photo by EfrankE

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Say it Loud, Say it Proud

Over the past couple of days, various links from around the Internet led me to this website.

Here’s the accompanying text:

Say the year 1810 out loud. Now say the year ‘1999’ out loud. See a pattern? It’s been easier, faster and shorter to say years this way for every decade (except for the one that just ended) instead of saying the number the long way. However, many people are carrying the way they said years from the last decade over to this decade as a bad habit. If we don’t fix this now, we’ll be stuck saying years the long way for the next 89 years. Don’t let that happen!

Well! Let me just point out that the sci/fi movie 2001 anticipated the future before most people gave any thought as to how we would be living in it, much less pronouncing it, and that movie authoritatively was called Two-thousand and One, not the easier, faster and shorter, “Twenty Oh-one”. I also recall that the year 2000 was pronounced, “Two Thousand,” not, “Twenty Oh-oh.”

Were he consistent, the author of the text would have had to pronounce that year as Twenty Hundred, a term suggestive of a pre-schooler describing the biggest number he could think of after eleventy-seventeen.

Anyway, I'm thinking the greater problem will lie in describing the past decade in future years. Will it be the decade of the Aughts? The Naughts? The Oh’s?

And what about here in the islands?

“Eh, Honey, when we wen stay ovah da Kalahikiloas? Back in da teens, yah?”

“Not! Wen stay in da nah’tings.

Where I lived as a child in the Midwest at the confluence of Northern settlement and Southern migration, some pronounced the word insurance, “in-SHUR-ance.” Others believed the correct pronunciation was “IN-shur’nce.” Tomato-tomahto. We accepted each other’s pronunciations and dialects and managed to live without the compulsion to agree on only one.

But then, life was just clearer back there in the “Nineteen-hun'ert an’ Fifties.”


  1. My grandmother was born in 1872. She referred to every7thing in the earlier part of the 1900's as aught 2 or aught 8 then as the years progressed they became 12, or 19, never the preceeding century designation. so we just finished the aughts, and are now into the teens.

  2. That settles it for me. So, this year is ten-teen, right? I suspected so, but it's good to get the confirmation. Thanks, Rick.

  3. All things considered, I'll go with the naughts. Thanks for stopping by.