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24 hour time telling in Poland vs. other countries


pawian 161 | 9,971
7 Dec 2011 #1
Polish system is 12 or 24.

E.g., 5 pm can be 5 pm or 17.00.

Britain uses 12 hours system except for weather reports and British rail. And the army too.

So, when a Polish student invites his English or American friend to a party at 17.00, what are his chances of being understood? Is it acceptable in a written English exam?
teflcat 5 | 1,032
7 Dec 2011 #2
So, when a Polish student invites his English or American friend to a party at 17.00, what are his chances of being understood?

100%, as long as the foreigner has used some form of public transport in their lives.
If the Polish student says 17 O'clock, that might raise a smile.
pgtx 29 | 3,159
7 Dec 2011 #3
in Poland dominant is the 24- hour clock.

no, Americans cannot read it but they know to google it.
Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
7 Dec 2011 #4
Many Americans would know to subtract 12 from any time over 12 to get the post meridian time, but what kind of party starts at 5? Sure it's acceptable in a written English exam but it is a math rather than a language problem.
gumishu 11 | 5,017
7 Dec 2011 #5
Britain uses 12 hours system except for weather reports and British rail. And the army too.

if my memory serves me correctly I have heard 23.00 spoken twenty three hundred - sure it sounds better in English than 23 'o' 'o' or 23 'zero', zero' (which is the standart way of giving this hour in Polish
Teffle 22 | 1,321
7 Dec 2011 #6
if my memory serves me correctly I have heard 23.00 spoken twenty three hundred

Yes, that's the way it is said. Not by the guy in the street though.

It's much more of a miltary thing.
Chrzaszcz 12 | 103
7 Dec 2011 #7
Not by the guy in the street though.

I've asked for the time hundreds of times, and it's given in the 12-hour system 99% of the time. The 24-hour clock is usually given in conjunction with transport times, eg British Rail, bus or coach times - this needs to be done to avoid problems... Does the bus leave at 8? Is that 8 am or 8 pm?
OP pawian 161 | 9,971
7 Dec 2011 #8
Dear guys, thank you for your replies but I still don`t know for sure. A lot depends on it because I am correcting mock final exam papers and so far I have been rejecting all 24 time systems because I decided to be strict this year, especially that our head teacher asked us to.

The instructions to one exercise say that a student is supposed to write an invitation to a friend and one of the requirements is stating the date and time of the party. Quite a number of students used the Polish system, so they lost one point, sometimes two, out of 5 for that exercise.

100%, as long as the foreigner has used some form of public transport in their lives.

o, Americans cannot read it but they know to google it.

Yes, that's the way it is said. Not by the guy in the street though.

It's much more of a miltary thing.

The 24-hour clock is usually given in conjunction with transport times, eg British Rail, bus or coach times

Does it mean that if we take an average American, not too brilliant one, who has no access to the Internet, doesn`t belong to the military or hasn`t used the British Rail before, he/she might have a problem with deciphering the correct time if it is written 17.00 or 18.00 ?
Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
7 Dec 2011 #9
Does it mean that if we take an average American who has no access to the Internet

In addition to those who've had experience with the Internet, the military, and British rail, any American who has attended, or even considered attending, one semester of college would be able to decipher the correct time in your scenario because class schedules are printed in the 24 hour time mode as well.
teflcat 5 | 1,032
7 Dec 2011 #10
Quite a number of students used the Polish system, so they lost one point, sometimes two, out of 5 for that exercise.

That's rough. OK, it would be better to write 'five O'Clock', but they are not wrong.
OP pawian 161 | 9,971
7 Dec 2011 #11
It is getting a bit tiring. :):):):):)

In addition to those who've had experience with the Internet, the military, and British rail, any American who has attended, or even considered attending, one semester of college would be able to decipher the correct time in your scenario because class schedules are printed in the 24 hour time mode as well.

That's rough. OK, it would be better to write 'five O'Clock', but they are not wrong.

It is not the matter of being right or wrong. It is the matter of successful communication: that`s what is required at an English exam in Poland - you might use incorrect grammar, style, spelling, everything, but you will pass, as long as your message is understood.

I need exact info. Let me try again: Is it possible that the Polish student might run into a 19 year old American/Canadian/Australian guy who won`t understand 17.00 written on an invitation to a party?

Come on guys, stop beating about the bush: fekking yes or fekking no?? :):):):):)

The 12-hour clock is, however, still dominant in a handful of countries,[1] particularly in Australia, Canada (except Quebec), India, Iran, the Philippines, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and some Latin American nations[
Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
7 Dec 2011 #12
Is it possible that the Polish student might run into a 19 year old American/Canadian/Australian guy who won`t understand 17.00 written on an invitation to a party?

Yes it is possible.
scottie1113 7 | 898
7 Dec 2011 #13
Yes, it's possible, especially if they're idiots. It's easy to figure out and you hear this a lot in movies.

What kind of party starts at 17.00? My Saturday dinner parties for my Polish friends and co-workers.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,387
7 Dec 2011 #14
Come on guys, stop beating about the bush: fekking yes or fekking no?? :):):):):)

folks in the uk have been using the 24hr system alongside the 12hr system since the first digital watch way back in the 70's

but, the watch may read 17:00 and they will usually say 5 o'clock.

if you want to show typical english then it's 5pm or 5 o'clock.

the 24hr system is not wrong though.

the question should be: 'show the time as one would expect to find on a typical english style invitation'
isthatu2 4 | 2,704
7 Dec 2011 #15
For a party invite it would be very unlikely to be written in the 24hr system. Simple really,how many parties start in the first 12 hours of a day? Clarity is not an issue,for more formal requests of ones attendance the 24hr system may be used. Or just AM/PM.
Teffle 22 | 1,321
7 Dec 2011 #16
The instructions to one exercise say that a student is supposed to write an invitation to a friend and one of the requirements is stating the date and time of the party.

In that case, use pm or o'clock.

Whilst not "wrong" 24 hr clock time on a written or even verbal invitation is definitely not the norm IME.
Natasa 1 | 580
7 Dec 2011 #17
Time, we don't have it, stop trying to possess it using numbers, it always escapes them ;)

One riddle. Is the fact that there are no visitors from the future a definite proof that time travel will never occur? (when I regressed to age 8, this popped out)

because if it will, would, could be invented in 1000 years from now, 100 000 years, someone would have already been here, right? :D

Natasa, 13 years old watching too frequently reruns of Star trek
Vincent 9 | 803 Moderator
7 Dec 2011 #18
So, when a Polish student invites his English or American friend to a party at 17.00, what are his chances of being understood?

I would have to go along with the others. A person in the UK should be able to work out quickly that 17.00 is 5pm. Most people would just add am or pm for meeting or party invites.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
7 Dec 2011 #19
For sure, Vince! No doubt about it.
BBman - | 344
7 Dec 2011 #20
or hasn`t used the British Rail before, he/she might have a problem with deciphering the correct time if it is written 17.00 or 18.00 ?

It's very possible. It's guaranteed to cause problems if that american happens to be from an inner city.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,387
7 Dec 2011 #21
google: formal invitations (select pictures)

the 24hr system is not shown in the examples.
OP pawian 161 | 9,971
7 Dec 2011 #22
Thanks, guys, I have taken a decision.

Although most of you are trying hard to save my students` asses, the point that I took away for using 24 hours system shall not be reinstated. :):):):) I am still doubtful that all English speaking people would understand the invitation. And whenever any doubts emerge at an English language exam, it is considered the student`s guilt of miscommunication.

Thank you very much on behalf of my students. I will tell them you did your best to defend them. :):):):)

Yes! I am doing my best to make those bastards learn harder! :):):):):)
mafketis 21 | 7,483
7 Dec 2011 #23
I think many or most Americans would not understand 17.00 and might interpret it as 7:00 pm (19.00)

I think the answer should be counted as incorrect (especially if you've mentioned that the 24 clock is not as widely used in the UK or US as it is in Poland.

Losing some points on a mock final exam is a good way to get their attention. Effective communication partly includes trying to foresee eventual comprehension problems and prevent them before they happen.

Interestingly while I have no problem at all in using the 24 hour clock in Polish I never use it in spoken English (even after all these years).
OP pawian 161 | 9,971
7 Dec 2011 #24
Two samples:

An invitation which was marked 0 points out of 5:

Invitation! I would like to inviated you from my 18th brithday party. The party wil be next Friday. We started at 20.00 in the Planeta Club near shopping centre. Please will dressing from nurse and doctor.

Despite a few mistakes, an invitation for 5 points:

Hi guys! Our friend Emma has birthday this month and I`m throwing a suprise party for her! It`ll take place in my home this Saturday, at 6.30 PM. The party`s theme is Mexico, so don`t forget to put on sombreros and special Mexican boots. Hope to see you there.
isthatu2 4 | 2,704
7 Dec 2011 #25
HHHmmmm,still think Id rather go to the first one............18 year old Nursies,MMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm..................
OP pawian 161 | 9,971
7 Dec 2011 #26
Nurses versus Mexican princesses? Come on.
mafketis 21 | 7,483
8 Dec 2011 #27
An invitation which was marked 0 points out of 5:

You were waaaayyyy to generous with that one. They should actually lose points in other classes for that....
Cardno85 31 | 976
8 Dec 2011 #28
Is it possible that the Polish student might run into a 19 year old American/Canadian/Australian guy who won`t understand 17.00 written on an invitation to a party?

Theoretically it is possible, however anyone who didn't understand that as written would not be welcome at my party due to idiocy.

If it were speaking then that would be different. Saying, "I will meet you at 21 hours" is very different to saying, "I will meet you at 9". However, when written, I would say about 99% of English speaking people would understand.
Ralph
20 Feb 2012 #29
So, when a Polish student invites his English or American friend to a party at 17.00, what are his chances of being understood?

If you know that the 12-hour system is the one overwhelmingly in use, why would you want to stress your foreignness and introduce additional barriers in your social intercourse?

When the English speakers tell the time, they customarily refer to the standard clock face and say, for example, "5 o'clock" [5 of the clock], but the Polish count the hours and say "piÄ…ta godzina" or, in English, "the 5th hour" [of a 24-hour period]. This cultural difference in referring to the time of day is all there is behind the 24-hour time telling being more widespread in Poland as compared to Britain, Australia, or the U.S.


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