Wednesday 29 March 2017

Mary Kenny: The case for calling our new year 'twenty eleven'

Mary Kenny

Mary Kenny

So we have reached the second decade of the 21st Century, and this is my plea for this new year of 2011: can we please call it twenty eleven, not two thousand and eleven?

Surely it is time to normalise the dating of the 21st Century and name the current years with the same simplicity as we named previous years: 1991 was nineteen ninety-one, not one thousand nine hundred and ninety-one. Thus, 2011 should be twenty eleven and not two thousand and eleven.

The two-thousand terminology is a form of millenarianism -- a feeling of special awe for the thousand-year label, and attaching to anything mentioning a thousand some special significance. Ten years ago, as we entered the 21st Century and the third millennium dawned, many people felt we had reached the almost occult date of 2000. (There were pedants who claimed that the third millennium began, mathematically, in 1999, but that didn't suit the nice, rounded 2000 figure).

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