Journal of
Languages and Culture

  • Abbreviation: J. Lang. Cult.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6540
  • DOI: 10.5897/JLC
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 129

Full Length Research Paper

A novel system of telling the time: The case of midday and midnight as focal points in a home sign language

Ali Izanloo* and Shahla Sharifi
Department of Linguistics, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 28 January 2010
  •  Published: 30 August 2010


Previous studies on clocks have mostly worked on the development of clock knowledge. It is implicitly assumed that there seems to be no basic difference in the way people read a clock. This study highlights a big difference found in the language of a home signer. She reads the clock by referring to midnight and midday. For example when we say “nine o’clock (in the morning)” she would say - or rather gesture - “three to midday”, or when we say “two o’clock in the morning” she would gesture “two after midnight”. This study looks for the root of this difference and will suggest that it is influenced by religious beliefs.


Key words: Home sign language, clock, midday, midnight, prayer.