March 5, Twenty-oh-eightMarch 5, 2008
That’s the date today, right? What’s that you say? Most, perhaps all, of you wouldn’t say it like that? Well, then how would you say it? Two thousand eight, you say? That’s weird. Seems like kind of a mouthful. Do you always pronounce out the full number representation of years? How do you say the year 1942? 1706? How about 2345?
OK, I’ll stop asking you questions and pretending like you’re answering them. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, though. I hate how we’ve all learned to stick “two thousand” at the beginning of years in this century. I liked the old standard of breaking them up into two distinct parts. I’m pretty sure that if you’d have asked any random person 15 years ago to pronounce the year 2045, they’d have said “twenty forty-five”. Today, I’m not so sure.
I, of course, understand some of the reasons why this has happened. First of all, there was the year 2000. While it seems perfectly normal to say “nineteen hundred”, “twenty hundred” just comes out odd for some reason. So we called it the year two thousand, and got in the habit. There are also cultural phenomenons at play. 2001: A Space Odyssey is the only one I can think of, but there might be others.
So, anyway, as I mentioned, I’ve decided that I hate this, and I’m trying to break myself of the habit, and also, I think, I’ll take up the usage of more commas, and run-on sentences. And I invite you to join with me. (Not the commas part, the year pronouncing part.) If you agree at all with the concept that it’s silly to use the mouthful “two thousand” at the beginning of all year references for a CENTURY when a simple “twenty” will suffice, then make this change with me. It will be a hard road. People may give you funny looks. That’s ok. It’s fun to be different sometimes. And if things do swing, you can always remember, “I was one of the first”. 🙂
One more thing, a lot of people seem to think that in some year, (2010 is often sited), this transition will naturally occur. I have strong doubts about this, though. People are getting so used to saying “two thousand”, that I’m afraid it’s becoming an unbreakable habit.
One more one more thing. A few people have tried to bring up the fact that “two thousand eight” and “twenty oh eight” both have four syllables. While this is true, I contend that, first, syllables aren’t everything. Twenty oh eight is still quicker and easier to say. Second, this is just a by product of the need to add “oh” before the eight. The distinction between twenty and two thousand is what is important here. Using this method now, even if it has the same number of syllables as before will prepare you for the next decade (and beyond) when it will REALLY make a difference. 😉