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Old 07-11-2011, 06:22 AM   #31
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Old 07-11-2011, 06:49 AM   #32
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I grew up in Britain with "five-and-twenty past six" (never "after six") and "five-and-twenty to seven" etc. But in latter years the "five-and-twenty" became "twenty-five".

For quite a long time now I have lived in Continental Europe and the 24-hour clock is now my norm. I learnt my lesson early in Switzerland. I once ordered a taxi for 6pm "six heures du soir" and it arrived at 6am. When I complained, I was told that I ought to have asked for it at 18h "dix-huit heures". "Six heures" would always be interpreted as 06:00h.
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Old 07-11-2011, 07:46 AM   #33
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I've occasionally heard (and sometimes used) "five and twenty to six". But that is now rather archaic.

I think you're more likely to hear (in conversation) "twenty five to six" rather than "five thirty five", and even more likely just to get "twenty five to" with the hour being implicit.

As for half hours, in UK English, half hours are always past the hour, so "half six" would be 6:30. When asking the time, I'd expect to hear "half six" or "half past", few would say the full "half past six", or "six thirty".

One of the few things I remember from German lessons is that half hours are the opposite way around in German. "Halb sechs" isn't 6:30 but 5:30.
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:09 AM   #34
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I grew up in England using all the old terms. But now I live in a suburb of Sydney where the predominant languages are Vietnamese, Chinese and Cambodian. I quickly learned to go digital as terms like 10 to 5 just completely confused everyone.

I think everyone will end up using 5:35, 5:55 eventually.

As an aside it took me a long time to find out that when I was asked "Do you have the time?" they didn't want to know. I would just look at my watch and say 3 o'clock. My husband eventually informed me that it was code for did I want to buy drugs. It made me wonder what the code was in the 60s. I always found it strange I sailed through the swinging sixties and missed it all.

Last edited by Laine; 07-11-2011 at 08:10 AM. Reason: redundancy
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:25 AM   #35
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I have a clock that tells me the time. When I wake up at night, I hit the bar and it says, "The time is 27 minutes past 3 o'clock." Now, just for me, mind you, my mind is not so alert at 3:27 a.m. that I want t6o figure all that out. When I hit the bar, I want to know what time it is. My clock never ever tells me the temperature or the name of the Prime Minister of Great Britain. I don't need the clock to start with, "The time is...." And then it's "27 minutes past..." or sometimes "13 minutes before..."

Oh, and the clock has a very distinctive English accent.

How about, " 5-27 a.m." Now, the a.m. is frequently, but not always, redundant.
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Old 07-11-2011, 09:04 AM   #36
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I'll see you "back o' five" (or other time number) is an interesting one, often noticed.

As is "see you later" and we're still waiting months on.
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Old 07-11-2011, 09:09 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
I've occasionally heard (and sometimes used) "five and twenty to six". But that is now rather archaic.

I think you're more likely to hear (in conversation) "twenty five to six" rather than "five thirty five", and even more likely just to get "twenty five to" with the hour being implicit.

As for half hours, in UK English, half hours are always past the hour, so "half six" would be 6:30. When asking the time, I'd expect to hear "half six" or "half past", few would say the full "half past six", or "six thirty".

One of the few things I remember from German lessons is that half hours are the opposite way around in German. "Halb sechs" isn't 6:30 but 5:30.
So, I've always understood it wrongly then! As it's the same in Dutch as in German. "Half zes" isn't 6:30 but 5:30

One thing I notice, when I read English, I read "five thirty", but if I read it in Dutch, I read "half six"...
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Old 07-11-2011, 10:21 AM   #38
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If you have Firefox, then there is a plugin "Fuzzy Time" that puts the approximate time into the browser status bar. It's more or less useless, but it amuses me.

At 15:19, it reads "afternoon" when set to 'extremely fuzzy', "half past three" when set to 'very fuzzy', and "twenty past three" at the default 'fuzzy' setting.

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Old 07-11-2011, 11:25 AM   #39
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Quote:
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5:35 is "just gone half five" and it stays there until "nearly quarter to six"

Can't be havin' with these new fangled digital times
Hear hear !
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Old 07-11-2011, 11:42 AM   #40
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In British books, the time is always given as something along the lines of "twenty-five minutes to six", which causes me to have to imagine a clock face at 6:00 and then push the minute hand back to the 7 mark. I would automatically say "five thirty five" instead. Even "half past six" sounds a bit archaic to me. Other than citing timetable/schedule entries, do our British friends say "five thirty five" in conversation? Or does that sound ... I dunno ... wonky there? Is this a generational thing (although I'm an old goat myself)?
It's a matter of where you were brought up. Dates are another example of confusion. We m(the English) say 25th may 2010, which is a natural progression - day - month year.

Over the other side of the pond they say May 25th 2011 which is an odd mixture - month - day year.

Over here we say "he lit a cigarette". Over there it's "he lighted a cigarette"

Over here we say "my house has been burgled", Over there "my house has been burglerised" (not sure of spelling)

Neither is right or wrong, as they say we are two great nations divided by a "common" language.

To end on a humorous note there is the old story where Nixon is supposed to have told the Russian president "If you spoke English then half of the world's problems would be solved" The Russian replied "and if you spoke proper English then this would solve the other half"

Let's keep the wonderful variety of all forms of the English language.
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Old 07-11-2011, 12:15 PM   #41
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It's a matter of where you were brought up. Dates are another example of confusion. We m(the English) say 25th may 2010, which is a natural progression - day - month year.

Over the other side of the pond they say May 25th 2011 which is an odd mixture - month - day year.

Over here we say "he lit a cigarette". Over there it's "he lighted a cigarette"
I've never heard anyone say "he lighted a cigarette". We use lit for past tense, at least in my portion of the US.
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Old 07-11-2011, 12:26 PM   #42
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Old 07-11-2011, 12:52 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by djchapple View Post

Over here we say "he lit a cigarette". Over there it's "he lighted a cigarette"

Over here we say "my house has been burgled", Over there "my house has been burglerised" (not sure of spelling)

Let's keep the wonderful variety of all forms of the English language.

He "lighted" a cigarette in the States would sound as though you were a non-English speaker grasping incorrectly and coming up with the wrong form. Even the least "bookish" among us would look down on that one.

I have a very dim recollection of having run across "burglarised" in print, and could swear the example was British! If one American said that to another it would seem comical - although "robbed" is far more common than "burgled" in the first place.

My parents' generation is used to listening to a lot of radio, where the time is always given in numbers - even in New York where they also give a sunset alert for Orthodox Jews on Fridays. My 73 year old mother would likely use numbers off an analog clock (always numbers from a digital one), except that for "quarter after" and "quarter of", and even those I'm not certain of unless I asked her as an experiment -- 18:30 would definitely be said by most of her cohorts as "six thirty".

Extending this to dates - in conversation, when asked one's birthday, in the U. K. does one expect to hear it spoken as "25th of May"?
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Old 07-11-2011, 01:39 PM   #44
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I converse and email daily with British colleagues. My colleagues always state the time in 24 hour format. I've never noticed any special way of saying :15, :30, :45. At least we've never had any mixups over that. I just got back from a trip to England. I scheduled a taxi for 7:15pm, and the lady on the phone told me that I was booked for "nineteen fifteen". That's the way my colleagues talk too. When saying dates they usually will add "of". I've noticed that when typing dates in an email it is 50/50 whether or not they write "of". The other thing about dates is that they often quote weeks in terms of numbers. For example this week is Week 28. I always need to consult my planner (or diary as they would say) to interpret. What I find amusing is the number of words that are spelled the same but pronounced differently. One thing I can't figure out is why I'm frequently asked if I have a Canadian accent rather than American.
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Old 07-11-2011, 02:00 PM   #45
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Where were you raised to result in a Canadian accent? Or are these folks who assume that most Americans speak like gangsters and molls?
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