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zompist bboard • View topic - Telling time in places with the 24-hour system

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I've been raised with 12 hour system, as I assume most people have, unless they're very young. But here (in Sweden) we rarely use AM/PM or any equivalent; in writing it's usually 24 hour system, and in speech it's often "four in the afternoon" if it's not obvious.

"Noon" is hardly ever used, because by some peculiar twist of semantic drift the word for noon, or rather "mid-day", namely "middag", has also come to mean "dinner", which is certainly not eaten at noon. So "see you at noon" would be interpreted as "see you at dinner".

In English too, I tend to say "see you at seventeen", but it's pretty much a conscious effort. Really, the 24 hour system is much more logical, so I try to use that.

AM/PM makes me confused sometimes. My mum taught me when I was little to think of "approaching midday" and "past midday", but that doesn't help much, since it might as well be "midnight", or "after". So now I usually think of the actual Latin expressions to remember which is which.

And "half five" is also confusing, since it means different things in English and in my natlang. Some of my not-so-good-at-English friends say "five and a half". Makes sense, but maybe a little long.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2010 3:28 am 
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In Italian I usually use the 12h system when speaking, but the 24h in writing. when using the 12h I don't add AM or PM or other distinction, it is usually clear from the context which is intended.
Also, when the hours are already known (as in during a lesson) we usually say just the minutes, so for example 10:20 are just (e) venti ((and) twenty).

12:00 is always mezzogiorno (mid day)
24.00 is always mezzanotte (mid night)

complete round with *literal* translation
5:00 : le cinque ("the five", hours are feminine)
5:05 : le cinque e cinque ("the five and five")
5:15 : le cinque e un quarto ("the five and one quarter/fourth")
5:30 : le cinque e mezza ("the five and half" (half also feminine))
5:35 : le cinque e trentacinque (the five and thirty-five, NEVER 25 to six)
5:40 : le sei meno venti ("the six minus twenty")
5:45 : le cinque e tre quarti/le sei meno un quarto ("the five and three quarters"/"the six minus one quarter")
5:50 : le sei meno dieci (the six minus ten)
5.55 : le sei meno cinque (the six minus five)

and this should've covered it all :s

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Last edited by Jojo on Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:27 am, edited 2 times in total.

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