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Old 09-05-2013, 08:52 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CWS4322 View Post
The question to which I was responding as a linguist was:

One thing that drives me nuts about Brit fic, does "half nine" mean half before nine or half after nonr? (a.m./p.m. -- now if we just all switch to mil time 0930 it would be unambiguous.)

The answer re: the ambiguity is that it comes from German and that if one translates um halb neun it translates into English as 8:30, not 9:30m and um halb zehn translates as 9:30. I'd have to get into the etymology of the phrase in English to track it back to German, but to me, it makes perfect sense that it comes from German. For me, because half + any hour was not a phrase I ever heard in English, the only connotation I have for half + any hour is German to English.

To throw another monkey wrench into this, in French, after the 1/2 hour, one counts back from the hour:

Il est huit heures moins le quart. (Itís a quarter to 8.)
But, the French is clear. Half three in Brit English = Half past three in US and Canadian English. We also say, "A quarter to three." meaning 2:45 in US/Cdn English.
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Old 09-05-2013, 08:54 PM   #12
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How about "tempest in a teapot"

And there's "getting your panties in a bunch" which has a Brit English equivalent, "getting your knickers in a twist".
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Old 09-05-2013, 09:01 PM   #13
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knickers in a knot is how I heard that phrase growing up.
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Old 09-05-2013, 09:02 PM   #14
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But, the French is clear. Half three in Brit English = Half past three in US and Canadian English. We also say, "A quarter to three." meaning 2:45 in US/Cdn English.
But the French is actually 8 hours minus a quarter.
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Old 09-05-2013, 09:04 PM   #15
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I'm hopelessly confused. My question about "half 9" was specific to England. It appears to me that "half 9" in English translates to "half past 9" in American.

Sadly, in novels it's rare an American could figure it out from the context.
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Old 09-05-2013, 09:05 PM   #16
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We use a couple of sayin's around here....
Busier than a one legged man in butt kicking contest.
Nervous as a long tailed cat in a roomful of rocking chairs.
When expressing surprise, I have been know to utter: Well, shut my mouth and call me mumbles.
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Old 09-05-2013, 09:09 PM   #17
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I'm hopelessly confused. My question about "half 9" was specific to England. It appears to me that "half 9" in English translates to "half past 9" in American.

Sadly, in novels it's rare an American could figure it out from the context.
Sorry--misunderstood your question. I know nothing about the British context, just the German and how I have always understood it because of my background in German (translation and linguistics) and Am. English.
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Old 09-05-2013, 09:11 PM   #18
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Quote:
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knickers in a knot is how I heard that phrase growing up.
I learned "knickers in a twist" from my Scottish ex, way before I ever heard "panties in a bunch". Until I moved to Denmark and had English friends, I thought knickers were trousers tha end and are tight just below the knee.
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Old 09-05-2013, 09:12 PM   #19
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I "knickers in a twist" from my Scottish ex, way before I ever heard "panties in a bunch". Until I moved to Denmark and had English friends, I thought knickers were trousers that are end and are tight just below the knee.
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Old 09-05-2013, 09:18 PM   #20
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I love these! I did hear of getting the knickers in a twist in the UK. We became frustrated with the directions to a place and the man who gave us the directions told us not to get our knickers in a twist because it was close.

These are funny!

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~Cat
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