Even before it began, this New Year was causing controversy in the English-speaking world, something that promises to heat up now the year has begun—well, if any linguistic disagreement can be expressed in terms implying passion. The question before us: How shall we pronounce “2010”? We could follow the example of the previous century and say “twenty ten”, or we could follow the example of the first decade of this one and say “two thousand, ten”.
Most of us born in the latter part of the twentieth century were taught to say the year as, for example, “nineteen eighty-four” or “nineteen ninety-six”. Others, perhaps older or wanting so sound more formal or dramatic, would sometimes add “hundred”, as in “nineteen hundred, twenty-eight”, and some would even add “and”, as in “nineteen hundred and twenty-eight”.
Obviously it would be absurd to say “twenty hundred, ten”, with or without an “and”, but “two thousand ten” is similar—and has some precedent. In the first part of this century, most people said, for example, “two thousand seven” because “twenty, seven” sounded like 27. I heard some TV people try out “twenty oh-seven”, but that sounded odd.
Now that we’re past the “naughties”, we have the option choosing. Which will—and which should—win? Will it be “twenty ten” or “two thousand, ten”?
I’ll be saying “twenty ten” and I don’t really care what others say—but I hope the fans of “two thousand” don’t use the archaic “and”.
What way of saying the year do you like?