"It's April" or "We are April" are two correct idiomatic expressions. We have April is not acceptable....although that is what is accepted on Duolingo. I know this, from knowing many other languages and having been a translator in some. Wir haben April...is correct in German.
Native American English speaker. I have never heard either "We are April" or "We have April" to mean 'The current month is April'.
The only way either of those phrases make sense is if there is a person/organization/company/thing named 'April' that 'we' have physical control of/are a part of.
The only way I've heard the meaning of this expressed in English is 'It is April'.
Wir haben April/We have April is the literal translation of the German example into English. This method of defining assorted bits of time is common in European languages.
Usually, it is converted into the less intellectually sound notion in English of a unit of time which exists independently of the speaker and listener. It is April.
Of course, it is not April for the majority of the world's population. April is a term that a particular group of people have that they use to assist them in managing time. Many European languages reflect this distinction. English does not.
No. I am not referring to some universal standard.
Just me saying it is less intellectually sound to say something exists as a fact when it actually is just an impression and an inaccurate one at that when compared to acknowledging the variability of month, day and hour.
How is it a more 'sound' notion to posses a month? Who owns it? If it is owned by someone, can they be held responsible for the unwanted showers we get from time to time?
Months are a unit of time and are rigidly defined. There is a beginning, an end, and the base unit of time (the second), has an exact definition that can be accurately measured anywhere in the universe, no matter the effects of relativity on the observer. So, being a measurement of a period of time, and the idea of 'April' existing beyond any individual person, April is a period of time, and it is far more 'intellectually sound' to be treated as though it exists. Other periods of time exist too, but that doesn't take away from April existing, and existing in a rigidly defined manner.
You are correct that there is a rigid definition of a second. There is no such rigid definition of the month of April or any other month. The whole notion of a month is a social concept. It is a shared understanding of an accepted method of grouping large numbers of seconds together.
The idea of the month of April is not universal among the worlds population. That group that does apply the term has only done so for a tiny portion of recorded history. Even within that group that shares the understanding of April there is full agreement that of course it starts and finishes at different perceived times for numerous sub groups.
We in Paris agree between us that April starts and finishes at a different time than we in New York. We in Paris have April for our use and pleasure while we in New York still have March and are waiting for it to finally go away.
As far as we know the rate of decay of a cesium atom used to measure a second is the same everywhere in the universe. The concept of a month is based on intentionally inexact observations by the general public of the earth's passage around the Sun. Flaws in the system of grouping seconds into months including April are recorded but otherwise ignored until they accumulate to a sufficient number after four years.
The extra arbitrary day of added seconds is randomly assigned to February. February is chosen simply for convenience. It could just as easily be April. That is because the months are simply an agreement between some groups in some places speaking some languages who believe that they have one of those various and varying blocks of seconds called a month that they agree to label April, at hand and plan to act accordingly.
Aren't all definitions of time (second, minute, hour, month) besides those based on physical characteristics (day, year) just arbitrarily defined by humans? Yes, we have a precise measurement of a second now, but that is also arbitrary. And as for the difference between timezones (as in Paris vs. NY), that, too is arbitrary and not at all universal. April starts and ends at the same time worldwide when you use a global time (UTC).
It isn't. Literally, "it is April" doesn't mean anything by itself, but takes its meaning from an implied antecedent. What is April? The implied antecedent is "the month." When we say, "it is April" we are really saying "the month is April" or "this month is April" depending on the context. German uses a different idiomatic structure.
Neither one is inherently more or less correct. A month isn't something that we possess, and "it" can't be April unless we know what "it" refers to.
Cross the international date line on certain days of the month and even English speakers would disagree about the month we have.
For the benefit of the down voter. I was on a ship of English speakers who crossed the international date line on the final day of the month. After a little bit of discussion, we decided to immediately conform to the same month designation that the people at our destination had. Among other things this involved immediately resetting some personal devices that had the old setting. We even maneuvered back and forth across the line a couple of times just for our own amusement.
Decades ago, I had to program a system that accounted for employees' billable hours. I realized that it's possible to work more than 24 hours in a calendar day, when somebody did that, and had to make the system allow for it.
I was also once at a memorial for someone who died "today," and when I was asked when I found out, the answer was "last night." It was "today" in terms of the date of death.
Ignore the down vote from a die hard English speaker.
Actually, even the English speakers on the ship I mentioned in my edit to the previous comment understood that the personal devices referenced were not still in some kind of different time reality. The devices just had a setting that reflected our previous agreement about the month flowing from the progression of time we were experiencing. We now had a different agreement that conflicted with the settings that the devices had.
I think klbrennenstuhl meant that 'Wir haben April' is a correct sentence in German, but the literal translation, 'We have April' is not a correct sentence in English. 'It is April' would be a correct translation and what most english speakers would say. klbrennenstuhl is wrong to say 'We are April' is a valid idiomatic expression - nobody would ever say that.
All these explanations about using "We have April" because it isn't April somewhere in the world would suggest one should say "We have ten" for the time. The time only pertains to one time zone. As far as I can see they don't say that in German. This is simply a convention of language and such elaborate rationalizations are nonsense.
What is nonsense is saying that a particular month, time etc are an objective reality and must be expressed as such. Students are claiming that describing a month as anything other than universal fact is nonsense. The explanations offered are to show those students that saying it -is- April, make no more and perhaps less sense than saying we have an agreement that it is April.
Whatever month, day and time you believe it -is- much of the world disagrees with you. However, it is true that most of those people in your immediate vicinity have an understanding that agrees with you.
As someone who had to deal with people from across multiple time zones I wish English speakers incorporated an awareness of the subjectivity of time and dates into their normal speech patterns. But they don't and even feel slightly offended when confronted with a linguistic pattern that does.
I don't understand this. Doesn't all or at least most of the world follow the Gregorian Calendar? Why would months be different at the same instant? I understand that the southern hemisphere experiences winter while the northern hemisphere experiences summer, but don't they just consider winter to be in June, etc? Or are you referring to a scenario in which two people on opposite sides of the earth are talking on the phone at midnight at one person's local time on the last day of the month, so it's technically already rolled into the next month in the other person's location?
The Russian orthodox church uses the Julian calendar for calculating and referring to dates significant to their church.
The Chinese still use their traditional calendar for dates that have cultural and social significance.
The Hindu calendar is still in widespread use for dates with religious and cultural significance. Ditto for the Buddhist calendar.
Of course, for the half of the world on the other side of the international date line it is a different day entirely for most of them which means on occasion a different month.
The whole idea of fixed time that produces time zones is only a little over a hundred years old. Even now many parts of the world don't use time zones in the same way as English speakers. China would have five time zones by our reckoning but in actual fact uses only one.
While it is true that the peoples and areas of the world that English speakers think are important engage in Anglophone standards of time for commercial reasons, many do not.
The point is not that there is anything wrong with saying it is a certain time or date. The issue is whether it is unnatural and some kind of bizarre practice to describe time in any other way.
It is worth noting that in another fifty years or less, most of humanity will be using an entirely different time system. It will be based on a standardized transmission of beats in a specified time period (likely 24 hours) based on the decimal system. Digitizing time in this manner will enable block chain technology to engage with the internet of things. Everything will run off it. The government, everything in your home, your car, your work, your entertainment, all transportation, all financial transactions, communication devices etc.
Then locals will be back to what it was like a hundred and fifty years ago. It is midday because the sun is overhead. But everyone will understand that they are not yet at or have passed the 1200 beats in the 2400 hundred beats contained in the daily cycle of what will be considered the real time. Just like the Russians celebrate Christmas on a different day and the Chinese celebrate New Years on a different day than English speakers even though they all use the same system for commercial purposes.
English is not my mother tongue but:
1) "We are on April" sounds perfectly reasonable to me, maybe "We are in April" would be better
2) "We have April" and "We are April" make no sense to me
Moreover "Wir haben den dritten Oktober" is translated as "We are on the 3rd of October" so I applied the same rule.
This expression are idiomatic (i.e. strongly language dependent) so a clarification would help a lot.
1) The only context in which I can hear someone using "we are on April" is if there was a board meeting and everyone was going through a schedule or calendar together, someone got lost and said "Which month are we on now?" and someone answered "We are on April".
2) "We have April" does not make sense. "We are April" is used, much as "We are Friday today" is used. "What month are we (in)?" - "We are (in) April." 3) The same for "we are on the 3rd of October" as point #1. You would say "we are the third of October".
Examples when "on" is correct would be "The meeting is on April first" or "We celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December".
Maybe in the UK they might say "We are on April", but if someone asked you what month it was in North America and you replied "We are on April", people would assume English wasn't your first language.
English is my first language, but I grew up in a bilingual province where one language's nuances leach into the other, so maybe there is some of that going on. I'd like to hear from another anglophone on the subject.
I'm British and would agree with most of what you said, although here we can't say something like "we are April" - it doesn't make sense, you would have to say "we are IN April" or just "it is April." I would say that using "it is" would be most idiomatic without further context.
GressJesham - It is because I grew up in a bilingual province. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quebec_English#French-language_phenomena_in_English_.28not_restricted_to_Quebec.29
"We are Tuesday" is given as an example.
I can think of a situation in which "We have April" might be acceptable in English. What if there was a group that met once a month at a different person's house each month? "So I'm going to host the March meeting but I seem to have lost my schedule. Who has April?" "We have April." Possibly still slightly awkward, but as a native English speaker (American) I think it'd be acceptable in this situation.
Well, even though the correct grammar for this in English would be different, the literal translation actually helped me understand and remember this, as we use the same construct in Czech language. Nevertheless, this course is mainly aimed at English speakers and therefore the grammar should reflect that.
Is this the usual way of saying which month it is? Should it not be "Es ist April."? Or maybe it is similar to the question which day it is "Welcher (Wochen)Tag haben wir heute?" But still, the answer to that question is not "Wir haben Montag." Maybe that's what confuses me the most.
English uses the construction ...it is April. This statement contains the belief that April is a fact. A fact that exists independently of the participants in the conversation.
Other languages use constructions that more accurately reflect that the time, day, week, month and year are only a shared understanding between relevant individuals. Other groups are just as positive and can produce just as much evidence that some other system is valid.
Not everyone uses the same calendar or is in the same time zone as English speakers in a given conversation. English speakers talk as if and basically believe that their management of the perception of discrete portions of time is true for the entire universe. Other cultures do not. This is reflected in how their languages handle it.
Intellectually, English speakers understand that different people use different terms but still basically believe that if it is April here then it must be April on Pluto, even though their system used to determine what month it is has no relevance at all to the passage of time there.
French speakers (we are....) and German speakers (we have...) just have to remember the terminology of the other language for referring to time. English speakers have to get past the W.T.F moment first.
Saying "we have April" would not be idiomatic in English. As a teaching method, to reinforce that "haben" means "to have", it would be useful. However, to assist learners with understanding the concept of the overall phrase, "we have April" should be discouraged.
In English, "We have April" is more likely to be used in a ransom note to Bobby Ewing than to be understood as denoting which month it is.