Year names

Erik Hoover grinchy at GRINCHY.COM
Wed May 2 14:42:12 UTC 2007

USian use of 'x Hundred and y':

1816 was later known in the US as "Eighteen Hundred and froze to
death" because of the abnormal dimness of the sun as a result of a the
Mount Tambora volcanic eruption of the previous year.

I don't have a cite for earliest use of the phrase.

On May 2, 2007, at 10:14 AM, Jim Parish wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jim Parish <jparish at SIUE.EDU>
> Subject:      Year names
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> Recently, I've been participating in a LiveJournal discussion on the
> pronunciation of year names. The original poster, who is Swedish, was
> struck by President Bush's use of the phrase "two thousand seven" to
> refer to the current year; the corresponding name in Swedish would
> translate as "twenty-hundred and seven".
> I replied that this was standard usage, with "twenty-oh-seven" as a
> rarer
> possibility (and "twenty-hundred and seven" an impossibility), but
> pointed out that in later decades "two thousand seventeen" and
> "twenty-seventeen" would be possibilities, with the former being
> somewhat more formal.
> A British reader then commented that, to his(?) ear, "two thousand
> seven" sounded odd; he preferred "two thousand and seven", with
> "twenty-oh-seven" a rarer option. Likewise, he preferred an "and" in,
> e.g., "two thousand and seventeen". He also pointed out that, though
> he had never heard anyone use "twenty hundred seven", "nineteen
> hundred and seven" was perfectly standard. As another data point, he
> said, "1066" is always pronounced "ten-sixty-six" in English history
> classes.
> So, I'm curious. What sorts of variation - in register, dialect, or
> what
> have you - are there in the verbalization of year names? Is there,
> e.g.,
> such a clear division between AmE and BrE as the above suggests?
> Jim Parish
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