Saying Twenty Eleven is a slow sell

Thankfully, I don’t make my living on converting English speakers to say Twenty Eleven rather than Two Thousand Eleven. The process for the switchover has been slow…painfully slow. What’s weird is that some people say it, usually when they think about it. Otherwise, they slip back into old patterns.

Mark my words: Saying Two Thousand -whatever will eventually be a sign that you are an old fuddy-duddy. Like gray hair and monocles, you will be pegged as an old, out-of-touch person. Similar to when you complain about rap music.

The younger set will adopt Twenty-whatever as their common mode of speaking the year because it will make sense to them.

I’m not the only one who feels this way (although, it feels that way.)

Check out this guy who specifically mentions my blog.

Keep up the good work and thanks for saying Twenty Eleven. Share Button


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Losing the battle in less than 7 days?

Only one week into the new year and I already feel as though the quest to have everyone speak Twenty Eleven is slipping through our hands. Sure there have been some positive steps, but it is more like the Jon Stewart fiasco or the lyrics to that Springsteen song, “one step forward and two steps back.”

I truly believe that this is the year that people would realize their folly and start to say Twenty Eleven, but we may be ahead of our time. This strange phenomena is filtering throughout the yearspeak. People are calling it Twenty Twelve, but still saying Two Thousand Eleven. That’s right, people are calling the upcoming Olympics, the 2012 Superbowl, the next presidential election, and even upcoming events in 2014, using Twenty ____. Yet they still refer to this year as Two Thousand and Eleven. They also refer to past years in the Two Thousand vernacular. That’s not a problem with me, although I do think that once the Twenty-whatever starts to take hold that people will reverse their ancestors bad habits.

So the only thing to do is to mark the victories that we do hear.

Charlie Rose uses Twenty Eleven.

Several commercials are using Twenty Eleven.

We still need to get a hold of the news directors at the major networks i.e. CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX and persuade them that Twenty Eleven should be the standard for all their broadcasters. I’m sure they all have a dictum they follow on certain words. I’m convinced the Bushes never pronounced Saddam Hussein’s name correctly just to anger him greatly, while the news networks tried to give respect.

I’m sure there are more people that feel the same as we do. Perhaps we could commission a poll to see what Americans prefer. It can’t be as crazy as some of the polls I see.

Keep fighting the good fight and let’s breakthrough to Twenty Eleven!


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Twenty Eleven quest is fraught with apathy

Many of my friends do not see the value of saying Twenty Eleven. I assume that they think it is a butterfly of uselessness. Maybe it is. Another Year Olderphoto © 2010 Mark Goodwin | more info (via: Wylio)

But I will argue that Say Twenty Eleven is as much a plea for consistency as it is a change.
First, let’s establish that Twenty Eleven is the same pronunciation pattern as saying Nineteen Ninety-nine. Let’s also agree that sooner or later everyone, including you, will adopt the “Twenty” moniker. No one will go around saying Two Thousand Twenty, I’m pretty sure of it. It may even become mainstream by Twenty Twelve thanks to Rush. (The band not Limbaugh)
So, then what’s the argument over a campaign to make people aware of their speech patterns?
Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fearphoto © 2010 Cliff | more info (via: Wylio)

Case in point: Last night on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Stewart opened his show welcoming everyone to Twenty Eleven. But within three more minutes he was saying Two Thousand Eleven. This leads me to believe that these speech patterns are habit. We speak the familiar. We repeat our common catch phrases without even thinking about them. I bring this to your attention because I care.
Say Twenty Eleven doesn’t seek to punish the speakers of Two Thousand Eleven, but to bring awareness to their own speech choices.
Perhaps my quest is Tomato-Tomato, but it is my tomato (guess which one I used!).
Twenty Eleven is superior in all forms of speech and if you work really hard at saying it out loud, it will become second nature. You will be part of the NEW consistency and have the Twenty thing down long before anyone else does. Then you can sit back and say, “I told you so!”

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Twenty Eleven chosen as trend of 2011

The Global Language Monitor blog has predicted that Twenty Eleven will be one of the top words in 2011.

Projected Top Words of 2011 Rank / Word / CommentsHAPPY BOKEH NEW YEAR!photo © 2008 Amir Kuckovic | more info (via: Wylio)

1. Twenty-Eleven – The English-speaking world has finally agreed on a common designation for the year: Twenty-eleven far outstrips ‘two thousand eleven’ in the spoken language. This is welcome relief from the decade-long confusion over how to pronounce 2001, 2001, 2003, etc.

This is fantastic news for the cause and needs to be put in front of every broadcast executive so they can rule that Twenty Eleven is the correct pronunciation of 2011.

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Why Twenty Eleven? Why me? Why not?

When I was in radio, I used to make it a big deal to pronounce people’s names correctly. Even the tennis players like Vitas Gerulaitis. Just as a good journalist tries to get the correct spelling of names, I think the mark of a good broadcaster is to care enough to pronounce everyone’s name right. That carried over to localities.
Galvestonphoto © 2006 Valerie Everett | more info (via: Wylio)
There was a small town near the radio station named Galveston. My first few months on the job I pronounced it just like Glen Campbell and the way they say it in Texas.
Turns out the Indiana Galveston puts the accent on the “vest” part. That’s how everyone pronounced the name of the town – Gal-VEST-un. Eventually I adopted that saying.
Residents of Carmel, California accent the “mel” while Carmel, Indiana accents the “Car.”
Is there any reason to correct people on that? Is there a right or wrong way to say it?

A few of my friends have asked why I care about how the year is pronounced. As a person of words, I do care. I think the current vernacular is cumbersome and does not follow the historical established pronunciation.

I’ve been waiting since Twenty Oh Eight for the change to happen. I’ve waited patiently as I’ve heard broadcaster after public figure after friends say the year with two thousand.
This year, I’ve decided to  make a change. Perhaps it makes no difference how we say it. Would you be annoyed if your name was mispronounced? Would it not jar you to hear your town name mispronounced?
So all I’m asking is that we adopt the previously held standard for pronouncing the year. We will adopt it eventually. Why not get in the habit now?
Is it important to me. Perhaps. But I don’t see it as life and death. It may irritate me if you say Two Thousand Eleven, but I will live.
I have a theory that we haven’t thought much about it. My goal is at least bring it to your attention. I think Social Media is uniquely suited to solve this issue. My campaign is sort of an experiment to see just how far this can reach. Unfortunately, my circle of friends are getting the heavy end of the campaign. My goal is to reach the Tipping Point and see if I can get this to catch on.Badaboomphoto © 2010 Lukas Kästner | more info (via: Wylio)

So far, I’ve had minor success. But I have to do the work to see if I can get it to go viral by New Year’s Eve. So please bear with me while I try to juice this up.

Twenty Eleven was adopted by Urban Dictionary through my submission.

I’ve had numerous (many negative) comments on my Say Twenty Eleven, Please blog. I only have reached 38 fans on my Facebook page and I have no followers for my Say Twenty Eleven Twitter account.

I certainly understand if you don’t wish to join my little crusade.

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In the Year Twenty Five Twenty Five

They Say Twenty Five not Two THousand Five Hundred Twenty Five

There was a futuristic hit in 1969 called In the Year 2525 by Zager and Evans, a Nebraska duo who were one-hit wonders.

Their one hit was about the rise and fall of mankind and they called it In the Year Twenty Five Twenty Five.

While I remember the song well, I hadn’t thought about it for these purposes until I ran across this post from 2007. It’s from a College Dean of Students who laments the moniker to place on the incoming freshmen class.

They, who were expected to graduate in four years, were to be the Class of ??

Here’s what he wrote…

As a college Dean of Students, I wasn’t quite sure what to call our entering class, so I just asked them. They favored “Two thousand-eleven” by about a three-to-one margin.

So perhaps that’s what the public wants to call the next decade. It seems a little odd because we said “nineteen-ninety-nine” and “nineteen-eleven.” But then “two-thousand” was clearly not “twenty-hundred,” and we’d all seen the movie “Two-thousand one: A Space Odyssey.”

But then again, I’m old enough to remember the Zager and Evans hit “In the year Twenty-five twenty-five.” So when are we going to ditch the word “thousand” and get back to counting our way through the twenties?

I’d guess that once we get past “two thousand-nineteen” the next year will have to be “twenty-twenty.” It’ll be a Presidential election year and the candidates and media will all make puns about the “vision thing” as Bush 41 used to call it. After a year, it’ll seem normal, I suppose, to go on to “twenty-twenty-one.”

He makes some very good points. But I think if we push this pronunciation guide to broadcasters and our friends, we could make great strides in changing the general public.

Say it now, Twenty Eleven. Add it to your vocabulary. Lead by Example. Say Twenty Eleven and the world will follow you.

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Dear Mr. Broadcaster…

In order for the change to occur quickly, we must get our broadcasters to adopt this way of saying Twenty Eleven.

Here’s a note I sent to Brian Williams of NBC News.

Dear Mr. Williams,

I am a freelance writer in Central Indiana and I have taken up a cause. My goal is to change the way we say the upcoming year. We should say Twenty Eleven instead of Two Thousand Eleven because this has been the established pronunciation pattern established many, man years ago.

I think this is the year to start this tide turning, but it has to come from influential style makers like you. If you’re saying Twenty Eleven every night people will switch the way they say the year. It will be a natural progression.

Think about it. When you pick any year out of the last century, how do you pronounce it? Do you say One Thousand Nine Hundred and Fifty Four? Negatory. You say Nineteen Fifty Four. It just rolls off the tongue.

This will take place naturally by the year 2013 or even 2020, but I think a concerted effort by our broadcasters and politicians could jump start the change which is inevitable.

Practice saying Twenty Eleven in the mirror. You’ll get used to it in no time.

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I’m thinking really hard.

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Why am I doing this?

Happy New Year To Everyone!photo © 2009 Cindy See | more info (via: Wylio)

Great question! I’m glad I asked it!

Lately, my Facebook friends have questioned why I would invest so much time into this issue. It’s a valid question. I’m not sure I have a valid answer.

My life is communications. I strive to find the best and most effective styles and phrases that communicate exactly what we think. There are so many barriers to effective communication. There are individual feelings and frames of reference that impede easy communication. So I enjoy it when everyone is on the same page because it makes communication easier.

Since 2000, we have been saying Two Thousand for the year and adding on the appropriate digit. This has been fine up until the upcoming year. Now it will start to get difficult. Not just because Two Thousand and Eleven is cumbersome, but because several people will adapt Twenty Eleven and several won’t. There will be this upheaval in our collective conscience. We will be discordant on this issue and there really is no need to be.

Twenty Eleven follows the same pattern that has been used for centuries. We have always said Nineteen Sixty Two rather than One Thousand Nine Hundred and Sixty Two because it is easier. We have even laughed at people who say Nineteen Hundred and Sixty Two because it seemed old fashioned.

Why is this different?

This is an eventuality. Those who resist now will fall prey to the year 2020, because it will be so much easier to say Twenty Twenty and it will feel right.

Twenty Eleven is just as convenient and historically correct as Twenty Twenty, but many will continue the same habit of saying Two Thousand Eleven. My wish is that we all feel comfortable with saying Twenty Eleven and begin to adopt this new standard.

So the marketer in me believes that this is worthy of a campaign to raise awareness. Unless people make a conscious effort to say Twenty Eleven, it will never happen. And we will relegate our culture to saying Two Thousand Forty Five and so on, for the next 89 years.

Join my revolution. Invite others to join our Facebook page and become aware of the new standard that rings traditional. In the New Year, Say Twenty Eleven and Save a Syllable. You’ll be glad you did.

<span id=”wylio-flickr-image-3158888986″ style=”display:block;line-height:15px;width:300px;padding:0;margin:0 10px;position:relative;float:left;”><img style=”padding:0;margin:0;border:none;” width=”300″ height=”396″ src=”; title=”Happy New Year To Everyone! – photo by: Cindy See, Source: Flickr, found with” alt=”Happy New Year To Everyone!” /><span class=”wylio-credits” id=”wylio-flickr-credits-3158888986″ style=”font-family: arial, sans-serif;padding:0;margin:0;width:100%;color:#aaa;background:#fff;float:left;clear:both;font-size:11px;font-style:italic;”><span class=”photoby” style=”padding:2px; margin:0;”><span style=”display:block;float:left;margin:0;padding0;” >photo © 2009 <a style=”padding:0;margin:0;color:#aaa; text-decoration:underline;” target=”_blank” title=”click to visit the Flickr profile page for Cindy See” href=”″>Cindy See</a> | <a style=”padding:0;margin:0;color:#aaa; text-decoration:underline;” title=”get more information about the photo ‘Happy New Year To Everyone!'” target=”_blank” href=”″>more info </a></span><span style=”display:block;float:right;margin-left:5px;”><strong style=”margin:0;padding0;”>(via: <a style=”padding:0;margin:0;color:#aaa; text-decoration:underline;” target=”_blank” href=”; title=”free pictures”>Wylio</a>)</strong></span></span></span></span><br />
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Coming up in the new year MMXI

Apparently, the year Twenty Eleven (2011) is going to be spectacular. Here is a brief description from Wikipedia:

2011 (MMXI) will be a common year starting on Saturday. In the Gregorian calendar, it will be the 2011th year of the Common Era or the Anno Domini designation; the 11th year of the 3rd millennium and of the 21st century; and the 2nd of the 2010s decade.

The United Nations has designated 2011 the International Year of Forests and International Year of Chemistry.

The United Nations should dictate that everyone pronounce 2011 as Twenty Eleven. It would show that the world cares about this travesty of diction.

We can change the world and save ourselves from another 89 years of frustration if we begin adopting the Twenty Eleven terminology in our everyday lives now. Of course, there will be relapses. It’s only natural. But if we persevere and use Twenty Eleven when describing our current year, then we will show others how easy it is to say. They will follow.

Changing the status quo is never easy, but it can be done. Join us on our journey to take a little idea and turn it into the the accepted tradition. Everyone has a stake in this cultural norm and therefore should choose/decide their year pronunciation.

Twenty Eleven speakers, unite!

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