2010

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All around the English-speaking world, pundits are wondering in print about how to pronounce the year 2010. Is it "twenty ten", or "two thousand ten", or "two thousand and ten", or what?

The conclusion is usually "twenty ten", for one reason or another: "So, how will you pronounce the year 2010?", "A new decade: what's in a name?", "Twenty ten? Or two thousand ten?", "2010: Twenty-Ten, Not Two-Thousand-And_Ten", "Let's call the new year Twenty-Ten", "Twenty-ten, when I let it all go", "What is the proper way to reference 2010?", "Two thousand nine, but twenty ten", "2010: 'Twenty ten' vs. 'two thousand ten'?", "Say 'Twenty-Ten'".  Among the reasons given (fewer syllables, analogy to ten sixty six, etc.) my favorite is this one:

[Twenty ten] rolls off the tongue, and it sounds pretty darned cool, you ask me. Very nonchalant, very modern, very devil-may-care.

“Hey man, what year is it?” says the square.

“It’s twenty-ten, mister, twenty-ten,” says the hipster.

OK. That’s settled.

My least favorite argument, of course, is that the "National Association of Good Grammar" (NAGG, get it?) says so:

Coming off of "two thousand nine," you'll probably say "two thousand ten." In fact, 4 out of 5 YouTube videos randomly reviewed by The Chronicle have people pronouncing it that way.

But you would be wrong, so wrong, according to the National Association of Good Grammar.

"NAGG has decided to step in and decree that (2010) should officially be pronounced 'twenty ten,' and all subsequent years should be pronounced as 'twenty eleven,' 'twenty twelve,' etc.," proclaims the association's news release.

I could find only one article that goes the other way: "It's Not 'Twenty-Ten,' or 'Two Thousand and Ten' — It's 'Two Thousand Ten'":

Something on TV is driving me crazy. No, it's not that wind-up doll in the Pristiq drug commercial or the ghostly blonde in the Palm Pre commercial or that annoying granny ("I didn't pay a penny out of pocket for my power chair") in the Scooter Store commercial, although all three ring the gong on my annoyance meter.

No, it's the designation of the new year, 2010. I pronounce 2009 "Two Thousand Nine" so it follows that 2010 is "Two Thousand Ten." How difficult is that?

A fair number of articles straddle the pronunciation fence: "How do you say 2010?", "Dilemma as we leave noughties: How do we say 2010?", "Just how should we say 2010?", "What do we call this coming year?", "What's in a number?".

I read 15 or so of the hundreds of articles on this topic from around the world. The most authoritative discussion is probably David Crystal's — but there was one that I really enjoyed, by Jim Mustian in the Odessa [TX] American, who asked the opinion of a sample of local worthies:

“I’m going to say ‘two-thousand-ten’ but know that it’s cooler to say ‘twenty-ten’ and try to do that,” said Jeff Tyner of Midland.

Robert Martinez of Lubbock has made up his mind to say “two-thousand-ten.”

“I think it’s more natural,” he said on the last day of 2009. “I couldn’t think of saying it another way.” [...]

Alfred Miears of Big Spring says he’ll be sticking with two-thousand-ten because “it has a good ring to it.”

Deputy Andrew Sanchez of the Crockett County Sheriff’s Office agreed.

“You don’t say twenty-oh-nine,” he said by phone Wednesday. “Two-thousand-ten is just natural. But I’ve heard twenty-ten on the radio.”

Natalie Zuniga of Kermit said she’ll say “two-thousand-ten” because “that’s the way you’re supposed to say it.”

Not everyone agreed. A man working security Thursday morning at the Ector County Courthouse insisted the year should be pronounced ‘twenty-ten,’ attributing his reasoning to the Bible.

“It’s been 2,000 years since Christ died, that’s why,” he said during a smoke break. Though he was firm in his convictions, he refused to give his name. “I can’t comment on things like that,” he said.

But as happens too often, Mr. Mustian is not honored in Odessa — the first comment  on his piece, by the ominously named "burnbabyburn1", is:

Wow-and the OA thought this was news? Are you going to reprint this in the Journal of (Arcane) Science, or what? What a bunch of morons!

Me, I'm curious about how this works in other languages. I reckon I can get a publication in the Journal of (Arcane) Science out of it.

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104 Comments »

  1. Carl said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 12:14 am

    Twenty-ten for the children. Could you sleep at night knowing that your grandchildren will have to say “two thousand one hundred and twenty one” instead of “twenty one twenty one”?

  2. Kristen said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 12:15 am

    Given that we say "seventeen seventy-six," "eighteen twenty" and "nineteen ninety-nine," it seems only natural to say "twenty ten." What I can't explain is why I said "two thousand nine" instead of "twenty-oh-nine," when they have the same number of syllables. I never had a problem with "nineteen-oh-one."

  3. Seth Johnson said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 12:22 am

    I graduated in "oh-six." I'm pretty sure that this year is "oh-ten."

  4. Uly said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 12:26 am

    “It’s been 2,000 years since Christ died, that’s why,” he said during a smoke break. Though he was firm in his convictions, he refused to give his name. “I can’t comment on things like that,” he said.

    He thought Christ died at the age of 10?

  5. Eric TF Bat said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 12:28 am

    Bah! Inconsistent!

    1998 = Nineteen ninety eight
    1999 = Nineteen ninety nine
    2000 = Twenty noughty nought
    2001 = Twenty noughty one
    2002 = Twenty noughty two

    2009 = Twenty noughty nine
    2010 = Twenty tenty nought
    2011 = Twenty tenty one

    And so on.

    Obvious!

  6. Decadent beginnings « Glossographia said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 12:57 am

    [...] I posted, Mark Liberman over at Language Log offered his own take on the issue in his post, '2010', which complements David Crystal's and my own quite well. I shall have to register a [...]

  7. Quendus said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 1:19 am

    Bah! Inconsistent!

    1970 = Nineteen seventy
    1971 = Nineteen seventy one
    1972 = Nineteen seventy two
    ..
    1980 = Nineteen seventy tenty nought
    1981 = Nineteen seventy tenty one

    1990 = Nineteen seventy twenty nought

    2000 = Nineteen seventy thirty nought

    2010 = Nineteen seventy forty nought

    And so on.

    Obvious!

  8. Bryan Hall said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 1:54 am

    I think "two-thousand ten" seems the most natural to me (perhaps only because of a decade of indoctrination a la "two-thousand nine"), but "twenty ten" does follow the "nineteen ninety-nine" pattern. Seemingly no one has addressed the real precedent we should look toward; how are the years 1000-1099 discussed? I would definitely say The Battle of Hastings took place in "ten sixty-six".

  9. Tenderfoot said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 1:56 am

    I'm not bothered by twenty-ten. It's twenty-eleven that will trip up the tongue, which means it'll be called twentyleven.

  10. Marcus Lira said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 2:02 am

    You said you were curious about how this works in other languages, right? Well, in Brazilian Portuguese we say "Dois mil e dez" (two thousand and ten), but that's because there's no other possible reading (we don't really break down numbers like you guys, so "vinte dez" sounds downright bizarre, and "vinte e dez" gives the impression that the speaker is referring to two different numbers, rather than just one).

  11. nemryn said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 2:32 am

    The best part is, it's completely irrelevant! The real debate, the one people are actually talking about, is whether this is a new decade or not.

  12. Daniel said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 3:11 am

    Do there even exist other languages that behave like English in this respect (breaking up numbers)?
    In Hebrew, too, we say אלפיים ועשר (two thousand and ten), because we would never think breaking it up into 20 and 10 or anything.

  13. Nathan Myers said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 3:26 am

    People will say what they hear other people saying, and like it. Every rationale will wash away, and all will insist it never made sense to say it any other way.

  14. bianca said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 4:20 am

    In German we say "Neunzehnhundert" (nineteen hundred), and until 2000 that always worked out fine…
    Last year was "Zweitausendneun" which equals "two thousand nine".
    Now I heard people saying "Zwei Zehn" (Two ten).
    I guess "Zwanzigtausendzehn" just sounded wrong somehow.
    Quite nice to finally have a German word that doesn't take up the entire space of a text message :)

  15. John Walden said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 4:25 am

    There was no such difficulty with Nineteen-Hundred and Nineteen-Oh-One. Why the change of mind at at Twenty-Hundred?

    Things might have been different if Kubrick's film had been "Twenty-Oh-One, A Space Odyssey". I suspect that's what got everybody wrong-footed.

  16. Ahruman said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 4:42 am

    In Swedish, the choice is between “tjugohundratio” (twenty-hundred-ten, the old-fashioned fossilized way) and “två tusen tio” (two thousand ten, the newfangled kids-on-my-lawn way). I expect people will continue to use whatever version they used last year, since it’s just a change of one phoneme (from “tjugohundranio”/“två tusen nio”).

  17. Peter Taylor said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 5:08 am

    In Spanish it's dos mil diez (two thousand ten – "and" is used only between tens digit and unit digit, and then only when the tens digit is at least 3). When the century is clear from context it can sometimes be replaced by the definite article (so if I'm reading a newpaper article which refers to events in 1981 I switch it and read "el ochenta y uno" rather than "mil novecientos ochenta y uno, saving 5 syllables); I'm not sure whether that can be applied to the current year, but I'm also not sure that it would ever make sense to: "this year" probably works as well.

  18. Barrett said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 5:44 am

    How come we never said "Twenty oh nine"? Will the children who grow up in "Twenty Eighty" find it exhausting to say "two thousand and nine"?

    How did people in 1901 pronounce 1901?

  19. peter said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 5:50 am

    Standard practice for newsreaders and announcers at the BBC over the second half of this last decade has been to say "Twenty-oh-X" for "200X", where X = 1, 2, . . . , 9. Perhaps this standard practice was adopted by the BBC in order to make the transition to "Twenty-oh-ten" for "2010" seem consistent.

    In any case, living in Britain, I have never – not ever once – heard an ordinary person or a public figure say "Twenty-oh-X" in conversation, not even when such public figures are interviewed on the BBC. Everyone, other than BBC announcers, says "Two thousand-and-X". The net effect of the BBC's standard practice is to make their announcers sound ridiculous.

  20. Barrett said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 6:00 am

    I have heard "In the nineteen hundreds…" that indicates a particular 100 year span. "In the ten hundreds…" sounds terrible. Are we able to describe the first 100 years of any millennium? Surely will will end up celebrating the year "Twenty-one hundred"? But it hadn't even occurred to me that the millennium could have been called the year Twenty hundred by convention.

  21. BasisBit said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 6:36 am

    Hi!
    In german we say 2009 = "zwei tausend neuen" -> two thousend nine and 2010 = "zwei tausend zehn" -> two thousend ten.

    The german language has rules for everything… even for this. :-|

    BasisBit
    ———-
    http://basisbit.de <- my blog

  22. Richard said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 7:50 am

    I think the key is that numbers for years have an ambiguous half-way status between being semantic (common) and onomastic (proper) (on the general distinction, not with reference to numbers, see Richard Coates (2007) ‘Properhood’, Language 82: 356–82).

    Some numbers are unambiguously onomastic (i.e. non-compositional), for instance telephone numbers: these attract all manner of conventions and practices cross-linguistically, and there is often diversity even within a single language community. They are frequently formally unusual as numbers, in beginning with a zero not followed by a decimal point. Some people string the digits together without grouping; others group digits into twos, threes, etc.; yet others pronounce pairs as compositional numbers. Difficulties arise in the partly meaningful distinctions between the part of a number that is an area code or other dialing code and the remainder of the number that follows. Even here, public perception does not always correspond to the correct semantic division (e.g. those who consider the codes for London to be 0207 and 0208, rather than just 020, with the 7 or 8 being a geographically determined part of the local number), which suggests that phone numbers are largely treated onomastically rather than compositionally. The consequence of this is that there is no attempt to parse or articulate the long string of figures into a fully-fledged number – the fourth digit from the end does not, for instance, indicate thousands. (Other instances of such numbers include PINs, car radio codes, safe codes, etc.)

    At the other extreme we have truly semantic numbers, where the digits indeed represent powers of ten, and the number indicates a quantity of something. Obviously this is what happens in many uses, and typically these numbers have the words for the powers of ten (or their proper exponents) included when spoken aloud: e.g. four thousand, one hundred and fifty-two.

    Year names are on the one hand semantic, in being part of a numerical sequence and referring to a certain number of years that have passed since a certain event. But on the other hand they are frequently taken onomastically – that is what the year is called, without any thought given to why it is so – and when that happens, they become non-compositional and their oral formulation variable like telephone numbers. (One might compare, for instance, airline flight numbers which have a place in a list from the perspective of the airline and are potentially semantic, but from the passenger's perspective, being only on one flight at a time, they are probably treated as onomastic.)

    An interesting recent (well now not so recent) development in this area is the frequent use in UK television advertising of telephone-number-style reading of figures in prices of high-value items. Thus computers are now, e.g., only 'three nine nine' rather than 'three hundred and ninety-nine'. The supposed psychology of this is pretty transparent (they sound less expensive if one doesn't use the word 'hundred'), but it does seem now to be well established in this genre.

    [I have two final observations on the apparent use of digit-listing in semantic numbers. First, I note that in radio telephony typically all numbers are spelled out to avoid ambiguity, as there might be between, e.g., 'fifteen' and 'fifty'; this is a result of the specific requirements of the medium and need not undermine the general point. Second, practices used for digits after a decimal point could be worth investigation, where in standard English digits are listed successively even in what I have dubbed semantic numbers, there being no simple numerals for tenths, hundredths etc.]

  23. marie-lucie said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 7:52 am

    In French it has been mille neuf cent quatre-ving-dix-neuf, then deux mille, deux mille un, deux mille deux, … deux mille neuf, and now it will be deux mille dix, deux mille onze, etc.

  24. Balau said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 8:34 am

    In Italy we will say "duemiladieci" which is "two thousand ten" but we use, for the years of the last century, something like "one thousand nine hundred ninety nine" (or "millenovecentonovantanove") which is pretty uncompressed. It will not change anything for us.

    On an unrelated note, in 1996 the punk rock band "Bad Religion" released a song called "10 in 2010", referring to old data projections that predicted 10 billion people on earth by 2010. They sing it "ten in twenty-ten" which is also easier to fit in a song's metric. Bad Religion are known to have a pretty complex vocabulary, so they might have put some effort in finding out if it is correct. As you can see, for me this issue was already closed 13 years ago :)

  25. Peter Hollo said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 8:53 am

    In English, it's two-thousand-and-ten.

    Ha. I am not the chauvinist I am pretending to be, but I do find the missing "and" in American numbering a bit jarring.
    I'm not sure I'm going to get into "twenty ten" to be honest. And "twenty thirteen" and so on just don't have a comfortable rhythm to me. I think I'll be on board for "twenty twenty" though!

  26. Livi said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 8:53 am

    In English I say twenty-ten, but in Dutch I say (and I believe I've heard news readers on the tv saying) tweeduizend tien (two thousand ten).

  27. J.W. Brewer said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 9:53 am

    Whatever's driving the AmE distinction between two-thousand X and twenty Y must have been around for several decades now, as witness the contrast between the Kubrick movie pronounced two-thousand-and-one and the Saturday morning cartoon show (premiered 1972) "Sealab 2020," pronounced twenty-twenty. In between the two was the #1 hit "In the Year 2525" (pron. twenty-five-twenty-five).

  28. Sili said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 10:21 am

    My personal impression of Danish is that "tyvehundredeti" (cf. Swedish vide supra), just doesn't work. I can't currently imagine saying anything but "totusindogti".

    Also re Quendus:

    Bah! Inconsistent!

    1970 = Nineteen sixty ten
    1971 = Nineteen sixty AND eleven
    1972 = Nineteen sixty twelve
    ..
    1980 = Nineteen fourscore
    1981 = Nineteen fourscore one

    1990 = Nineteen fourscore ten

    And so on.

    Obviously! Remember English is nothing but dirty French.

  29. Jack Lynch said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 10:25 am

    I've been rooting for "twenty-oh-ten," which has the advantages of being (1) longer than the other possibilities, (2) unfamiliar after the "two-thousand-nine" pattern, and (3) mathematically wrong, but not obviously so until you think about it.

  30. Benjamin Zimmer said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 10:27 am

    @John Walden & @J.W. Brewer: Kubrick's movie often gets the blame for the "two thousand and one" pronunciation… but what of the sequel, 2010 (which I assume was pronounced "two thousand ten")? I guess it didn't have nearly the same cultural impact…

  31. John said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 10:41 am

    WFMT, a classical music radio station in Chicago, has pretty consistently used "twenty-oh-one" etc., to the point that my parents started saying it too.

    One comparable item to look at (in the US at least) would be addresses. If an address is e.g. 3005 N. Whatever St., is that pronounced "thirty-oh-five"? My native judgment says it is, but maybe others disagree…

  32. Kip said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 10:41 am

    My guess as to the reason why "twenty oh one" sounds so weird to my ears, but not (for example) "nineteen oh one": the near-ambiguity between "twenty oh X" and "twenty-X". You can have "twenty-one" but not "nineteen-one", so there is not a risk of ambiguity in saying "1901".

  33. peter said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 10:52 am

    Richard (January 2, 2010 @ 7:50 am): Complicating pronunciation of telephone numbers is that, by the mid 20th century, most national telephone companies had devised a standard pronunciation which they trained their telephonists to use, presumably for reasons of greater efficiency and/or clarity. In one case I know of, triplicate digits such as "777" were always pronounced as: "seven, double-seven", not as (for example) "triple-seven", "double-seven, seven", etc.

  34. peter said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 11:03 am

    Richard said (January 2, 2010 @ 7:50 am):

    "Even here, public perception does not always correspond to the correct semantic division (e.g. those who consider the codes for London to be 0207 and 0208, rather than just 020, with the 7 or 8 being a geographically determined part of the local number)"

    To be fair to the badly-treated telephone subscribers of London (no fewer than 3 changes of area code in a single decade, evidence of world-leading telecommunications-planning incompetence), the digits "7" and "8" in London's current numbers did in fact – between 1990 and 2000 – indicate a geographic code, with "7" correspondoing to inner London, and "8" to outer.

  35. Sarah Bloom said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 11:04 am

    I'm so amused you wrote up an entry on this topic and even more entertained by how many comments you've received! I do hope you knew earlier that I was only remarking on NAGG, not choosing sides as it were.

    Most of us crass Americans have been saying Two thousand and nine, as has been pointed out, so even if some may think that was "wrong," it was still what the cultural base dictated. So "Two thousand and ten" or "Two thousand ten" is what the majority of us will say, I think.

    I hadn't even considered how to refer to the past decade! None of it rolls off my tongue in a way that satisfies.

  36. kay said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 11:09 am

    Who is this "we" you speak of who never said "twenty oh nine"? I conceded that 2000 could only be pronounced "two-thousand," but right after it was over, I commenced to say "twenty oh one" and so forth, all through the rest of the perhaps-decade.

    So while all you out there struggle with this momentous decision, I simply continued the convention I began lo, these nine years ago.

    Happy twenty-ten, chuckleheads.

  37. David said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 11:12 am

    Ahruman: a quick Googling reveals that in Swedish, "tvåtusentio" is perhaps twice as popular as "tjugohundratio". But there are also some hits for the English-inspired "tjugo tio" (twenty-ten).

    It's interesting to see the great difficulties the English have with choosing decade names. Swedish usage seemed to settle quite early (though not without some discussion) on "nollnolltalet" ("the oh-oh's") for the noughties, and it's a given that this decade will be called "tiotalet" ("the tens") since we already use that term to refer to the 1910's without any problems.

  38. Amy Stoller said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 11:18 am

    Two thousand ten for me, in part because of 2001: A Space Odyssey and its sequel, 2010 (naturally Two Thousand Ten). "Naturally" of course means means only "naturally for me."

    I think that 2011 is going to be very awkward to say as twenty-eleven. So that leaves two thousand eleven (probably with the d elided) or twenty-leven, I think – at least for the US, where the "and" fits reasonably comfortably after hundred (101 can be a hundred and one) but not so well after thousand.

    On the other hand, there doesn't seem to be an absolute rule that the "and" is dropped in the US, judging from this DVD "extra": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhzCJiAajN0. But in Dutch, it seems, it was pronounced two thousand one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdKHuyhhyuM.

  39. Zwicky Arnold said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 11:20 am

    To Nathan Myers, on the spread of one variant as opposed to another: sometimes, one variant eventually "wins", but since the spread is mostly via social interactions, different variants may win for different groups of speakers. And though explicit discussions of the variants (as in many of the comments here) tend to assume that there is One Right Way, actual speakers (not reflecting on their usages) often allow more than one variant, in this case and many others.

  40. Coppe said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 11:31 am

    In Dutch, 'twintig tien' (twenty-ten) sounds quite bad. I would always say 'tweeduizend tien' (two thousand ten).

    This isn't rooted in some sort of very systematic approach to year-naming, though. 1990 can be both 'negentien negentig' (nineteen ninety) and 'negentienhonderd negentig' (nineteenhundred ninety). 1988 can be both 'negentien achtentachtig' (nineteen eighty-eight) and 'negentienhonderd achtentachtig' (nineteen eighty-eight). In these instances, I actually prefer the 'broken up' ones.

    In fact, the broken up versions sound better for all the years from 1300 to 2000. The years from 1000 to 1300 behave like 2010. This is somehow related to the first two digits. 10, 11 and 12 ('tien,' 'elf' and 'twaalf' are all simplex, while 13 up to and including 19 ('dertien' and 'negentien') are all complex.

  41. Michael Lugo said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 11:45 am

    John (10:41 am) said:
    One comparable item to look at (in the US at least) would be addresses. If an address is e.g. 3005 N. Whatever St., is that pronounced "thirty-oh-five"? My native judgment says it is, but maybe others disagree…

    I think I'd pronounce that "thirty-oh-five", but isn't the real test how the address "3010" would be pronounced?

    In Philadelphia, north-south streets are numbered, and addresses on an east-west street between Xth street and (X+1)st street consist of X followed by two digits. (Of course other cities have a similar scheme.) It's standard to refer to the section of a named street between Xth and (X+1)st as its "X00 block". X00 is usually pronounced "X hundred", but if X is divisible by ten it seems to be pronounced with "thousand"; for example the block between 40th and 41st is the "four thousand block", not the "forty hundred block".

    It seems natural, in such a system, to separate the block number from the house number. So I'd pronounce 3010 as "thirty ten" in an address, which makes it obvious that it's between 30th and 31st on an east-west street. North-south streets are numbered similarly, except that the east-west streets have names instead of numbers, and most numbered streets have "North" and "South" segments. But to someone who knows the relevant neighborhoods, it's obvious where 30XX North/South [number] Street is.

    I would like to know if people pronounce addresses differently in places like Boston which do not use such an addressing scheme but just number the buildings on a street roughly consecutively.

  42. Barrett said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 11:58 am

    $Coppe

    Is twaalfhonderd acceptable for a price or phone number?

  43. Barrett said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 12:01 pm

    If you were to tell someone you lived in apartment 2 on the 10th floor, you would certainly say "ten oh two". That must be true in all English cities? What about non English…

  44. egaliede said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 12:20 pm

    In Quebec French, I have heard dates being pronounced "dix-neuf (cent) cinquante-cinc", as in English. This goes for the first decade as well ("dix-neuf six"); however, as for this century, saying "vingt et six" or "vingt onze" strikes me as likely to be misunderstood and I have never heard anyone deviate from "deux mille six".

    Also, an interesting change in Catalan: while for the 20th century, dates are pronounced as, for example, "el 12 de novembre de 1998", for some reason the first decade of the 21st is pronounced as "el 12 de novembre del 2001" (with the addition of an article). However, it is generally acceptable to pronounce 2010 and up without the article.

  45. bulbul said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 12:41 pm

    In Slovak and Czech, the full form is normally preferred, i.e. "dvetisícdesať" / "dvatisícedeset", almost always preceded by "year".
    Colloquially, we often refer only to the last two digits, especially if a preposition is involved, and use the ordinal e.g. "v sedemdesiatom druhom" = in '72, "od osumašedesátýho" = since '68. Only very rarely have I encountered this usage with the years of the aughts (e.g. "v piatom" instead of "v dvetisíc piatom"), so let's wait and see if anything changes.

  46. John said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 12:41 pm

    @Michael Lugo: Yeah, I was addressing the side point that 2001-09 are the outliers with the "two thousand X" pronunciation. Fwiw I'd say "thirty ten" as well.

    Chicago has the same address system that you described, but interestingly my father insists on saying e.g. "forty hundred", contrary to what you said. But he borders on the peevological so I wouldn't assume that's typical for Chicago.

    Back to years, I've heard something else that I found startling. When discussing revenue projections back in 2008, we shortened years to two-digit forms "oh eight" and "oh nine"–and then I heard some colleagues extend that to "oh ten", "oh eleven", etc.! I suppose the 0 in 2010 and 2011 helped this happen but I thought it was pretty weird…

  47. theophylact said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 12:42 pm

    Nobody ever says "twenty hundred" instead of "two thousand". But "twenty-one hundred" is perfectly normal, and I would guess far more common than "two thousand one hundred" in ordinary speech. Perhaps people write out the latter form on checks, though I don't – and in fact, that once caused a problem for me. I had made out a check for "seventeen hundred and fifty dollars" to a payee who was not a native speaker of English, and he angrily complained that I had underpaid him, since the correct amount was "one thousand seven hundred fifty dollars". It took quite some persuading to convince him he hadn't been cheated.

  48. uberVU - social comments said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 12:43 pm

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by languagelog: 2010: All around the English-speaking world, pundits are wondering in print about how to pronounce the year 2010. I… http://bit.ly/6Rl13e

  49. Ken Brown said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 12:48 pm

    I'd reached the age of fifty before I knew that American house numbers can include a block number. If I thought about it at all I probably thought they were numbered alternately, as ours are. To me the existence of a house number 1702 implies that 1700 is next door, and 1698 next to that.

    We don't always alternate – some streets have even and odd numbers on the same side – but I know of no block-numbering. Few if any British cities are laid out rigidly enough to make block numbers useful anyway – they tend to just grow, rather than fit in to a planned grid.

    "Plat" is another word we don't use.

  50. theophylact said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 12:51 pm

    On the other hand, it drives me crazy when someone calls my ZIP code (20015) "two hundred fifteen", because that's quite a different number. But nobody would call it "twenty thousand fifteen" either. As for me, I say "two zero zero one five"; it's not really a number, it's a sequence.

    (Canadian postal codes are a nightmare to remember, but easy to pronounce.)

  51. zoio said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 1:03 pm

    It's nineteen but not *ninetwenty. That's a vestige of an old vigesimal system. For the same reason, nineteen hundred vs two thousand, two thousand one hundred etc. Nineteen hundred dollars seems OK, but would you ever say *twenty hundred dollars?

  52. Ken Brown said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 1:04 pm

    Oh, and in the international standard text representation of dates we use in many computer systems, (cos its sortable) today is 20100102 – perfectly palindromic. :-) Enjoy it while it lasts.

  53. E. said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 1:48 pm

    If you call this year "oh-ten" for short, do you write it "'10"(in keeping with the traditional abbreviation for year numbers, such as'09) or "'010"(in keeping with the aforementioned pronunciation)?

    For comparison, here's a use of "'12" for "2012"; I guess we're meant to assume it's pronounced "12": http://z.about.com/d/politicalhumor/1/0/w/U/2/elephent-grind-sac1124acd.jpg

  54. Artifex Amando said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 2:26 pm

    I say "tjugohundraett" (twentyhundredone) &c, in Swedish, but I'm thinking of saying "tjugotio" (twentyten) when mentioning this year, for brevity's sake. If I'll stick to it or change back to the old pattern with "tjugohundratio" will probably depend on what facial expressions my family and friends show when I say "tjugotio".

  55. unekdoud said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 2:56 pm

    An alternative with the fewest syllables would be to pronounce it as 2k10, although that would be difficult to carry on to the next year, and sounds silly in a formal context. Possibly the worst way to refer to 2010 is to say ememex (Roman numerals MMX)

    As for other languages, the Chinese would have no problem splitting up each year into its individual digits, since each digit always occupies one syllable, and this is guaranteed to be the (nonunique) shortest reading, and some of the alternatives are clumsy.

    My personal preference in English is "two thousand (and) ten" when reading out a specific date, and "twenty ten" when referring to the whole year.

  56. James Kabala said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 3:04 pm

    For me the historical issue is the determiner. If it was "ten sixty-six," it ought to be "twenty-ten."

    "I am not the chauvinist I am pretending to be, but I do find the missing 'and' in American numbering a bit jarring."

    Some American math teachers have been known to insist that "and" is incorrect in a whole number because it ought to represent a decimal point (e.g., "9.5" = "nine AND five-tenths").

  57. Artifex Amando said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 3:07 pm

    @unekdoud: Despite my Latin nomen interretale, I hadn't thought of pronouncing it as "ememex". From now on I will think "ememex" whenever I read "2010".

  58. Lemuel Pitkin said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 3:12 pm

    I think those pointing to A Space Odyssey are right; The familiar "two thousand one" beat out the unfamiliar "twenty-oh-one," and the follwoing years kept the established form.

    In that case, tho, the two alternatives had an equal number of syllables, so the cultural anchor was decisive. Now, tho, the "oh" can be dropped — "twenty-ten" has one fewer syllable than "two thousand ten". So maybe the "twenty" form will win out?

  59. marie-lucie said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 3:40 pm

    egaliede: In Quebec French, I have heard dates being pronounced "dix-neuf (cent) cinquante-cinc", as in English. This goes for the first decade as well ("dix-neuf six");

    When I was young (in France), we were taught to say mille neuf cent cinquante-cinq and mille neuf cent six but many older people said dix-neuf cent cinquante-cinq and dix-neuf cent six. Nobody ever omitted or omits the cent. For historical dates it is possible to use both mille … and dix-…: for instance revolutions occurred in mille sept cent quatre-vingt-neuf or dix-sept cent quatre-vingt-neuf, mille huit cent trente or dix-huit cent trente, etc. In quoting the title of a literary work containing a date I think I would be more likely to use the dix-… pattern, for instance in Chronique de 1830, but I think that either pattern would be acceptable.

    If I heard something like dix-huit trente out of context I would think that it referred to a price: 18,30, not a date.

    Once 2000 was reached, there was no longer any possibility of choice: deux mille un, etc, as I mentioned above.

    For well-known dates in the same century it is sometimes possible to omit the first two digits if there is no ambiguity, as in la guerre de 1914 = la guerre de quatorze or la guerre de quatorze-dix-huit.

  60. Coppe said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 4:06 pm

    @Barrett: 'twaalfhonderd' is fine for both prices and for phone numbers. For prices, it is definitely preferred. For phone numbers, it is optional, but definitely acceptable.

  61. Eli said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 4:09 pm

    I think I'm going with twenty-ten, though I'm sure that I will end up referring to people graduating this year as the class of oh-ten. (I can just defend it by saying that it's the class of two oh-ten!)

    On addresses: here in Chicago we are on a grid system and, in most conversation, the street that represents 6000N is at sixty-hundred north unless you catch yourself first.

  62. Charles Wells said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 4:52 pm

    In northeastern Ohio the block numbering system extends to three-digit block (the highest I know of is 333). For a house number such as 13120 one would naturally say one-thirty-one twenty.

  63. Laura R said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 5:15 pm

    Well, I'm probably going with "two thousand ten" by habit, although I do feel "twenty-ten" would be better for English.

    I think that the main reason for the use of the "two-thousand…" model is because "twenty" ends with a vowel. Previously, the "-teens" and before were able to put in a nice consonant before adding "oh one" etc. But "twenty-oh-one" doesn't roll off the tongue as easily, hence the conventional use of "two thousand…" Now that we're into the 2010s, it makes sense to revert to the "twenty…" model.

    Although this is just for English. French and Arabic, I know, never bothered with the splitting the year into two, but just said out the year as a normal number. It porbably wouldn't hurt us to do the same.

  64. Laura R said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 5:16 pm

    *probably. Sorry for the typo.

  65. Tom V said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 5:22 pm

    @Sili:
    1970 = nineteen and half fourscore

    (Danelaw and all that, you know)

  66. Bob Ladd said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 6:10 pm

    I was going to say what Kip said – English had to say "two thousand (and) one", etc., because of the potential confusion between "twenty-one" and "twenty-oh-one". For what it's worth, my mother used to pronounce year names from the first decade of the 20th century as "nineteen-one", "nineteen-eight", etc., and for a speaker like that the potential for confusion in the first decade of the 21st century was (would have been?) very real.

    Also, like Kay, I made up my mind about this back at the end of the nineties – I decided I would say "two thousand and one", etc. for years through 2009, then start with "twenty-ten", etc., and that's what I've been doing.

  67. BrianM said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 6:25 pm

    Barry Norman nailed this one 25 year ago. 2010 is pronounced "ten past eight". End of.

  68. Roy G. Ovrebo said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 8:06 pm

    Norsk Språkråd (the Norwegian Language Council) has declared the new year is to be named totusenogti (twothousandandten). There is some disagreement though, and we can't expect all media to follow their decrees.

  69. Jarek Weckwerth said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 8:13 pm

    In Polish (and Russian), years use ordinals. Thus, 2010 = dwa tysiące dziesiąty 'two thousand (and) tenth'. Some people will say dwutysięczny dziesiąty 'two thousandth tenth' but this is considered incorrect by prescriptivists. And, of course, there is no other way to say it; Polish doesn't do the 10-66 or 19-72 trick. In general, it's not very liberal about numbers; of all the cases mentioned above (addresses, prices, etc.), only telephone numbers get special treatment, being read out in two- or three-digit groups as tens or hundreds. I think.

  70. Jarek Weckwerth said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 8:16 pm

    Now that I have really done the thinking, some people will also use the cardinal number, w roku dwa tysiące dziesięć 'in (the year) 2010' but this will also attract scorn from the language powers that be :).

  71. Dick Margulis said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 9:13 pm

    For the next ten years, some people will say twenty-whatever and others will say two thousand whatever. But a decade from now we'll all say twenty-twenty—because we're conditioned to think that locution sounds natural ("20/20 vision")—and that will set the pattern from then on. Meanwhile, don't worry. Be happy.

  72. Bryn LaFollette said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 9:15 pm

    First off, to all those arguing for a single "right" answer, why does there need to be a solitary answer to this question? Second, why is it that people in the English speaking world have this compulsion to somehow "logically" decide which is "right" and thereby which usage is "wrong"? This baffles me, and probably will continue to baffle me. Likewise, why do people (some of whom commented above) feel the need to have settled or decided on one particular usage for themselves?

    As a native speaker of English I feel totally comfortable and happy to have all these possible options available to me. And, in fact, have freely varied (and will continue to freely vary) my usage depending upon my whim in any particular situation for which way I'd say, for example, "two-thousand-six", "oh-six", "aught-six", and so on. I'm also going to be happily alternating freely between "twenty-ten" and "two-thousand-ten", and I'd encourage everyone else to feel free to do so as well.

    Happy Two-Aught-Ten everyone!

  73. Goodbye, Naughts « Michael Lauer’s Weblog said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 9:32 pm

    [...] higher culture, here’s a Language Log piece on how we might pronounce the coming year. I think I had planned to [...]

  74. MB said,

    January 2, 2010 @ 10:29 pm

    When I was a kid I predicted that years 2010-2099 would come to be pronounced 'twenty-ten' to 'twenty-ninety-nine'. I also figured that in retrospect, future historians would label the years 2001-2009 'twenty-oh-one' to 'twenty-oh-nine' as a result of being accustomed to saying the 'twenty' part of it first and then looking at the rest. I thought this was a very insightful observation. Then, years later, I discovered that David Crystal made it before I did. Oh well.

  75. Benjamin Zimmer said,

    January 3, 2010 @ 12:03 am

    Check out twentynot2000.com (via Pat Kiernan).

  76. Ben said,

    January 3, 2010 @ 3:18 am

    I agree that while it might sound for many of us more natural at the moment to call it "two-thousand-ten", in the future it will probably generally be "twenty-ten" ubiquitously and that the preceding years will be "twenty-oh-X". I make this judgment call without citing any evidence.

    Analytically I prefer "twenty-ten" but in actual speech production I usually say "two-thousand-ten". I don't know if in say 30 years I'll still be saying "two-thousand-ten" or if I'll have switched to "twenty-ten" but I'm guessing that young people in 30 years will all be calling it "twenty-ten".

    Also, I think Zager and Evans would agree that it should be called "twenty-ten".

  77. Craig Russell said,

    January 3, 2010 @ 4:37 am

    I'm under the impression that, at the time, people referred to the opening years of the twentieth century like this: 1907 was "nineteen seven" and so forth, where we (or at least I) would say "nineteen oh seven". When did people start calling zero "oh", and does this have any bearing on the question?

    Anyway, I bet if we had gone from the year 1999 to 2010 we'd be a lot more likely to call the latter year "twenty ten". But I imagine the way these things work is people try (consciously or unconsciously) to continue doing what they're already doing–that's what sounds right. We've just spent nine years saying "two thousand (and) X", so it's very difficult to go from that to a totally different system.

    The fact that the change from 1999 to 2000 was going to be a big change no matter what–and the fact that "two thousand" had long since beaten out "twenty hundred" or "twenty oh oh" or whatever other possibilities there might have been–meant that we spent a year getting used to saying the words "two thousand", and that plus the famous movie made it more natural to say "two thousand (and) one" than "twenty oh one".

    I think there's a kind of domino effect: what we say each year will affect what we say the next. I wouldn't be surprised if, in 2063, we're still saying "two thousand sixty three" instead of "twenty sixty three", because there will never be a point where it's not natural to keep saying "two thousand" like we did the year before.

    If I had to guess at when we switch back, it'll probably be 2100, when the advent of a new century and the bulkiness of "two thousand one hundred" in comparison to "twenty one hundred" will lead to the latter pronunciation, which will then lead to "twenty one oh one" and so on. But I don't imagine I'll be around to find out.

  78. David Cantor said,

    January 3, 2010 @ 5:21 am

    In German-speaking Switzerland, I generally heard "Neunzehnhundert neun und neunzig" almost always including the specific century marker. For this year, I mostly "Zweitausdend zehn." Swiss are very comfortable with polysyllabic number designations.

  79. David Cantor said,

    January 3, 2010 @ 5:23 am

    To be honest, its probably better transliterated as "Zwoidüüsand Zah."

  80. Graham said,

    January 3, 2010 @ 6:15 am

    Peter said: "Standard practice for newsreaders and announcers at the BBC over the second half of this last decade has been to say "Twenty-oh-X" for "200X", where X = 1, 2, . . . , 9. Perhaps this standard practice was adopted by the BBC in order to make the transition to "Twenty-oh-ten" for "2010″ seem consistent."
    He is plain wrong – the only Radio 4 Newsreader to say "twenty-oh-…" was Charlotte Green, and she stopped doing so some years ago because of the hate mail she was receiving (see http://www.linguism.co.uk/language/as-time-goes-by, dated 30 December 2007)

  81. Nightstallion said,

    January 3, 2010 @ 8:23 am

    In Austria, I've only heard "zweitausendneun" (two thousand nine), never "zwanzig null neun" (twenty oh nine). I'm pretty certain that it'll universally be "zweitausendzehn" (two thousand ten), as well.

  82. marie-lucie said,

    January 3, 2010 @ 8:31 am

    On my credit card the expiry date uses the number of the month and the last two digits of the year's number, for instance 07/95 or 10/08 or 08/12. When asked to give the expiry date on the phone I always said "ten, zero eight" for instance, even though for the year in full I said "two thousand and eight".

  83. Trond Engen said,

    January 3, 2010 @ 11:13 am

    Somebody posted too much during Christmas. This page is numbered 2012.

    In Norway this is an issue these days since Språkrådet, The National Language Council", advised NRK, the public broadcasting company on the question. They recommeded totusenogti rather than tjue ti. I will try to refrain from commenting on the "debate".

  84. Franz Bebop said,

    January 3, 2010 @ 11:50 am

    @Bryn: First off, to all those arguing for a single "right" answer, why does there need to be a solitary answer to this question?

    I was thinking the same thing. It's curious that many commenters are arguing for one variant or another, rather than taking the point of view that both variants are just fine.

    Rather than 1900, it would be interesting to compare with years like 1001 or 1010, if it is even possible to determine how these years have been pronounced (by near-modern speakers, not contemporaries in 1010). It could be that spoken customs around this have changed over the past few centuries.

    In school they taught us that the Norman Invasion was in "ten sixty-six", not "one thousand sixty-six." But I don't remember any years like 1006 or 1010 ever being mentioned. (I don't want to assume that any preference for "ten sixty-six" implies a preference for "ten ten.")

    There was a large supernova in 1006. I wonder how astronomers refer to that year.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SN_1006

  85. John said,

    January 3, 2010 @ 12:02 pm

    @David Cantor: I thought it'd be "Zwoidüüsig Zah"? Or is that just in Zurich? :-)

  86. Graham said,

    January 3, 2010 @ 6:28 pm

    Franz Bebop – "Both variants are just fine". Quite right! There's more than one way of skinning a cat.
    As for comparisons, how do Egyptologists refer to similar years BC? They have been discussing the 11th dynasty, for instance, for well over a hundred years, and that period was around 2150 BC.

  87. Linkie Goodness # 1 « Should Know Better By Now said,

    January 4, 2010 @ 10:00 am

    [...] How do you pronounce 2010? [...]

  88. mollymooly said,

    January 4, 2010 @ 8:19 pm

    Apart from "how this works in other languages", it may not work the same in different English dialects.
    I haven't seen the "2010" movie or the "2012" movie, but it never occurred to me that anyone would pronounce them "two thousand —" rather than "twenty —". Amy Stoller's comment above was amusingly jarring, and sure enough a youtube trailer for "2012" has an American accent saying "two thousand twelve". Maybe the extra syllable in our "two thousand and twelve" has tipped the balance here overwhelmingly in favour of the "twenty —" version. And yet, I/we said "two thousand and nine", not "twenty oh nine". House numbers are not a comparable case, since 4-digit house numbers are almost unknown in UK/Irish addresses.

  89. Atario said,

    January 4, 2010 @ 8:48 pm

    theophylact said: Nobody ever says "twenty hundred" instead of "two thousand".

    Wrong, good sir. I have said it from before that year even started. And I have continued the pattern with "twenty oh one" and so on, and so naturally this year will be "twenty ten".

    Furthermore, all these argument flying around about "what sounds good" and how address numbers or dollar amounts are pronounced are irrelevant. Years are pronounced, in the English-speaking world, as a century number followed by a representation of the year within that century. Given that convention, to say it another way simply does not sound like a year. This is why you inevitably hear not "two thousand", but in fact "the year two thousand" or even "two thousand — the year two thousand —". People instinctively know "two thousand" doesn't sound like a year, and so feel the need to qualify it, though few seem to take the time to puzzle out why this is.

    Sorry for ranting all over you, but I've been waiting over a decade to say ah tole ya so to all the "two thousand and"-ers.

  90. unekdoud said,

    January 4, 2010 @ 10:29 pm

    Perhaps preferences of pronunciation are related to mental "chunking" of data, where twenty-ten comes from splitting the digits into hundreds and ones, while two-thousand…ten comes from splitting the digits into thousands and everything else. This reminds me of the different ways that companies choose to break up telephone numbers when making advertising jingles. Thus, if only the last two digits of the number are presented (like in Eli's comment about credit cards) there will be no splitting of the number and no question of how to read it. If this is the case, then we should also be able to observe varying usage among professions, especially for people who have to deal with numbers or dates on a regular basis.

    Anyway, I don't think we will have to face reading the number 2777 out, since we will probably have a language more evolved than now. To refer to it currently, even saying two-sep-sep-sep would be clear enough. As for the current Y2010 problem, I guess we will just have to wait and see.

  91. Wie spricht man 2010 auf Englisch aus? - Englisch lernen said,

    January 5, 2010 @ 12:33 am

    [...] Mehr zum Thema findet man u.a. beim Language Log. [...]

  92. Murugaraj said,

    January 5, 2010 @ 3:18 am

    Being in India, caught by the T20 fever, I find it cool to say "Twenty Ten".
    (I'm even thinking of writing T10!)

  93. Terry Collmann said,

    January 5, 2010 @ 10:37 am

    I think that 2011 is going to be very awkward to say as twenty-eleven.

    Any more awkward than nineteen-eleven?

    … there will never be a point where it's not natural to keep saying "two thousand" like we did the year before.

    I have a vision – 2020.

  94. Mackenzie said,

    January 5, 2010 @ 2:35 pm

    That there's no "and" should be obvious. "And" is only used in numbers when a decimal is involved.

  95. Katherine said,

    January 5, 2010 @ 11:37 pm

    In the year twenty-five twenty-five…

    I've decided all options are stupid and I'm going to say all post-1999 years like I say phone numbers: each digit is a separate number. In the year two zero one zero blah blah blah. I might shorten it to "two oh one oh" if I feel like it.

  96. Celso said,

    January 6, 2010 @ 10:19 am

    Well, I'm definitely going to call it "zoio": "THE YEAR ZOIO", and so on.
    45 W3 KN0W, L3773R5 C4N B3 R34D 4S NUM83R5 4ND V1C3V3R54 . So, H4PPY N3W Y34R ZOIO!

    Now the question is what "ZOIO" means in different languages. To start with, one of the above commentators' name in this thread is "zoio" ;-) . In Brazilian Portuguese, it is a dialectal, informal version of "olho", 'eye'. And there's a village in Portugal, Zoio.

    -C3L50
    celso

  97. Philip said,

    January 6, 2010 @ 12:50 pm

    When talking about dates, no English speaker on earth pronounces "1999" as "one-thousand-nine-hundred-ninety-nine." Why should "2010" be any different?

    We've been splitting years into two numbers for decades ("nineteen-fifty-six", etc). "Two-thousand-nine" is the anomaly, not the norm.

  98. tráchtas. dialann. tagebuch einer magisterarbeit. » Frohes Neues Jahr(zehnt) said,

    January 7, 2010 @ 6:45 am

    [...] "2010" – zusammengetragen ist die Diskussion beispielsweise von Mark Liberman im Language Log. Auf die Frage, wie das in anderen Sprachen aussieht, schreibt eine Kommentatorin, dass sich [...]

  99. Tricolon said,

    January 7, 2010 @ 9:58 am

    Nearly everyone I know (at a U.S. East Coast university) says "twenty-ten".

  100. Anna K. said,

    January 8, 2010 @ 8:01 am

    I'm Chinese, and I speak Cantonese. When you mention years in Cantonese, you refer to each of year's digits individually.

    You might need to brush up on your Cantonese counting 0-10.
    0 – ling (rhymes with "ring")
    1 – yut (rhymes with "but")
    2 – yi (rhymes with "me")
    3 – saam (it's an "ah" vowel)
    4 – say (like the verb to say)
    5 – m (like when something tastes good, "mmm!")
    6. – look (like to see/to watch)
    7 – tsut (rhymes with "but")
    8 – baat (it's an "ah" vowel)
    9 – gau (rhymes with "cow", but with a "g")

    For example, the year 1978 ("Nineteen seventy-eight", in English) in Cantonese would be (phonetically) "yut-gau-tsut-baat leen". The literal translation is "1-9-7-8 year"/"one-nine-seven-eight year"

    So 2010 (Twenty ten/Two thousand ten) would be "yi-ling-yut-ling leen". The literal translation is "2-0-1-0 year/two-zero-one-zero year".

  101. dwmacg said,

    January 8, 2010 @ 2:30 pm

    In Spanish, for what it's worth, years are always pronounced as numbers (at least in Spain). So it's dos mil diez now, not veinte diez, but for that matter 1999 was mil novocientos noventa y nueve, not diecinueve noventa y nueve (sorry if my spelling of the numbers is wrong).

    As for my English, the "two thousand" version always sounded better to me, but I suspect that may be the influence of the movie 2001 (two-thousand and one, never twenty-oh-one).

    Anyway, Norma will eventually sort this all out, hopefully before the year 3000 rolls along (of course by then we'll all be speaking Navajo).

  102. Zwicky Arnold said,

    January 10, 2010 @ 6:35 am

    Some further discussion, especially on the and/zero alternation, on my blog here.

  103. JimG said,

    January 11, 2010 @ 6:38 pm

    Professor Zwicky's blog highlights the Anglo/antipodean preference for, nay, insistence on "two thousand AND ten." Let them also follow 20 with twenty-and-one.

  104. Jami said,

    January 14, 2010 @ 8:44 pm

    I say "two oh one oh" and have been saying it like that since 2001, because two thousand" was much simpler than "two oh oh oh".

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