Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Twenty Twelve

At last the new millennium is establish in speech!  Ever since the beginning of the century people in England have been divided.

Initially there was a great debate about the true date of the beginning of the 21st century, with one side claiming January 1st 2000, and the opposition claiming 2001.  Well obviously the latter is strictly correct, and as a permanent pedant I could hardly be expected to take the opposite view.  After all, there was no year zero, so the last year of the first century (strictly speaking) was 100, and the first year of the second century was 101.  Logically 2001 got my vote.

Pedant or not, I am also a pragmatist.  When failure is inevitable I can be swayed to accept it, and after all, some battles are worth fighting and some are not.  In the minds of most of the public the number 2000 is much more important than 2001.  This is just numerology.  It doesn't actually matter at all does it.  The first day in the new millennium was simply the next day in our lives.

But this year it is different.  Until 2012 we have struggled with the question of how to say the year out loud.  It was impossible to contemplate saying 'Twenty One' because that is not written as 20-01 but 21.

'Twenty Oh One' just sound silly although shorter than 'Two thousand and One' it is not a saving that our aesthetics consider worthwhile.

Finally Twenty Twelve sounds right.  A few still say Two Thousand and Twelve, but let's face it, we will all be converted to the sensible shorter version soon.

Twenty Twelve marks the point when we are finally happy with our century.

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