How to Pronounce ‘2010’

The gang at Esquire give some thought to a question that will soon be everywhere: How will we pronounce the year 2010?

2010Twenty ten Suggested.

Two thousand ten Eh.

Two zero one zero Amusing but impractical.

Two oh ten Come on.

Ten Nah.

Really, the first two are the only plausible options.  My preference is for the first.  During the last century, we pronounced years as nineteen-seventy, nineteen-eighty-four, and so forth and I’m guessing we’ll do that again now that the aughts are about over.

Aside from it rolling off the tongue somewhat more easily, this approach has another major advantage.  It’s been a decade since people advocating progress could exclaim, “It’s the nineteen-(insert-decade-here), for God’s sakes!”

FILED UNDER: General,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. G.A.Phillips says:

    Zero One Zero, number six two remains silent…

  2. DC Loser says:

    Do you say “Two thousand and nine” or “Twenty oh nine?”

  3. Janis Gore says:

    I grew up in the 1956-7-8 cohort. 57 for me.

    My friend Russell said he’d never see 2000. And he didn’t. AIDS.

    I’ll go with twenty-ten.

  4. Wayne says:

    Pronounce it any way you want. This “we all must be uniform” is B.S. Lighten up Francis. Heh heh,

    Anyway the first two will be typically the way most will say it with a variation on the second where some will throw in the implied “and” by saying two thousand and 10. It will most likely last until 2100.

  5. James Joyner says:

    Do you say “Two thousand and nine” or “Twenty oh nine?”

    The former. I don’t know anyone who says the latter. Twenty-oh-nine is awkward and twenty-nine is confusing.

    My strong guess, though, is that it’ll change with the non-aught decades. But maybe not. Most people are saying “Two thousand and twelve” rather than “twenty-twelve” when referring to the next presidential election.

  6. Janis Gore says:

    Because I am no longer in journalism (yea!), it’s not my problem. But we now are in the 21st century, and things change.

    I’ll still go with twenty-ten. You’re right, Dr. Joyner. Now is the time to roll over.

    When I read history books I read nineteen-oh-eight or whatever.

  7. John Burgess says:

    How about ‘Two years and counting down’. Or, it could be done in days, if you’re feeling effete.

    After the 2012 apocalypse, we can start counting upwards again…

  8. Janis Gore says:

    Do you pronounce that twenty-twelve ot two thousand and twelve, Mr Burgess?

  9. Slow news day?

  10. Douglas says:

    “Aught Ten” (there’s a zero in there)

  11. Janis Gore says:

    How do you deal with dates, Mr. Austin?

  12. PD Shaw says:

    I say two-thousand one . . . etc.

    I blame Stanley Kubrick. Living in the two-thousands is much more important and exciting than living in the nineteen hundreds or seventeen hundreds or even the twenty-one hundreds. This is the new millenia. Every time you say two thousand, it’s like the future is here. None of these boring number combinations that sound like a street address.

    (Side note: I was watching a new tv show last night that ended with a segue into the screen for twentieth century fox. I thought they were going to switch to the twenty-first century?)

  13. Janis Gore says:

    So people said in 1900, Shaw.

  14. PD Shaw says:

    But did they say one-thousand nine-hundred? Maybe, the essential difference is that two-thousand is much shorter and cleaner.

    But I’m shilling for a better future. When I look back at the nineteen hundreds I think of two world wars, the Great Depression, the Cold War and the spectre of nuclear annihilation, genocide and democide, Jim Crow, the Spanish Flu and AIDS. Time to turn the page and hope for uninteresting times.

  15. How do you deal with dates, Mr. Austin?

    Not entirely sure how to answer that, I guess it depends on context. I prefer unambiguity as much as possible in a say what you mean, mean what you say kind of way. In this particular case I would side with the precedent of Zager and Evans and go with “twenty-ten.”

  16. Janis Gore says:

    I’m with you darlin’, but it didn’t start all that well.

  17. Janis Gore says:

    Poop, Mr. Austin. You knew your context.

    In the other sense, I prefer Dutch for at least a time or two.

  18. Janis Gore says:

    And we’re all carrying on as a non-Judaic bunch. It’s 5770 by that calendar.

    Who has the Hindu calendar?

  19. Peter says:

    I’m with PD Shaw. I didn’t expect folks to say Twenty Hundred in 2000, but we spent 30+ years waiting so we could say the year was Two Thousand One.

    100 years earlier folks said Nineteen O One and moved on. I’ve often said Twenty O One (or two, or three, or nine) and so has Charles Osgood on Sunday Morning, IIRC. It’s a heck of a lot easier than the much more awkward two thousand and “x”.

    Can’t wait for Twenty Ten, which is much easier to say than Two Thousand Ten, and when we will finally get out of this silly rut

    Pete

  20. John Burgess says:

    Janis: In real life, I say ‘twenty-twelve,’ but to stay in character, I should be counting down to 2012, e.g., ‘Fourteen months and counting…’

    It’s 1430 Hijri, btw.

  21. No worries, it will be Year Zero again soon.

  22. Janis Gore says:

    Is that the Mayan calendar, Mr. Austin?

  23. No, just a reference to your garden variety Year Zero utopians.

  24. McGehee says:

    I expect to say “twenty ten,” as that’s how I’ve been thinking of all the post-double-aught years anyway.

    I expect 2010 will be transitional for most, but that the attraction of getting away with saying “twenty-eleven” the following year will bring pretty much everyone into line eventually.

  25. Wayne says:

    “”twenty-eleven” the following year will bring pretty much everyone into line eventually”

    There will be plenty in 2012 that will be saying “two thousand twelve” or “two thousand and twelve”. I’m not sure why that sounds so odd to some of you. Most likely due to where you live than anything.

    If one goes by the way people typically say numbers and as already stated there is some variance, two thousand and what not will be used until it becomes twenty-one hundred, twenty-one hundred and what not, or the 21 and what not. Ask when the Civil war started and you will get either eighteen sixty one, 18 hundred 61, or 18 hundred and sixty one.

    I’m not sure why there is a discussion of it having to be said one way or another, or if it will be said one way or another. To me it is obviously that it will be said in many different ways as it always has been. The various ways it will be said and which is more popular is some interest but amazes me that some will think it will be only said one way.

  26. Janis Gore says:

    It’s all trivial, except to Dr. Joyner.

    He married in what, 2005, 2006?

    He had a baby girl in what, 2008?

    They didn’t have the baby in twenty-ought-something.

    Katie was born in two-thousand and what?

  27. James Joyner says:

    Katie was born in two-thousand and what?

    Last New Years Eve. But I think everyone calls it “Two thousand,” “Two thousand and one,” and so forth.

  28. Janis Gore says:

    I stand corrected. How is Katie?

  29. This Guy says:

    This is easy, we in America will listen to how everyone else says it, and then say it differently. Like aluminum and the metric system.

  30. James Joyner says:

    How is Katie?

    She’s doing great. Growing like a weed, just about walking, and otherwise doing what she’s supposed to, including keeping us up nights.

  31. McGehee says:

    There will be plenty in 2012 that will be saying “two thousand twelve” or “two thousand and twelve”.

    Someone recently said “not many” presidents seeking re-election lose. I pointed out that two of the four living ex-presidents were defeated for re-election, and politely suggested he define “not many.”

    So, please define “plenty.” 😉

  32. Wayne says:

    Plenty would be 10% or greater that will use it at least once in a year. As for the above statement, I suspect the number will be greater than 50% that uses it at least once in a year with 30% or higher using it frequently. Frequently meaning several times in a year.

    So what is your “pretty much everyone” breakdown and your percentages?

  33. McGehee says:

    Plenty would be 10% or greater that will use it at least once in a year. As for the above statement, I suspect the number will be greater than 50% that uses it at least once in a year with 30% or higher using it frequently. Frequently meaning several times in a year.

    I look forward to your survey figures at the end of the time period in question. Have you been offered any grant money?

    So what is your “pretty much everyone” breakdown and your percentages?

    100% of people who won’t be spending the next few years collecting data on how many people are saying “two thousand and twelve.”

    Do me a favor and include that in your survey.

  34. Wayne says:

    Mc
    I thought for a minute that you may actually be interest in a discussion and wanted definitions of words we use so we would be on the same page. Obviously not. You were just being snide and condescending and expecting from others what you are unwilling to give. Anyone who thinks 100% will never say “two thousand and twelve” is showing how reasonable of a person they really are.

  35. Dan Golus says:

    Twenty-Ten.
    Most national newscasters already say “twenty-xxx”
    The Vancouver, London, and Rio Olympics are all officially “twenty”.

    ‘Two thousand’ is for counting numbers, not for naming years. $2,010 is ‘two thousand ten dollars. Year 2010 is ‘twenty-ten’. (Notice no comma to separate the thousands digits. Using no comma suggests hundreds – such as twenty hundred, just like last decase was nineteen hundred.)