Saturday, March 14, 2009

Twenty-Twelve or Two Thousand Twelve?

Check out this article on Boing Boing about what we should call the years, especially in this first century of the millennium.

I've thought a lot about this topic, and I think we are on the right track. For the first 10 years of the millennium it is awkward to call the years anything but Two Thousand________. Specifically the year Two Thousand (2000), you wouldn't call it Twenty or Twenty Hundred. Same with a year like 2005, it wouldn't be Twenty-Five, because that is a different number than 2005 as you lose a zero. The year 2012 on the other hand can be said Twenty-Twelve because putting those numbers together doesn't lose any digits.

Another aspect of importance on this subject is things like sports video games. When coming out with new ones every year, the games are distinguished by the year. This intrigued me back in the late 90s when I was trying to guess what the games would be called in the new millennium. Early on the games were, for example, NCAA Football 99, then NCAA Football 2000-2005, then in 2006 and beyond it became NCAA Football 06.

I think that 2010 will be the official start of people getting back into the Twenty-Ten etc. of saying the year. I do think there will be a transition period because of the pattern of the last 10 years. By the time we get to 2011, most people will have stopped saying Two Thousand Eleven because Twenty-Eleven is the path of least resistance.

1 comment:

Patrick said...

Yeah, I've thought about this as well. When you look at it from a linguistic viewpoint, it makes perfect logical sense to say "two thousand (and) X" for the years 2000-2009, but after 2009, it makes more sense to start with the "twenty". I agree that this will occur in 2010, and the transition will complete by 2011. If, by some chance, it doesn't happen then, it will certainly happen in 2020.

Worst comes to worse, 2100.