Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Telling Time in Honduras

I learned something new today! I was working through our Rosetta Stone Spanish (a computer program for language learning), doing a section which deals with telling time. I came across the phrase "Son las cinco pasadas." I knew this meant something like "It's a little past five o'clock," but I wanted a bit more information, so I bounced this phrase off Russell, our walking, talking (and eating) dictionary of local idioms.

He had never heard this particular phrase before. So I asked him, "How would someone around here say that the time is a little past five?"

He replied that they would likely just say it was five o'clock. Then he went on to tell me that, here in Lempira, when he asks people what time it is, they will generally only tell him the hour. (Rachel suggests that this may be related to the fact that, in Spanish, when you ask the time, you literally say, "What hour is it?")

So, if it is, say 4:45, the answer will be "It's four."

Then Russell will have to ask, "Four and how many?" And they will tell him that it is 45 minutes past 4.

This may explain a lot about how frequently people arrive late for events around here!


CDGNI said...

I didn't read this when you originally posted it. However, I find it fascinating and very interesting. Now I'm left to wonder how the rest of us "island" people tell time. I'm going to refer to your comments and ask time is referenced in the various parts of the world that they live in.

Anonymous said...

I guess you will have to ask then...Que horas son exactamente?

Anonymous said...

i think that besides the time, maybe being late has to do with the fact that the person does not want to be the first one to arrive? But what about if there is an appointment...say doctors appt...are they late too?