American vs British style of writing dates
To add an update to a topic you covered in 2002, I have discovered while doing genealogical research that the so-called American form of writing a date, such as February 2, 2006, was in fact fairly common at one time in Britain. I have accumulated letters of reference for an English ancestor from the early 20th century, written by a variety of employers, between 1906 and 1916, and all used what is now considered the American form. I've encountered the same style on British tombstones prior to the 1920s.
There are some that use the form 8 July 1897, for example, but plenty of the July 8, 1897 variety, too.
Exactly when the British declared it a hard rule to start with the day of the month is something I haven't determined, but to credit (blame?) Americans for the other form is oversimplifying things.
>>Americans for the other form is oversimplifying things. <<
LOL well that is quite true of spelling but the date format they use is not as logical as the date system we use.
Day/Month/Year <----- more logical
Did you read that at all? The point is that the date format Americans use is an older form that used to be common in Britain too. No one is arguing which is more logical or not, or about spelling. However, saying Americans "created" the date format Month/Day/Year, is an oversimplification.
Nothing is American it is just old English.
"There are some that use the form 8 July 1897, for example, but plenty of the July 8, 1897 variety, too.
Exactly when the British declared it a hard rule to start with the day of the month is something I haven't determined, but to credit (blame?) Americans for the other form is oversimplifying things. "
We might write dates as July 8th 1897, but we never write them as 07/08/1897. We write it as 08/07/1897. British English is more logical than American English.
Later this year both "sides" will agree on a date in June:
Thursday 06/06/06. No arguments there. After the 12 December 2012 (12/12/12) it will be a long time before we can all write the date in the same way.
03 February 2006
On a tangent while I remember......on the Steve Wright program they were discussing things people do when they are pissed. One Swedish lady living in England (her English is 100% fluent) said that she only speaks a smattering of German and normally she has difficulty speaking it properly when chatting with German people. But whe she has had a couple of drinks she seems to become much more competent and the Germans say she is virtually fluent when a bit tipsy. Another guy (English) said that he has the same experience when he is trying to chat up girls in France after a few vins rouges. When sober he stumbles and mumbles, after a wee sips he becomes a fluent french speaking Lothario. Is it all in the mind do you think, and the locals are having them on?
<British English is more logical than American English. >
Thanks for the European influence.
>Thanks for the European influence.<
You're welcome... any time.
<<Day/Month/Year <----- more logical>>
Actuall, the most logical way to *write* dates would be:
YYYY/MM/DD (example = 2006/02/03).
This form is used a lot in programming/IT. (In fact, I wrote this date in quite a few change-activity timestamps today at work).
Of course, for spoken dates, you'd usually say something like February 3rd, 2006 or 3rd of February, 2006.
More logical, my ass. The American way of writing dates is just a convention, as is any other method, but it actually DOES make a fair amount of common sense. It mimics how I conceptualize the information offered by the date (although that's a chicken-and-egg argument waiting to happen....).
After all, knowing the MONTH first allows you to visualize exactly what time of year we're talking about -- late spring, middle of winter, early summer, etc.
The DAY helps you put it in the context of the month -- early November? Late November? The beginning of March when it's still really cold, or toward the end, when it's starting to warm up?
Once you've got a handle on what season it is, then knowing the YEAR helps you put it in historical context -- wigs and short pants? Bellbottoms? Bearskins?
After all, we do live our lives by the cycle of the seasons and years, right?
Are Americans that stupid? Do they need everything that logical?
"Actuall, the most logical way to *write* dates would be:
YYYY/MM/DD (example = 2006/02/03).
This form is used a lot in programming/IT. (In fact, I wrote this date in quite a few change-activity timestamps today at work)."
That is how the Japanese write dates. It's also the international standard.
<<More logical, my ass. >>
Yes the (DAY/DATE)/MONTH/YEAR is by far a more logical format.
Because DATE/DAY < MONTH < YEAR
And it makes much more sense to place things in order of their size, in this case from smalles to biggest, and I'll shortly explay why.
<<After all, knowing the MONTH first allows you to visualize exactly what time of year we're talking about -- late spring, middle of winter, early summer, etc.>>
99% of the time I know with a fair amount of certainty what month of the year we are in. Their are roughly 30 days in a month, that's plently of time for anyone to find that out and hopefully not forget as it only changes 12 times in a year. In stark contrast to days/date which change constantly every 24 hours. It makes more sense to put days first since when I looking at dates it is usually the date( 14th, 15th...) of the month that I'm after. I regurlaly find myself not knowing what date (as in 2nd, 3rd...) of the month we are in. This seldom happens with the month.
I still maintain that a date should reflect time in a sequence....starting with the day then the month and then the year as the Europeans including the Brits do. Ascending order of precedence. Or else you can look at it this way....at midnight on New Year's Eve we all go into a new year...2006.....next in order of priority if you think the year has precedence comes the month...January...then, last of all, the day..the first. So you could say 2006 January 01. Or: 06/01/01. The next day would be 06/01/02 and the month would end at midnight on 06/01/31.
But the Americans mix them up a wee bit by saying 01/31/06...month then the day and then the year. A bit muxed ip.
Let's all compromise and put the year first, then the month and then the day.....in descending order of precedence.
2006 February 4
13:24 hours Greenwich Mean Time
One hour behind Central European Time.
We don't need reminding what season we're in...just look out of the window!