[asterisk-users] Native Chinese speaker needed

John Williams williams at tni.com
Wed Sep 6 11:50:04 MST 2006

> Chinese uses a prefix for ordinal numebrs. However ordinal number are
> not used in dates. In Chinese today (its the 6th September here) is
> expressed as
>         zero six year nine month six day

It is currently programmed to say "two thousand six year" for the year

> You can skip the "zero six year" part, and just say the month and day.
> You can also use the word for number (not the ordinal prefix) in place
> of the word for day, if you like. A complication is that the second of
> the month uses a word that we might translate as "a couple" (sounds odd
> to say a couple as a day, but words don't quite trannslate cleanly). So
> the second of September was
>        zero six year nine month couple day
> but the twelfth will be
>        zero six year nine month ten two day

Asterisk currently does:

         two thousand six year nine month tenth second
         two thousand six year nine month second

My patch, as it is now, would do:

         two thousand six year nine month ten two day
         two thousand six year nine month two day

Is "couple" used instead of "two" anywhere else?  You use it for day and
minute.  Is it ever used for year, month, hour, or second?

How bad is it to say "two" instead of "couple"?  I could probably program
it to play "couple" if the recording exists, and fall back to "two" if
that is at all acceptable.

Are there any other numbers which might be expressed differently in some

> I hope that's not too confusing :-\ Do you want to know about times too?
> To express those in a general colloquial way, ten past two would be
>     two time two
> Because the minutes part is expressed like the face of the clock, 10
> minutes is expressed as 2. You can say
>     two time ten minute
> but it sounds a bit stuffy. Notice I didn't use the word for "couple" in
> that. If I wanted to say 2 minutes after two, I would say
>     two time couple minute

Is a 12-hour or 24-hour clock preferred in chinese?

Asterisk currently uses a 24-hour clock by default (format HM):

      ten four time ten minute
      ten four time zero two minute
      zero two time zero zero minute  (02:00am)

and can add "zero seven second" to that if seconds are requested (HMS).
Is the "zero zero minute" very bad?  And how stuffy is "zero two minute"?

A 12-hour time format (IMP) would be expressed:

      two time ten minute p-m
      two time zero two minute p-m
      two time zero zero minute a-m

I am told that "a-m" and "p-m" are very similar sounds in chinese.

> Here I did use the couple word, and I expressed a time with greater
> precision than the clock face numbers permit.
> Those expressions might sound odd as English, because none of the words
> have a plural ending. That is how Chinese is expressed - no plurals.

I like it!

~ John Williams

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