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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

45 Comments

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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/shatov72

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?

November 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JohnWycliffe

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.

August 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/2200Lucia60

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.

August 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChrisC-FR

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

May 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KatrinaTheLamia

I'm just going to assume this kind of funny counting comes from drug usage.

The four twenty type of drug usage.

September 13, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CJ.Dennis

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?

May 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/El2theK

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.

May 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Galerunner

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.

October 20, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SchwarzBart

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

March 15, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CJ.Dennis

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?

March 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/himynameismv

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

February 1, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/El2theK

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

February 1, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/alnehsaurus

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

October 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/shatov72

'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.

November 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/alnehsaurus

I see what you mean; my point is that - regardless of whether the English translation makes sense - I think literal translations should be accepted. As an English speaker, it's not always helpful just to know the English equivalent of what I'm saying - I like to also know that I've got a grasp on what I'm saying literally in Dutch. But it's kind of hard to do that when Duolingo doesn't accept literal translations.

November 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/shatov72

I see what you mean - but in this case the literal translation would be an hour out, and so to allow the literal translation would be more confusing than helpful.

There are other phrases where I've seen Duolingo accept the literal translation as well as the translation with the correct meaning. So it is permitted - but I don't think this is one of those times it should be.

November 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rosemarijn549475

English speakers do say "half seven", but it means 7.30.

Whereas in Dutch "half zeven" means 6.30.

The literal translation you suggest is literally wrong. You would be an hour late.

If you said "ten to half seven" in English it would sound very odd, and would be understood as 7.20

May 7, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ThisYoungQuigs

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

April 2, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jcbos

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

April 2, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alex.Essilfie

Agreed.

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

March 4, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Raahiba

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'.

March 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/2200Lucia60

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 !

March 4, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alex.Essilfie

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.

March 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/El2theK

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.

March 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alex.Essilfie

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.

March 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ThisYoungQuigs

Ahh ok! Dank jullie :)

April 2, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Simius

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

April 2, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ReneeDubuc

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

January 7, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Raahiba

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

January 7, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Babam1

Tip for people having learned german : it is the same!

February 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Handrisuselo

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.

February 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Naoms22

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

July 13, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KatrinaTheLamia

No Dad, the phrase is "It is four twenty"--six twenty isn't even a thing. No, Dad, you are NOT going to make six twenty into a thing. Stop trying to make six twenty a thing.

September 13, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/garybrasher

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.

March 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/El2theK

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

March 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Yannis6217

This helped me a lot, I undertood everything! http://nl.ver-taal.com/grammatica_kloktijden1.htm

July 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pronte

So sorry for the non productive comment.. but seriously??? I thought no western language could get more confusing than French about numbers XD Why would you not just say "zes twintig"? :(

December 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CJ.Dennis

Groove Armada - If Everybody Looked the Same (We'd Get Tired of Looking at Each Other) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOI-zEwjdEQ

Variety is the spice of life! Enjoy!

December 31, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ruball

I put six thirty and was marked wrong. Surely this is not six twenty!

January 8, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/El2theK

Tien voor half zeven, in other words ten minutes before six thirty makes 6:20/six twenty.

January 8, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LukeProcto6

It doesn't accept a direct translation such as, "it is ten before half-past six" or even "ten before half six", both of which are perfectly normal contructions in british english. Do Americans never do this?

July 4, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Raahiba

I have been British for 32 years and I have never heard this construction.

July 4, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LukeProcto6

Perhaps it's more regional. Definitely a common way of expressing the time in East Anglia, Lincolnshire, much of Yorkshire and Lancashire, Cumbria, the NE of England, and much of Scotland (especially in less urban parts), if perhaps less so elsewhere.

July 4, 2017
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