How do you pronounce 2015?

How do you pronounce 2015?

Once you stop calling this year “the new year” or “this year,” how do you pronounce it?

No, really, I’m wondering. I’ve been thinking about how we pronounce different years since I set out to make an index of my diary. (I’ll break with standard style for years and spell out how I’ve thought of the numbers to show you the change in my thinking.)

My diary goes back to nineteen seventy-five, and I have at least one volume for every year. The one for “the year two thousand,” as I had grown up pronouncing that year, is particularly large; the one for nineteen seventy-seven is particularly small. (Since I was in my early teens at the time, that probably kept a lot of ranting off the small pages.)

As I’ve gone through the indexing, I’ve gotten volumes out of dresser drawers which were not in order, but just where they happened to fit — so I’ve been thinking “Oh, there’s nineteen eighty-nine; both of those are nineteen ninety,” and so on.

But after the year two thousand, I’ve caught myself going back and forth. Two nearly square volumes are two thousand and one (not the sci-fi book, the year), but one large blue volume is sometimes two thousand and nine, other times “two thousand nine.”

Two big brown-and-white volumes are “two thousand and ten,” but that’s when I started to change the usage and drop the and at times. For instance, the party of the year was for the two thousand ten Stanley Cup Champions, the Chicago Blackhawks.

After all those years at school figuring out ages and time until the year two thousand, or later, I’m realizing that these are the years I grew up thinking about — and yet I don’t talk about them the same way I did then.

When I see an older person in a very old movie talking about nineteen hundred and oh-two, or some such long expression, I wonder why that was considered so funny. It takes time to get used to a new century — and we’ve got the new millennium to deal with, too.

So forgive me if I keep thinking of this year as two thousand and fifteen. It’s young. I’ll get used to it.


For more fun with words, visit the Margaret Serious page on Facebook.


Filed under: Expressions

Tags: Chicago Blackhawks


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  • How about Twenty-fifteen? In any event, Margaret, happy new year!

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Well, I'll try -- but that still sounds like a high-scoring game to me! I suppose I have five years to get used to it.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    I'll try -- but it still sounds like a high-scoring game to me! I suppose I have five years to get used to it.

  • I also figure twenty-fifteen. However, the oughts or two thousands were mighty ambiguous.

    I see you come close to the rationale for Madden 2K15.

    I once got in a debate with someone on how to pronounce zip codes. Four sixty three twenty four, or forty six three twenty four?

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack, when I give mine, I say each numeral separately, e.g. six-oh-four-five-three.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    The "oh" complicates things (I guess nobody says "zero"), but there is the choice of "fifty three" for the last 2 digits

    I currently refer to 6 oh oh, not 6 hundred. I'm racking my brain whether I generally say the last two digits separately.

    Similarly, I have an "oh" in the middle of my phone exchange, and I suppose I should say "zero" rather than 'Oh", but I guess we are about 50 years away from when "MO4" meant 664.

  • In reply to jack:

    Whoops, the reply button seems a bit stuck, but I'll try again slower... I prefer "the millennium's first decade" to "the oughts."

    As for zip codes, that's debatable, too. I tend to make it as easy to hear as I can when I'm pronouncing, e.g., one-four instead of fourteen (which sounds so much like forty).

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