In English, we tend to name years by contracting the numbers together…nineteen eighty four, twenty eleven etc. Although we sometimes say two thousand and eleven (2011), we’d never say one thousand, seven hundred and seventy six (1776).

But when I learnt French at school, we said ‘mille neuf cents quatre vingt huit’ (one thousand nine hundred eighty eight).

It doesn’t keep me awake at night, but I wonder how other languages and cultures do it? Is it different in different Englishes? What do the Japanese say?

Advertisements