Free time is still getting eaten up by Learning Things I Don't Really Have Any Direct Need For But Hey Why Not, with the topics-du-jour still being mandarin and verilog for some reason. Most recent mandarin puzzle is the sentence
which my flashcard deck says is "he returned home at 1pm".
The part that is "returned home" = "回家了" presents no difficulty, but there are two things I'm confused about: one, why on earth is it 中午一点 and not 下午一点? Isn't 中午 noon and 下午 afternoon? Is 一点 close enough to noon that it's kind of optional?
Two, why is that 的时候 there at all? Why isn't it just 他下午一点回家了 I'm told you translate "when X happens, Y happens" as "X + 的时候 + Y", (which by the way feels a rather natural and proper isolating-language decomposition of the issue --- "at the time (=时候) of (=的) X, it occurs that Y") so is this drawing more attention to the time? "When it was 1pm, he went home"? In English that phrasing definitely does have a subtly different feel, so if it's capturing that, it makes sense, I guess.