English: Ten fifteen (reading time)
French: Dix heures quinze
A few weeks ago in the south of France. Il y a quelques semaines au sud de la France. The plum tree flowers were blossoming that week in the French countryside. It was also nice to relax in a hammock by the lake.
Here’s a short lesson on how to read time in French, which is important for flight attendants, as you may expect. It’s common for you to need tell passengers arrival times, the current time, departure times, etc. either in person or in an announcement. Most times will follow the same pattern.
10:15 is read ‘’dix heures quinze.’’
So you’re literally saying “ten hours fifteen”.
9:30 “neuf heures trente” Notice here that ‘’9’’ (neuf) is pronounced “neuve” in front of “heures”, which you can listen to and practice throughout our Canadian French for Flight Attendants audio course.
1:48 “Une heure quarante-huit”
We say ‘’Une heure’’ and not ‘’un heure’’ because ‘’heure’’ is feminine.
11:01 “Onze heures une”
We say ‘’onze heures une” and not “onze heure un” because the implied word “minute” is feminine, even if we usually don’t say it in French when telling time. “One minute” “Une minute”.
16:05 “Seize heures cinq”
In an airport or train station context, it’s very common to use the 24-hour clock. The 24-hour clock is also more commonly used in everyday life in French than it is in English. Using the 24-hour clock is also simpler for you as you no longer need to learn to say “in the morning”, “in the afternoon”, “in the evening” in French in order to distinguish 8AM/8PM, 2AM/2PM, etc. You’ll simply say ‘’huit heures”/”vingt heures” or “deux heures’’/’’quatorze heures’’.
There are two exceptions to this pattern of reading time in French, and they are “midnight” and “noon”.
12:20AM is usually read “minuit vingt”.
12:20PM is usually read “midi vingt”.
Saying “douze heures vingt” isn’t wrong per se, but it is rarely heard.
French also has ways to say things like “quarter to” and “half past” and “ten to”, but these aren’t phrases you’d hear often from passengers, in our experience. Even if the captain uses these terms in an announcement in English, you can keep things simple for yourself and just use the form you already know in your translation. 5:30 “half past five” “cinq heures trente”. 6:45 “quarter to seven” “six heures quarante-cinq”.
Want to learn to speak the French you need to work as a flight attendant? Learn even more with Canadian French for Flight Attendants.