I heard someone on the radio refer to the year as “two double-oh four” (2004), a pronunciation I had never heard before in my life. This fits somewhat with what seems to me the American tendency to speak the year 1906 as “nineteen oh six,” but we also tend to say “two-thousand four.” I have it in my head that people in England say things like “nineteen hundred six,” but then I’ve seen Orwell’s novel spelled out as Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Branching to other languages, my German classes taught me to speak the date as “neunzehn hundert vierundachtzig”—effectively the same phrasing I’m used to—but my Spanish classes taught me to say “mil novecientos ochenta y cuatro,” the equivalent of “one thousand nine hundred eighty-four.” Either could have been simplified for teaching purposes.

So I have to wonder—is this an American/Commonwealth issue, a regional issue, a romance/germanic issue? How do you say the date where you live?

One thought on “Pronunciation of the Year

  1. We call it “two thousand four” but 1984 was “nineteen eighty four”. I guess mostly the simplest way of saying the year is chosen 🙂

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