saba mchana

2 o'clock PM

saa nane mchana

3 o'clock PM

saa tisa mchana

4 o'clock PM

saa kumi mchana

5 o'clock PM

saa kumi na moja mchana

6 o'clock PM

saa kumi na mbili mchana

7 o'clock PM

saa moja mchana

7.15 PM

saa moja na robo mchana

7.18 PM

saa moja na dakika kumi na nane mchana

7.20 PM

saa moja na dakika ishirini mchana

7.30 PM

saa moja na nusu mchana

7.45 PM

saa mbili (kasoro robo = kasorobo) mchana

7.50 PM

saa mbili kasoro dakika kumi mchana

8 o'clock PM

saa mbili usiku

9 o'clock PM

saa tatu usiku

10 o'clock PM

saa nne usiku

11 o'clock PM

saa tano usiku

Midnight (12 o'clock AM)

saa sita usiku

From Wikitravel: http://wikitravel.org/en/Swahili_phrasebook


Saa kumi means "4 o'clock". Saa kumi kamili means "4 o'clock exactly". You're not answering him because Duolingo's answer is wrong.


Thanks for the note. I can notice some English translations are not correct in the Beta phase. Now I am confused about this exercise. How can we determine that 4:00 (4 o'clock) is only translated as "Saa kumi"? Is it for general use or colloquial? Sorry if my English is not good to ask about this. I am a native Spanish speaker. :)


You're asking precisely what I would, Diego, and I'm a native speaker of English.


I see rafiki James. Researching about Swahili time, I have read the colloquial use can be the same as in the Western system, then it is not so rigid. But in official use or schools for example, the Swahili time is rigid or derogatory. So I am guessing if "Saa kumi" would be just colloquial and not a complete form for official use.


And it is still wrong!


All great, but if "kamili" means "exactly," how does one say "4:00 exactly"?


I think you can add "hasa" (exactly, especially) in a sentence. Maybe, there are also other translations for "exactly" or "totally true", as "kweli kabisa" but I think this is used for interjections (here some links about it):





JamesTWils: I think it's "Saa nne haswa!" (Four o'clock exactly!")


Diego, do you have any idea why it's (-6)? America is 8 ish hours behind not 6 hours ahead.

Also, it will be good to know the origin of this, I can't find anything online.


Very interesting question rafiki! Once we know the origin of the hour system, it will be easy to find a key (or some mnemonics) to remind this.

The answer to your question is the same in many Swahili language sites, Waswahili divide the hours in 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. It is interesting also that the difference of the amount of hours do not change in East Africa as in European latitudes.

The Roman clock, or time of day, was divided into 24 hours (Latin horae), 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness.

The Roman day starting at dawn survives today in the Spanish word siesta, literally the sixth hour of the day.

The daytime canonical hours of the Catholic Church take their names from the Roman clock: the prime, terce, sext and none (liturgy) occur during the first (prīma) - 6am, third (tertia) - 9am, sixth (sexta) - 12pm, and ninth (nōna) = 3pm, hours of the day.

The English term noon is also derived from the ninth hour, although due to semantic drift now refers to midday rather than mid-afternoon.


Here some practice with audio:


And perhaps this is a way to remind better the time for a nap in Swahili:

1 PM = Saa sita (seven o’clock) = Imagine my expression when I came home for lunch, only to find my room half destroyed, my things gone, and a worker taking a siesta. I never got a heads up on the renovation, but hakuna matata!

(This is a very interesting anecdote about Swahili culture):



Historically, hours of the day were counted from sunrise. As the sun rises at six o’clock, seven o’clock is the first hour (Saa moja), eight o’clock the second hour (saa mbili) etc. After six pm you then have the ‘the hours of the night’ so seven o’clock in the evening is saa moja ya usiku (first hour of the night) etc.


No answer change plz


Why is "4pm exactly" not acceptable? Kamili means "exactly" according to the hints so this needs to be right.

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