[Ads-l] Date templates for the 21st century

Fri Nov 23 22:31:14 EST 2018

For what it’s worth, my own checks do have “20__” in the years slot.

I think the difference, to the extent it exists, is more a function of the increased role of computers.  There is less need to fill out paper forms than there was in the 19th and 20th centuries, so we encounter such forms less often.  Greater awareness of the problems with two-digit date fields, as shown by the successful efforts to prevent a Y2K crisis, may also be a factor.

John Baker

From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Laurence Horn
Sent: Friday 23 November 2018 9:21 PM
Subject: Re: Date templates for the 21st century

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> On Nov 23, 2018, at 5:54 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> Last century I recall manually filling in forms containing slots that
> were used to specify the year. Often the two digits 19 appeared in
> these year slots. It was only necessary to specify the remaining two
> digits for the year. In the current century I have not encountered
> many forms with 20 written in the year slot.
> For example, In the past my personal checks had 19 in the year slot,
> but nowadays they do not have 20.
> Have others observed this difference?
> ——————————————————————————————

Now that you mention it, I think I have, without noticing that I’d observed it. Speculation: Maybe 19 is more likely to collocate with an additional two digits to denote a year, while 20 seems more self-sufficient.


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