How does that sound? Seriously, how does it read to you?
Did you hear “two thousand twelve” or “twenty-twelve” in your head when you read it?
Since 2010, I’ve heard it with a mix of “two thousands” and “twenties,” and “two thousand,” sadly, is winning in a heavily lopsided battle.
The year 2000 was quick and easy to say. And we didn’t have much choice in how we said years 2001 through 2009 — I never heard someone say “twenty-o-one,” for example, when talking about 2001.
But 2010 and beyond has offered options. Do we stick with what we knew for a decade or save time and syllables for the next 87 years? I’d go with the latter.
Just do a comparison using the 1900s.
The year 1900, I only can assume, was said at the time as “nineteen hundred,” not “one thousand nine hundred.” Just like the year 1910 was “nineteen ten” instead of “one thousand nine hundred ten.”
I cringe each time I hear someone on TV or the radio, and in everyday conversation, talk about the current year and start with “two thousand.” Saying “twenty-eleven” flows better. Plus, no year should take six syllables to say.
Hopefully with 2012, a year long talked about for its connection to the end of the Mayan calendar and the belief of some that the world will end, people will drop the two thousand and stick with twenty. I mean, even the 2009 movie “2012” was pronounced “twenty-twelve.” And think about how fun it will be to say “2020” when we get there.
Comedian Bill Burr, who hosts my favorite podcast, “The Monday Morning Podcast,” starts every show by saying, “Hey, what’s going on? It’s Bill Burr, and it’s the Monday Morning Podcast for Monday, (whatever the date is), 2011.” He almost always says the year as “two thousand eleven” or even “two thousand and eleven.” And it bugs me to an unreasonable and irrational degree.
But this week, something was different. He said “twenty-eleven” for only the second or third time this year, and it sounded so right.
All of us should get behind the twenty and make that battle a little less lopsided.
Jimmy Bellamy is a Duluth News Tribune columnist and multimedia editor in Duluth, Minn. Contact him at (218) 723-5390 or firstname.lastname@example.org. This column originally appeared here.