How to pronounce 2010

There was this panel discussion on BBC on Boxing Day of how to pronounce 2010. (See this report in the Daily Telegraph:

The argument was over whether we should say:

(a)   Twenty ten;

(b)   Two thousand and ten; or

(c)    Two O one O

I just love this kind of argument. How I wish that one day this would be the only kind of trivial argument that we human beings would have. We didn’t have to argue about universal suffrage because we already had full democracy. We didn’t have to argue about which countries should shoulder the expenses for reducing CO2 in the atmosphere because there was no more global warming.

The only things we had to argue about were trivial things like how to say 2010 in English.

(Incidentally, this is not an issue in Chinese.)

There is a Pronunciation Unit in BBC which makes such kinds of recommendations, as well as researching pronunciations of new words, foreign terms, etc. This is a dream job for me: just researching pronunciations, and making recommendations on such things as how to say 2010. When I retire, I hope they will take me on as a volunteering researcher.

To go back to the issue, of course there is no conclusion, but the recommended pronunciation that came out of the panel discussion is “twenty ten.”


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