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  5. "Het is tien voor half zeven."

"Het is tien voor half zeven."

Translation:It is six twenty.

August 11, 2014



Oh wow. That is complicated - I guess that I need to get used to thinking of the half hour as acting in the same way as the full hour, in that we can count minutes before / after it.

But where has this funny counting come from?


In case anyone's still interested a year later:

I don't know for sure where it comes from (see below for speculation), but much of Europe outside the UK uses it (all other Germanic/Scandinavian languages, most Slavic languages, all Baltic languages, and all Finno-Ugric languages) - or at least the "half seven" = 6:30 part. I'm not familiar enough with most of those languages to know whether they say 6:20 like Dutch, and online translators are stupendously lazy at translating time (they generally just use digits, or they translate the two number words separately and place them next to each other, or they just go full retard and translate "tien voor half zeven" as 7:20). I suspect that many of them don't go so far as to calculate from the half hour, but I know German does (it's just not as common as saying sechs Uhr zwanzig), and Norwegian and Danish do. Swedish and Icelandic don't, neither does Russian. Other than that, I'm not sure.

Perhaps I'm over-analyzing, but as the "half seven" part is used in all Lutheran-dominated countries, but not all Eastern Orthodox and only a handful of Catholic countries - all of which have or used to have Lutheran minority populations - I'm guessing the Germans had a hand in spreading it to at least some countries (such as Finland and Estonia). This is supported by the fact that the only Germanic language that doesn't use it is English, and the UK isn't Lutheran. Maybe religion has nothing to do with it and it's just a Germanic/Slavic/Baltic thing that was spread to Finland, Estonia and Hungary by the Germans and dropped or missed by the English? At any rate, it seems to originate in Northern or Eastern Europe.

On a side note, Danish uses an excessively complex method of counting above 50 which involves "halv"-number being used in a similar manner. For example, while forty-one is enogfyrre or one and forty, fifty-one is enoghalvtreds, which is a shortening of enoghalvtredsindstyve or one and half threescore, where half threescore = 50 because...half 3 = 2.5, times 20 = 50. This continues to 99, and starts again at 151. This is even worse than the French four x twenty + ten + nine = 99, because at least there's no half score nonsense. However, this crazy Danish counting scheme isn't old enough to say that it means Denmark came up with the "half seven" thing, but maybe they came up with the "ten til half seven" part, since they're one of only a few countries to use it.

Anyway, enough rambling.


Hi John. Very interesting contribution, I mean it, but the Danish counting part is far to inaccessible to me. I should apply for a mathematics class at the Harvard University.. or something like that. I makes me feel so human unable, If you know what I mean. Thanks though. Language is counting, measuring, positioning, technology too. So no harm done! Have fun.


In Ireland or the UK, "half seven" is often heard and meant as "half PAST seven"... Just to add to the confusion! :-D


But the Netherlands has never been predominantly Lutheran. The north and the west were, roughly speaking, Calvinist. The south and southeast, and Belgium, Roman Catholic.


I asked a Dutch friend about this and she says they don't use to/from the half hour. She says they say the time the same way we do in English except of course "half zeven" means "half to seven" instead of our "half past six". Is this a regional thing maybe?


In the Netherlands it is perfectly normal to say "Het is tien voor half zes/tien over half zes". Perhaps your friend does not say it like that, but loads of people in the Netherlands (and in Belgium) do.


When I lived in the Netherlands for two years, I was told specifically to avoid telling time that way because it was too 'ingewikkeld.' Perhaps I was told wrong, though.


What kind of brain think hours that way? (i know, Germans)


Every language is idiomatic. When we learn another language there is a temptation to think "my language makes sense and theirs doesn't"! May I suggest that you find it fascinating instead of strange?


Is anyone else having an issue during speaking exercises where none of time portion is accepted? I rarely get to the third try on speaking exercises, but I'm 0 for about 18 tries in this first time module so far. The rest of the sentence up to the time phrase I get perfectly...


I always have the same problem when dealing with numbers in speaking ecercises..


It's the same problem with the pronunciation of numbers not being app everywhere on the Duo Lingo Dutch app.


It's the same problem with the pronunciation of numbers not being accepted everywhere on the Duo Lingo Dutch app. It has been this way seemingly for years and they just don't bother to fix it. A real downer!


So if I said "Het is zes twintig" to a Dutch speaker, would they know what I mean?


At least not everybody. 'Het is zes twintig' means: 'It's € 6,20'



But what if one said "het is twintig over zes"?
Would that mean "it is six twenty"?


I do hear 'twintig over zes', usually from young people (who may have been watching too much American TV), but I wouldn't go so far as to say It's good Dutch. I'm not native though; my Dutch husband thinks it's an OK structure, but he's doubting himself because he lived in England for 5 years and may have been 'contaminated'.


Hi Alex. "Twintig over zes" is to consider dialectic, so uncorrect. It happened to hear "zes uur twintig" or "zes uur vijventwintig". Or when the hour just passed: "zes uur en drie minuten" for instance. But I fear that is Flemish language (from Dutch speaking Belgium). Learning good Dutch means listen to Elthek and Raahiba their suggestions. Best wishes !


Thanks @2000Lucia60, @Raahiba. I asked out of curiosity since it sounded quite reasonable to me. I'll refrain from using it though, since it isn't considered good Dutch.


You can use twintig over zes, it's a personal preference but there's nothing wrong with it (http://taaladvies.net/taal/advies/vraag/1177/acht_uur_zeventien_zeventien_over_acht_dertien_voor_halfnegen/). Both are used and acceptable.


Humm! C'est très interessant!
If it's a matter of personal preference, then I choose to go with the "minuut over uur" expression due to its relative simplicity.

I'll just have to keep in mind that some Dutch speakers will tell me the time in a way that will require I do quite a bit of arithmetic gymnastics in order to understand an otherwise simple concept.


Ahh ok! Dank jullie :)


Hmm, probably. "Zes uur twintig" would make more sense, or "twintig over zes".


Can you please provide a link to how Dutch time works?


This is what Google gave me, and it's how I think of it - use both the hour and the half hour to tell the time: http://blogs.transparent.com/dutch/what-time-is-it-telling-time-in-dutch/

At quarters, the full hour takes precedence:

6:00 - zes uur

6:10 - tien over zes

6:15 - kwart over zes (not 'kwart voor half zeven')

6:20 - tien voor half zeven

6:30 - half zeven (not 'half over zes' - or worse, 'half zes', which means 'half past five')

6:35 - vijf over half zeven

6:45 - kwart voor zeven (not 'kwart over half zeven')

6:55 - vijf voor zeven

7:00 - zeven uur


I am really fed up that whenever it comes to repeating times it always bumps me...i seriously think that my pronunciation is pretty good....it only does it with times, not other sentences grrrrrrrr


Typed 6:20 and apparently the colon counted as a typo. Curious Dutch punctuation!


It's in the system like 6:20, that it is counted as a typo is hence a Duolingo issue.


Indonesian also uses this style (adopted from Dutch). Over = lewat Voor = kurang Half = setengah Seis = enam Zeven = tujuh Twintig = dua puluh Uur = jam.

It is six twenty. 1. Jam enam (lewat) dua puluh. 2. Jam setengah tujuh kurang sepuluh (menit). This is really the same style as in Dutch.


And again, pronouncing it perfectly fine but nothing is accepted! Duo, fix this!


The speech version of this question never recognizes my "tien", which is very easy to pronounce, even though I often get harder words and harder languages right on speech tests on Duo...


I am getting very angry and frustrated by the voice recognition of numbers not working! I can't repeat or advance on any numbers lessons.


Whats the problem of Duolingo with numbers? Im saying it right!


I keep repeating it, but it doesn't seem to jear me after "het is". I am saying correctly, but it keeps saying it doesn't sound right!


Every time there are numbers in the speech to text it won't recognize that portion of the sentence. I can't finish this section because of that issue.


Duolingo can't cope with numbers


Is there a reason why the literal translation (it is ten to half seven) is not accepted? It still makes sense (doesn't it?)


'Half seven' in English is not the same as 'half zeven' in Dutch. There is an hour's difference between the two.

Also, I'd think that the literal translation would be confusing to an English speaker as counting minutes to / from the half hour just doesn't happen.


"It is is twenty past six." is the English way of saying it. "It is six twenty." is the American way of saying it


By the time you have worked out the time of your appointment, you have forgotten what it was for, where it is, and who with. Also you have burnt your pizza in the oven, the dog has messed the carpet up because he didn't get his walk, and it's time to shave again anyway!


I am pronouncing like the question asks. I have been given this question repeatedly and marked wrong every single time, no matter how carefully i pronounce. I lose a heart every time so i lose complete credit for this lesson. I dont know if there is a problem with programming but i will never take this lesson again and move on. It is really unfair.


just a suggestion: every time you get in this situation, where after pronouncing something correctly already twice and your pronounciation being weirldy rejected, there is a button underneath that states "can't talk now" (or something like that). Click it and you will avoid unnecessarily losing hearts because it will move on to the next question.


What the hell is wrong with it? I cannot believe it


What is wrong with it


Terrible. Again they have problems with numbers. Doesn't matter how you pronounce them, it makes everything red. It is so annoying


My answer "It is ten to half seven." was flagged incorrect with "You used the wrong word. It is ten to half six." However wouldn't "It is ten to half six." be five twenty and not six twenty? In the Tips and notes for this section 6:30 is denoted as Half zeven.


Half six in English is 6:30, half seven 7:30.


A question about the pronunciation of "zeven." To me, the [e] sounds like [i]. (And not only in duolingo).


Haha, I did not fall in your trap...


Dutch time is very complicated


Hmm. I'm confused


Does 'tien voor half zeven' mean 6:20???? I think yesterday in other exercise was 6:40


It will not accept 'tien voor half zeven' although I pronounce it correctly. Please fix ☺️

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