A small thought for today: it’s funny how a verbal tic can completely confuse someone from another culture. I refer, in this case, to my tendency, when asked the time, to reply (in appropriate circumstances) that it is: “Half nine”.
I’ve never thought anything of it – obviously, because it’s either something Englishers in general tend to do, or it’s a regional thing that other Englishers tend to comprehend. Over here, however, the looks you get in response tend to err towards the blank.
I first encountered it a few days before our wedding, when the females of the family species treated me to a girls’ night. Someone asked me what time the table had been booked for, I replied: “Half six, I think,” and I was then totally baffled by the hilarity I’d caused – to the point that I couldn’t work out what I was being asked to repeat.
To be fair, it’s a valid response. My brother told me a story of his own time-tic American encounter, which went something like this:
Unidentified American: Hi there, do you know what time it is?
Brother: It’s half two.
Unidentified American: *blank look* So… one?
Good bit of logic, there, but no, it’s not, it’s 2.30. Sorry, our bad.