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How is the year "2010" supposed to be pronounced in English, please?
Thread poster: Astrid Elke Witte

Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:38
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Jan 7, 2010

I would have assumed that the current year should be pronounced "Two Thousand and Ten". However, when I was recently in the UK for a fortnight, over Christmas and New Year, I noticed that everybody kept pronouncing it "Twenty Ten", and then I even heard "Twenty Ten" on television.

Did they also say "Twenty Oh Nine" last year?

Which is correct, or are both ways correct? I would be interested to know.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:38
Member (2008)
Italian to English
BBC Jan 7, 2010

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

I would have assumed that the current year should be pronounced "Two Thousand and Ten". However, when I was recently in the UK for a fortnight, over Christmas and New Year, I noticed that everybody kept pronouncing it "Twenty Ten", and then I even heard "Twenty Ten" on television.

Did they also say "Twenty Oh Nine" last year?

Which is correct, or are both ways correct? I would be interested to know.


The official BBC pronunciation is "Twenty ten"


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Rachel MacKay Delatousche  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:38
French to English
You're quite right ! Jan 7, 2010

We do indeed say "twenty ten" - there's something nice about it as it's reminiscent of the way we used to talk about the 1970s, 80s and 90s.
I can't recall anyone saying twenty oh nine - it sounds very old-fashioned.


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Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:38
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Both are OK Jan 7, 2010

I would be happy to call it twenty-ten or to call it two-thousand-and-ten. Last year (IIRC!) I called it two thousand and nine more frequently than twenty-oh-nine. That's partly because I don't like using the letter name oh to name the number zero.
Oliver


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Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:38
Member (2005)
German to English
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BBC proves nothing! Jan 7, 2010

Tom in London wrote:
The official BBC pronunciation is "Twenty ten"

Well, after hearing a BBC radio news item containing "Drug smuggling is one of 67 crimes which in China carries the death penalty", and Ed Stourton saying "so I shall leave the last words in this series to one of those who was at the heart of ...", I would not take the BBC as authoritative on anything in the English language.
Oliver


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B D Finch  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:38
Member (2006)
French to English
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Going backwards ... Jan 7, 2010

1910 is generally known as "nineteen ten" and 1909 is "nineteen oh nine". However, the more formal "nineteen hundred and ten" or "nineteen hundred and nine" are also used, particularly when emphasis is required, as the stress in the longer versions tends to fall on the last word, which can be useful.

Re. Aunty: I think it is fair to differentiate between the Beeb's official pronouncements and what is said unscripted by broadcasters. Does anyone manage to speak without making grammatical mistakes?



[Edited at 2010-01-07 16:25 GMT]


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Jennifer Baldwin  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:38
Member (2005)
French to English
+ ...
Both are correct. Jan 7, 2010

Both are commonly used, and no one would look at you strangely for either.

From talking with friends about this, it seems that most people prefer "twenty ten", myself included. However, I find myself saying "two thousand ten" out of habit. I'm making a conscious effort to change!


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British Diana
Germany
Local time: 19:38
German to English
+ ...
Big discussion going on Jan 7, 2010

There has been a big discussion about this and there is even a website devoted to propagating it:

www.techcrunch.com

Also BBC stars have been talking about it:
www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/6897583/BBC-stars-discuss-how-to-pronounce-2010

Personally, I think two-oh-one-oh would have been rather nice, but I'm sure twenty-ten will win.


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:38
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
... but how to refer to the whole decade? Jan 7, 2010

I agree with most contributors that either "twenty-ten" or "two thousand and ten" is acceptable, regardless of what the Beeb may say.
However, more problematical is how to refer to the whole decade from 2010 to 2019. Should we call it "the twenty-tens", or what? How were the years from 1910 to 1919 referred to (decade-wise)? Any suggestions?
Happy year, anyway
Jenny


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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:38
German to English
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Twenty-ten Jan 7, 2010

I mostly hear people here (US Midwest) say twenty-ten, but two-thousand-ten is also used. No one said twenty-oh-nine - it was always two-thousand-nine.

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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:38
German to English
+ ...
The teens? Jan 7, 2010

Jenny Forbes wrote:

I agree with most contributors that either "twenty-ten" or "two thousand and ten" is acceptable, regardless of what the Beeb may say.
However, more problematical is how to refer to the whole decade from 2010 to 2019. Should we call it "the twenty-tens", or what? How were the years from 1910 to 1919 referred to (decade-wise)? Any suggestions?
Happy year, anyway
Jenny


I think 1910-1919 was called the "teens."


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DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
why teens? Jan 7, 2010

IMO '-teen' refers to 13-19, not 10-19.
Right?


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John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:38
Spanish to English
+ ...
Democracy in action Jan 7, 2010

One of the attractive aspects of English is the way these types of questions pop up from time to time. I especially like the fact that we have to wait for an answer to emerge from popular usage - rather than being told to defer to some official dictionary or grandiose language academy.

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Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:38
Italian to English
Exactly Jan 7, 2010

John Rawlins wrote:

I especially like the fact that we have to wait for an answer to emerge from popular usage - rather than being told to defer to some official dictionary or grandiose language academy.



The Times had an article last week, speculating on which term was most likely to achieve common acceptance.


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Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:38
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Centuries and decades Jan 8, 2010

The question of when centuries and decades begin became slightly important for me in 1999, when everybody was excited about the next millennium, allegedly beginning on 1 January 2000. The strictly correct answer is that the idea of counting the years of the calendar from a fixed year (instead of beginning again every time an emperor or consul died) was invented by Dionysius Exiguus (in about the year now called 525 a.d.), who chose to count from the year in which he calculated Jesus was born. As the Roman numbering system had no way to indicate zero, the first year in this calendar was called 1. Since a century is a continuous period of 100 years, the first century is the years 1 to 100, inclusive. Therefore, the 3rd millennium began on 1 January 2001, and the first decade of this millennium is 2001 to 2010 inclusive.
It's easier to give a name to the decade (a period of 10 years) 2000 to 2009, and it is sometimes called, part-jokingly, the noughties (which sounds like the naughties). We are now (Jan 2010) in the first year after the noughties and in the last year of the first decade of the 21st century.
More information, for those interested, is in, for example, Wikipedia and:
http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2506300054.html

To B D Finch, Re: Aunty BBC: Yes I agree about the unscripted words, but the news item (about 67 crimes in China) was certainly scripted, and still grammatically incorrect.

Oliver


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How is the year "2010" supposed to be pronounced in English, please?

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