Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Hoe Laat is Het?
Hoe laat is het? means what time is it, or quite literally "how late is it?"
Telling time seems like it should be a pretty straightforward process. However, as I am finding with a good many things here in The Netherlands, it is not as straightforward as you might think! One might even call it ingewikkeld (I learned this word today so I'm going to use it as often as possible- it means "complicated").
If it's 4:30 and someone asks the time, in English you would respond with "half past four" or "four-thirty." In Dutch, you would say half vijf (literally "half five). So, 3:30 would be half vier, 2:30 would be half drie and so on and so forth. That's not really SO bad once you get into the habit of remembering that the time is actually the number BEFORE what is said. After that point it seems that things get progressively tricky. If you look at the picture of the clock, it's 11:25. In Dutch you would say "vijf voor half twalf" (five before half twelve). The area of the clock the minute hand is in will determine the terminology used to tell the time. It can really get a little hard to explain, so I have made you this nifty chart. Pretend it's the face of a clock!
I'll go through the hour every five minutes to show you how it works.
10:00- tien uur (ten o'clock)
10:05- vijf over tien (five past ten)
10:10- tien over tien (ten past ten)
10:15- kwart over tien (quarter past ten)
10:20- tien voor half elf (ten til half eleven)
10:25- vijf voor half elf (five til half eleven)
10:30- half elf (half eleven)
10:35- vijf over half elf (five past half eleven)
10:40- tien over half elf (ten past half eleven)
10:45- kwart voor elf (quarter til eleven)
10:50- tien voor elf (ten til eleven)
10:55- vijf voor elf (five til eleven)
11:00- elf uur eleven o'clock
Clear as mud, eh?