Monday, February 18, 2013

Mix-Up Monday: 24 Hour Clocks
Germany, unlike the USA, uses the 24 hour clock. Instead of saying something will take place at 7:00 pm, they say 19:00. Although not completely foreign to her because of situations in movies and television when the US military uses the 24 hour system, this still took time for her to get used to. More than once she has had to add the correct number to 12 to figure out what time it was, or has looked at a train time of 16:00 and automatically thought the train was coming at 6:00 pm instead of 4:00 pm.

Now she can use the 24 hour system without much thought and has started to recognize the benefits of it.

- You never question if someone means in the morning or at night. For example, in the USA saying, "I'll call you at 7:00" can make you question (of course depending on the context) if the person will be calling you in the morning or night. Using the 24 hour system, you know if the person means 7:00 or 19:00.
- You never accidentally set your alarm clock 12 hours off. If you want to wake up at 7:00 in the morning you will never accidentally set your alarm to 7:00 pm in Germany. You don't have to rely on that tiny AM/PM button to make sure you won't over sleep.
- You get the fun of seeing the clock say 00:00. Midnight and nothing at the same time. She finds it strange every time it happens!
- You get to confuse people in Germany if you feel so inclined. A large number of people haven't been taught the difference between AM and PM. Annoyed and want to feel superior? Slip it into the conversation and see if you can get them mixed up (evil we know ;) ).
- You still get to use the 12 hour system if you want, so why not use both? Plenty of people in Germany say see you at 8:00 or talk to you at 10:00 because the context tells the time. You are not stuck using the 24 hour system unless you want to (and as long as you are not looking at what is on TV, when trains come, and when restaurants are open).
Using the 24 hour clock...just another small difference between the USA and Germany.

No comments:

Post a Comment