How are dates formally spoken? Are there any differences in the British and American versions?
How are date spoken, formally? Are there any differences in the British and American versions?
From my experience, there are differences in the British and American versions.
Throughout my life, the way that dates have been spoken in the UK, has been the same as the way they have been written. That is, with the day, month and year; in that order. For example, the fifth of June 2012. That would normally be written as 5.6.2012. Sometimes, people add the day of the week, before the number of the day. For example, Tuesday the fifth of June 2012. That was always the way that was taught in schools and used in higher education, work and other activities.
That has started to change sometimes, in the last few years. People on television and the radio are the main ones who have started using the American date system. Not many ordinary people have.
Having met Americans and seen plenty of American writing on the internet and in publications, I know that they do it differently. The way that dates are spoken in the USA, has been the same as the way they have been written. That is, with the month, day and year; in that order. For example, June the fifth 2012. That would normally be written as 6.5.2012.
That's the basic way but, it's not the only way. I have noticed that there are abbreviations of this, used by some Americans. The use of these depend on who is speaking. Some Americans say dates without the word the. For example, June fifth 2012. I have even heard some change the pronunciation of the day number, so that it would be just the number. For example, June five 2012.
Consider 30 March 1993.
March the thirtieth, nineteen ninety-three
The thirtieth of March, nineteen ninety-three
- March thirtieth, nineteen ninety-three
In formal, spoken British English, as far as I can find evidence, the date is spoken in various forms.
For example, this transcript of the Hutton Inquiry shows that the date is referred to as
- Nth Month e.g. 4th July
- Nth, e.g. 7th
- the Nth, e.g. the 8th
- Day Nth Month, e.g. Monday 7th July.
So in formal circumstances (in British English) there isn't a set way to say dates.
In formal American English, there seems to be a consensus, although I've only seen 2 transcripts so far, of Month N, e.g. April 23. The transcript I've seen are Galloway v The US Senate (I've not watched the video, that might be more enlightening) and U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing on Afghanistan.
The normal way to say such a date in British English is “the second of February, nineteen ninety-three”.
However, a very formal way to speak such a date (almost never used) is “the second day of February, nineteen hundred and ninety-three”.
protected by RegDwigнt♦ Sep 21 '12 at 22:55
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