Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Sat Jan 16 10:48:17 UTC 2010

On Jan 15, 2010, at 11:04 AM, Grant Barrett wrote:
> On Jan 15, 2010, at 10:51, Laurence Horn wrote:
>> And of course, unlike "Twenty nine" for 2009, there would be no
>> possibility of reinterpreting "Nineteen six" as any number other than
>> 1906.
> For the record, that confusion didn't stop some people from saying
> "twenty six" for 2006, or similar. I heard real-life examples plenty
> of times, in person and in the broadcast media. They'd often go
> without restatement or correction.

i've heard it too.  as i remarked in passing in one of my postings,
things can be clear enough in context.

even without clarification from the linguistic context, it can be easy
to get the intended meaning; there aren't a lot of circumstances in
which it would be unclear whether "twenty" + "six" refers to the
number 26 or the year 2006.  and often the linguistic context settles
things: "I turned twenty six yesterday" has the number, "the twenty
six model of this car" the year.

in addition, there is, or at least can be, a prosodic difference.  for
me, "twenty" in "twenty six" (the year) has, or at least can have, a
stronger accent (manifested as greater duration) than "twenty" in
"twenty-six" (the number).  in one of the (unfortunately many)
transcription systems for these things, this is the difference between
"twenty" + "six" with 2 1 (the year) and with 3 1 (the number).


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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