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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Half O'Clock

In Germany half five means four thirty, in the UK England half five means five thirty half o'clock

And the American's been there since two thirty...

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19 comments:

  1. This frustrates me to no end every time. It's the same in Norwegian and Slovene, and we don't have the expression in American English, so I'm wired to interpret it in the German way. I have to confirm the time when my British friend says it.

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  2. So Americans don't say this too? What would you say? I know that Australians are the same as the English on this one.

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    1. We would say "half past five" to mean 5:30, but we wouldn't say "half five". I've never heard "half five" in American English.

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    2. We say "half past five" or "five thirty" for 5:30. If it's 4:45 we'll sometimes say "quarter to five" or "quarter til five", but we don't do that for half hours; 4:30 is "half past four", never "half to four". But we usually just say "five thirty" or "four forty-five" or whatever.

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    3. typo: I meant "4:30 is [...] never 'half to *five*'."

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  3. Catalan also follows the German way but using quarters.

    For example, you'd say "un quart de cinc" (literally "a quarter of five") as in "it's the first quarter of the 5th hour, hence it's 4:15".

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    1. About half of Germany also uses this system (viertel fünf = quarter five = 4:15; dreiviertel fünf = three-quarters five = 4:45).

      It confuses me quite a bit since I come from a part that does not use this extension to quarter-hours :)

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    2. Jo parle la varietat valenciana del català i nosaltres mai fem això. Quan un català em diu una hora he de pensar-ho molt per saber quan m'està dient jajajja

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  4. There is a difference for that in east and west Germany btw. This is mostly just the case in east Germany what you describe here.

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    1. Really? I've heard Germans say "halb (x)" all across the country. Weird

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    2. There's no difference between the halfs. The only difference is between "viertel vor" and "dreiviertel". Here's a map for that: http://www.atlas-alltagssprache.de/runde-7/f11e/

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  5. In the Netherlands, it works the German way too; half five = 4:30.

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  6. Nine times out of ten Americans just say the hour and the minutes. So 5:30 is just "five thirty" and 4:15 is "four fifteen".

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  7. Russia lines up with Germany. "Half five" = "полпятого" = 4:30.

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  8. This is why you should always exchange dates and times in ISO 8601 format.

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  9. The same in Finnish, we also say "half five" ("puoli viisi" tai oikeastaan "puoli viideltä"). We don't have an expression for "half past five", but we do have "quarter to" and "quarter past five" ("varttia vaille" and "varttia yli viisi")

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  10. That would never happen.
    After 1 hour no German would still be waiting for you. If you don't show up 5 minutes after you said you were gonna be there we're gone.

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  11. In Indonesian and Malaysian, 4.30 would be "setengah lima" in Indonesian and "empat setengah" in Malaysian (empat=four, lima=five, setengah=half). I found it so crazy.

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