Bosnia and Herzegovina uses 24- hour clock and it can be confusing to understand someone’s answer to time as there are many ways to express time in Bosnian. (Generalizing) the 24 hour system is used mainly on the TV or radio while general population uses 12 hour system.
For example on a TV or radio it is common to hear something like this:
9:50 (Devet je sati i pedeset minuta).
11:00 (Jedanaest je sati)
14:30 (Četrnaest je sati i trideset minuta).
20:00 ( Dvadeset je sati).
Numbers two, three and four (as well as numbers such as 22, 23, 132, 243…) are followed by a noun in genitive singular while the numbers from 5 and up require genitive plural.
Most Bosnian in everyday communication usually think in terms of the 12-hour clock. The time would be expressed something like this:
- 13:30 (One and a half / Pola dva)
- Sada je (1:30) pola dva.
- 10:20 (Deset i dvadeset minuta) sati goes after deset but people generally omit this in everyday conversation.
- 16:40 (Twenty to five / Dvadeset do pet).
- 24:00 (Ponoć or Dvanaest sati)
- 15:30 (Half past four / Pola četiri)
- 17:45 ( Petnaest do šest or Pet je sati i četrdeset pet minuta).
Like many other languages, Bosnian also uses expressions such as half past seven, quarter to five etc. However, these expressions can vary quite a bit depending on the region. See example:
- 9:30 (Devet i trideset)
- 9:30 (Pola deset)
note: When talking about time it is important to note preposition *za*. This preposition indicates the time duration before some action is done. See examples:
- Vidimo se za 10 minuta. / See you in ten minutes.
- Dolaze za 2 sata. / They are arriving in two hours.
- Autobus polazi za 20 minuta. / The bus leaves in 20 minutes.
If you choose to use expressions such as pola (half) you must use it with the 12-hour clock. It would sound somewhat odd to use them with the 24-hour clock. For instance, 22:30 can be pola jedanaest (half eleven)but not pola dvadeset tri.
Some useful expressions:
- Koliko je sati? / What time is it?
- U koliko sati… / At what time..?
- U koliko sati ćemo se naći? / When will we meet (at what time)?
- U koliko sati je pauza? / At what time is the break?
- U koliko sati počinje koncert? / At what time does the concert start?
- Koliko dugo traje film? / How long is the movie?
- U koliko sati se otvara pekara?/ At what time the bakery opens?
- U koliko sati se zatvara restoran? / At what time the restaurant closes?