Telling time in places with the 24-hour system

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Skomakar'n
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Telling time in places with the 24-hour system

Post by Skomakar'n »

I came to think of something. Most countries of the world use what Americans would call "the military clock". Counting from 0 to 23 rather than 12 to 12 with AM and PM distinction.

The digital clocks obviously inflect a lot upon us; I haven't used an analogue clock since I was little, and I can barely read them anymore (I can, of course, but it doesn't take a glimpse, like it used to; I have to look a little longer, and think, these days, sadly, because I've gotten too used to digital clocks).

Getting this used to digital clocks, and living in a country using the "military" clock, it has really changed how I count time. I never actually say "five o'clock in the afternoon", but I actually just say "seventeen o'clock" (when speaking in my native tongue, that is).

Do you do this too? Do you know people who do? How common is it?

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Post by Niedokonany »

In spoken Polish both systems are used; personally, I like the 12 hour one better as it sounds more mature to me, though sometimes it's more comfortable to use the other one; I'm not totally consistent on it.

Additionally, I'd never call the midnight "zero", it's always dwunasta (w nocy) lit. twelfth (in night). Maaaybe occasionally dwudziesta czwarta '24th'.
Last edited by Niedokonany on Fri Jun 25, 2010 6:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Nortaneous »

I use both systems (I prefer 24-hour, so I keep my computers set to it; also, IRC clients almost always use 24-hour), and I remember times in whichever system I hear about them in. In speech, I only use 12-hour, but I'm in America and everyone here uses 12-hour.
Last edited by Nortaneous on Fri Jun 25, 2010 6:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Skomakar'n »

Nortaneous wrote:I use both systems, and I remember times in whichever system I hear about them in. In speech, I only use 12-hour, but I'm in America and everyone here uses 12-hour.

Can't say that's the case with me. I was invited to grill at "five", but still said that I'd be going out at "seventeen".

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Re: Telling time in places with the 24-hour system

Post by finlay »

Skomakar'n wrote:but I actually just say "seventeen o'clock" (when speaking in my native tongue, that is).

This in particular never happens in English – we would have to say 'seventeen hundred hours' to be specific like that, even though none of us in this country (at least) think of it as the 'military' clock. I prefer the 24 hour clock for digital displays, always, but my actual watch is analogue, which at the end of the day I much prefer to digital because I can visualise how far off something is in hours by counting them.

On the other hand, the 'military' clock designation, which as I say is mainly American, comes up as part of a joke in "Spaced" – Nick Frost's army obsessed character can only understand 20-00 hours and the others can only understand 8 o'clock.

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Post by Rui »

Piotr wrote:Additionally, I'd never call the midnight "zero", it's always dwunasta (w nocy) lit. twelfth (in night). Maaaybe occasionally dwudziesta czwarta '24th'.


Interestingly, for a time like 12:30am, I tend to say "midnight thirty," which I don't think is standard in English. Uh...not that I have the need to say stuff like that often?

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Post by Skomakar'n »

I think I'd actually say "twelve" about midnight/zero o' clock, but I believe I'm the most likely just to actually say "midnight".

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Post by eodrakken »

Chibi wrote:Interestingly, for a time like 12:30am, I tend to say "midnight thirty," which I don't think is standard in English. Uh...not that I have the need to say stuff like that often?


I wouldn't call it standard, but you're not the only one who says it jocularly. I've also heard "noon-thirty" from time to time.

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Re: Telling time in places with the 24-hour system

Post by Jipí »

Skomakar'n wrote:The digital clocks obviously inflect a lot upon us; I haven't used an analogue clock since I was little,

I, contrarily, have always preferred analogue clocks. I don't have a problem with digital clocks although I find analogue ones easier to read at a glimpse.

and I can barely read them anymore (I can, of course, but it doesn't take a glimpse, like it used to;

Hm :|

I never actually say "five o'clock in the afternoon", but I actually just say "seventeen o'clock" (when speaking in my native tongue, that is).

Personally I write time in 24-hour, but tell time in 12-hour. People use both, though I feel like telling time in the 12-hour system is more common, except maybe when making appointments.

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Post by Yiuel Raumbesrairc »

You do, in French, say "Midi trente Noon thirty" (12h30) and "Minuit trente Midnight thirty" (00h30).
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Post by Viktor77 »

I wasn't raised on the 24 hr system, nor do I ever use it. I've tried to, to look more "European," but ultimately I find myself saying, ok, 16 hundred, if 2 o'clock is 14 hundred then 16 hundred must be 5 o'clock. I don't have the system down in my head.

One strange thing that a lot Americans say which I never say are markers such as quarter to, ten after, etc. I've began to become a fair bit more acquainted with terms like quarter to, quarter after, but I still find myself saying five fifty-five or four forty-five since it's easier to comprehend more quickly for me.
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Post by Rui »

Viktor77 wrote:I wasn't raised on the 24 hr system, nor do I ever use it. I've tried to, to look more "European," but ultimately I find myself saying, ok, 16 hundred, if 2 o'clock is 14 hundred then 16 hundred must be 5 o'clock. I don't have the system down in my head.


Apparently not, since 16:00 is not the same as 5pm

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Post by eodrakken »

Viktor77 wrote:One strange thing that a lot Americans say which I never say are markers such as quarter to, ten after, etc. I've began to become a fair bit more acquainted with terms like quarter to, quarter after, but I still find myself saying five fifty-five or four forty-five since it's easier to comprehend more quickly for me.


Me too. Also, for a while I didn't know what "quarter of" meant -- wasn't sure if "quarter of nine" was 8:45 or 9:15. I don't know if it's regional, but it does seem like I hear that style of time-telling more often on the east coast.

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Post by Skomakar'n »

It's not hard to use the 24-hour system. Just subtract twelve from any hour larger than twelve to convert it.

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Post by Viktor77 »

Chibi wrote:
Viktor77 wrote:I wasn't raised on the 24 hr system, nor do I ever use it. I've tried to, to look more "European," but ultimately I find myself saying, ok, 16 hundred, if 2 o'clock is 14 hundred then 16 hundred must be 5 o'clock. I don't have the system down in my head.


Apparently not, since 16:00 is not the same as 5pm


You see how bad I am at this? I forgot all about 4 o'clock. XD
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Re: Telling time in places with the 24-hour system

Post by Niedokonany »

Guitarplayer wrote:Personally I write time in 24-hour, but tell time in 12-hour. People use both, though I feel like telling time in the 12-hour system is more common, except maybe when making appointments.


Here the 12 hour system is hardly ever seen in writing, on things like schedules or timetables these days. In speech it's doing considerably better, but perhaps a bit on the recessive side due to digital displays becoming overwhelmingly common* and all; not that I know of any actual research.

*obviously, often you can change the settings from the default 24h to 12h but people don't.
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Re: Telling time in places with the 24-hour system

Post by kelsavasi »

Guitarplayer wrote:Personally I write time in 24-hour, but tell time in 12-hour.
Me too.

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Re: Telling time in places with the 24-hour system

Post by Xonen »

kelsavasi wrote:
Guitarplayer wrote:Personally I write time in 24-hour, but tell time in 12-hour.
Me too.


Ditto, most of the time. And so does everybody else around here, AFAICT.
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Post by Přemysl »

I've wanted to use the 24hr clock but just never could into the habit of it. Which is odd since for a while I used the cannonical hour system. I hardly ever use minutes unless precsion is required (such as setting a clock or cooking), intead saying things like half past and quarter of. Just yesterday I used half past midnight and quarter of noon. Hmm do 24hr people still use midnight and noon frequntly or is it more common to use numbers since no disambiguation is needed?

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Post by Torco »

While some people use the 24-hour system over here, it's most often used in documents and formal stuff. A girl I know always uses the 24 system no matter what, and makes a point of it, but most people, myself included, generally use the 12 one.

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Post by Jipí »

Viktor77 wrote:if 2 o'clock is 14 hundred then 16 hundred must be 5 o'clock. I don't have the system down in my head.

All you need is some simple arithmetics if you can't get this into your head:

Code: Select all

 0 - 12      6 - 18
 1 - 13      7 - 19
 2 - 14      8 - 20
 3 - 15      9 - 21
 4 - 16     10 - 22
 5 - 17     11 - 23

And if you get 12+4 wrong, you suck at maths :|

I don't really see what's so difficult about the 24-hour system. After all you have to memorize two shapes per letter as well, and there's even 26 pairs! And I've never heard anyone complain about that.
Last edited by Jipí on Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:59 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by Travis B. »

Torco wrote:While some people use the 24-hour system over here, it's most often used in documents and formal stuff. A girl I know always uses the 24 system no matter what, and makes a point of it, but most people, myself included, generally use the 12 one.

I am much like that myself; even though the 12 hour system is, obviously, traditional in the US, and I do use it when talking to other people to avoid sounding really weird to them, I prefer to use the 24 hour system for my own purposes and particularly in computing contexts. Hence, for instance, in machines I use always set the time to be displayed in 24 hour format, and when I write code that formats times in text anywhere, I write it to use 24 hour time.

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Post by Jipí »

Prmysl wrote:I hardly ever use minutes unless precsion is required (such as setting a clock or cooking), intead saying things like half past and quarter of.

Going in 5-minute steps is usually enough in everyday situations IME, so I frequently say things like "twenty past in a moment" (e.g. :18), or "almost 10 to" (e.g. :49).

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Post by finlay »

eodrakken wrote:
Viktor77 wrote:One strange thing that a lot Americans say which I never say are markers such as quarter to, ten after, etc. I've began to become a fair bit more acquainted with terms like quarter to, quarter after, but I still find myself saying five fifty-five or four forty-five since it's easier to comprehend more quickly for me.


Me too. Also, for a while I didn't know what "quarter of" meant -- wasn't sure if "quarter of nine" was 8:45 or 9:15. I don't know if it's regional, but it does seem like I hear that style of time-telling more often on the east coast.

I've found that American English is very inconsistent with its choice of words for this – quarter of and all that. In British English I've literally never heard anything but "quarter past" and "quarter to". Also, we tend to drop "past" in "half past", leading to "half 2" being 2:30 (or, indeed, 14:30), which of course is opposite to the way that German and Dutch (presumably others too) do it – "half 2" is "half to 2", or 13:30, there.

I also find that as people generally aren't awake much during the night you don't tend to need to qualify whether it's the morning or the afternoon when you use the 12 hour system in speech; or at least, you certainly don't have to for 1-8 ish.

As for midnight, I might say "half past midnight" or "half midnight", though never "midnight thirty".

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Re: Telling time in places with the 24-hour system

Post by äreo »

Skomakar'n wrote:Do you do this too? Do you know people who do? How common is it?


I do it as well. Unfortunately, being in the U.S., some people can't figure out what I mean :/
And I hate how they call it "military time" here instead of the more intuitive "24-hour time". U.S. military time AFAIK is a specific kind of 24-hour clock, where 17:00 would be "seventeen hundred hours", which sounds retarded. But there's no need for the ambiguities of 12-hour time, what with analog clocks becoming steadily less prevalent (I, too, can't read them as fast anymore).

24 hour time FTW.

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