Solidus Editorial Solutions 2014
Welcome to 2014! 

Or is it 2014? 

See what I did there? I typed the same number, but in the first instance I sounded out "two thousand fourteen" in my head, and in the second, "twenty fourteen." But you weren't in my head at that moment -- and be thankful for small favors -- so you wouldn't know that's what I was doing.

So what's the story with 2014? I'm mostly hearing "two thousand fourteen," but that's so strange. It's actually been strange for 13 years, but I'm just now getting around to discussing it. Hey, I've been busy.

What's strange is that the precedent is well-established for pronouncing years. You wouldn't say that the Battle of the Little Bighorn took place in "one thousand eight hundred seventy-six" or that the Apollo 14 landed on the moon in "one thousand nine hundred seventy-one." You'd say "eighteen seventy-six" and "nineteen seventy-one," just as surely as you'd say "twenty fourteen."

But people don't. Why?

Honestly, I blame 2001: A Space Odyssey. (I'd assign specific blame to the film or the novel, but since they were developed concurrently, Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke are equally to blame.) They conditioned us from the late '60s to refer to it as "two thousand one" (or "two thousand and one," which makes me queasy) so that when we reached 2001, there was really nothing else to call it, and the naming convention stuck.

I suppose it'll stay this way until we reach the 2100s, but I plan to be long dead by then, so it won't bother me. Much.

By Steve Boudreault


 

 


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