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I was trying to find out if there were reading guidelines for dates, e.g., for broadcasting or competitive recitation. There seem to be a few different accepted ways of reading out dates, e.g., 1, or 2; and they don't correlate with how date is written.

For example, even though the UK writes dates as DD-MM-YYYY, BrE speakers usually read 01-Sept the same way that speakers of AmE do:

  • September the first
  • September first

Shortening the archaic on the thirty-first day of the month of October in the year two thousand and nineteen of the Common Era to the thirty-first of October twenty-nineteen follows somewhat naturally (by dropping redundant information).

However, what is the historical context behind the practice of reading month first, especially without dropping "the" or adding an apostrophe, like "September's first"?

  • I read 01-Sept as "one September". – Jim Oct 31 '19 at 23:20
  • That's not archaic. It's merely semi-formal. – tchrist Oct 31 '19 at 23:36
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    Not regions, contexts. Like gov't/military speak. – Jim Oct 31 '19 at 23:51
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    @urnonav Well, since you asked so nicely.... 😉 “It is our joy and our delight to extend to both you and your lady wife the honor of an invitation to attend the graduation ceremony of our belovèd son Vernon Ebenezer Milton-FitzReine on Sunday the Twenty-First Day of May in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty-Seven at Three Hours of the Afternoon, with formal luncheon to follow in the pavilion.” 😉 – tchrist Nov 2 '19 at 15:53
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    @urnonav - In such contexts, Sept-01 would not be standard. So if it were encountered while reading aloud, the reader would need to decide on-the-fly whether to “correct” it and say, “one September” or read it as written ‘September one/first’. – Jim Nov 5 '19 at 18:51
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The American dating convention of MM-DD-YYYY follows the older UK convention. UK speech often still follows the older convention of MM-DD-YYYY, which is why you still hear September 3 and not 3 September, although UK writing follows the modern convention of DD-MM-YYYY. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Date_and_time_notation_in_the_United_States and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Date_and_time_notation_in_the_United_Kingdom

  • Does either of those articles mention MM-DD-YYYY being the older date format in the UK? I can't find that reference. – urnonav Nov 6 '19 at 17:59
  • "Date and time notation in the United States differs from that used in nearly all other countries. It is inherited from one historical branch of conventions from the United Kingdom. " – user3326047 Nov 7 '19 at 21:00
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    That line has no citations and provides no further detail on this "historical branch". Even if such a historical branch existed, it's hard to make a link to why that particular branch only affected spoken dates in the UK but both written and spoken date in the US – urnonav Nov 11 '19 at 16:26
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All these refer to the 12th of May, 1999

12th May, 1999 - Commonly used in India May 12, 1999 - A trend catching up 12 May, 1999 - Catching up 12.05.1999 - An earlier style 12/05/1999 - Old, and slowly disappearing

Some formats (online and otherwise) tell the convention to follow.

  • 12th May, 1999 seems logically incorrect. There is only one May in 1999. Does this boil down to this logic? And the comma between the month and the year seems odd. – Arun Dec 6 '19 at 5:39

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