When Do We Start Calling Years 'Twenty-Somethings'?

Dan Gillmor is a BoingBoing guest-blogger.

21st century hotel dg09.jpgOn an NPR newscast the other day, a reporter pronounced the year 2012 as "two-thousand-twelve" while someone he interviewed called it "twenty-twelve." I'd have gone for the latter, but the different choices made me wonder when we're going to give up what we've been doing this entire decade, clumsily calling everything "two thousand something," and move to the style we used during most if not all of the last century.

I'm going with the twenties starting next year: twenty-ten, twenty-eleven and so on. YMMV.

There hasn't been much consistency in this area, as far as I can tell. Did anyone pronounce 1907 as anything but nineteen-oh-seven? Did anyone actually say nineteen-hundred-seven? (I'd wager a (UPDATE) week's day's pay — the money goes to charity if I lose — that nobody used one-thousand-nine-hundred-seven.)

Wait, it gets more complicated. We have to think about the names we use for centuries, too. The 20th Century was also the nineteen-hundreds. But in the 21st Century, are we in the two-thousands? That sounds off, but the twenty-hundreds sounds totally wrong.

Am I spelling these years wrong, too? Should there be hyphens between the numbers? Calling the grammar police.

No big deal. Still, it's pleasant to contemplate a benign problem for once.

(Flickr poto by hyperspace328)