Thursday, January 3, 2008

ASL Numbering "Year 2008"


Anonymous said...

Good piece! Can you repeat the web link in writing? I will go back here to find it in this comment section. Thanks a bunch!

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I disagree with you. I don't feel comfortable to sign 20-08. From 2000 to 2009, it
is ok to sign 2-0-0-0 to 2-0-0-9. When we reach 2010, it is appropriate to sign "20-10."

lyceum said...

This has been a struggle for English speakers for the past eight years as well. I've heard and read many English speakers use "twenty-oh-seven" or "twenty-oh-eight" when referring to the year. Some people think it sounds stupid, others think it sounds professional. Language is messy.

Here are a couple of online discussions regarding what English speakers are thinking:

This certainly isn't scientific academic research, more colloquial musing. But its interesting to see English speakers rewrite their own rules.

One idea I had why 20-0X didn't take off with ASL users is that, phonologically, its harder to pronounce than the 2-0-0-X unit.

The 20 handshape ends up as a modified O handshape, but then extra work is needed to reform the 0 (zero) handshape to make the two distinguishable. If the 0 (zero) isn't clear, then the resulting number might look like a jibberish 20-5.

Just a thought.

Deb Ann said...

wow, I never thought about it until you brought it up. It's interesting, so I am going to check your vlog once more and see what others say!

Good thought!

Jean Boutcher said...

David, as always, I love your inquisitive mind!

I feel clumsy and awkward when I sign the years in the 21st century, but I have no problem with those in the 20th century for an obvious reason.

The shift of the handshape "19" itself moves gracefully before the other shift of the handshape "01" or any two numbers. Both the handshapes show the movement.


The handshape for the years in the 21st century stays in the same position, the wrist unshifted. This position looks "stiff".

For example, my mother would sign with an impact: "19-29 Crash" for Great Depression. The sign fpr "20-29 Crash" would be less interesting and less dramatic.

I could be wrong. :-D

David A. Martin said...

Carl and everyone else,

This ASL Vlog can also be seen on and there you can leave your comments in ASL!


drmzz said...

Always enjoy to stop and learn something new of ASL. I believe Teri Sentelle covered this before. Anyway, I'll just go by convenience factor - not always conform to rules. It's faster to zip hand 2008 cuz of "00" availability.

Deaf Pixie said...

I agree with you about 2010, It is kind of very hard to sign to say " 2010" I would say two thousand 10.

My hand is really hard to spelling with arthrirtis after signed 10th.

I am not old lady yet.. I think it is more appropriate to say two thousand 10.

Hope anyone agree and hope we can share of your asl specifically.

David said...

Hi David



C said...

I never thought of that until you brought this up. I'm looking at similarities between hearing and deaf. Hearings do say Ninteen Eighty-Five, for example same way as deaf use 19 85 in number sign. same thing there. Now, with 2008 wow that makes it a bit awkward, hearings will say "two thousand - eight" I can't see deaf using 2 "thousand" (then) 8 in sign (never say never eh?)so, I guess doing 2008 looks better than 20 - 08 I think maybe by the time we reach 2010 both hearing and deaf will say it the same way eh? Twenty-Ten and with the new year eye wear 2000 through 2009 is doable likewise other naughty stuff you see in emails.

deafk said...

Hi, David,

Happy New Year!!

Yes, 20-10 for me definitely! 200X is a special group, whatever it calls, smile. Thanks for bringing this up to our attention.


Joey Baer said...

Yahoo - that's one of three goals I want to see in 2008 - to talk more about ASL and its grammar rules!

I do not have an answer unfortunately but what I have been signing lately, 2-0-0-8. However you made good point that it should be signed 20-08 in order to follow ASL's numberical rules. I strongly believe we will sign 20-10, 20-11 when we reach year 2010!

Lets see what others have to say!



happy new year 2008 smile mostly i said twenty zero eight future will be said twenty ten year i think it good for asl more easy it dont matter said 2 o o 8 depend on your favorate.

Anonymous said...

Don't you think that it's kinda LATE to change? Let's wait till 2010 to discuss some more. For now, I am satisfied with spelling/signing 2-0-0-8 while saying/mouthing "two thousand eight" for the time being.

David A. Martin said...


Hello to the other David. Your video response made me think of military time. 23-30 can still be time. 20-10 can still be time. Any military fans out there who can respond to this question how do hearing military people pronounce time? will the year 20-10 be confusing to those Deaf who use military time?

Thank u David

DeafKathy (Wilson) said...

Wow, good and interesting topic brought up!
Honestly, I have been signing like this 2-0-0-8 instead of 20-08 or 2 thousand 8. It is a smooth transaction when moving fingers with numbers for me. Im sure when we arrive to the year of 2010, it will be little different.
Remember when we reached to year of 2000, some of us sign this: Y2K, how about that.. Y2K8? LOL thats so awkward!

David said...

Yes you are right about military time. I never thought about that till you brought it up. Anything else we overlook lately?


michele said...

This is an good one! I checked through some of the hearing blogs and Wikepida and they are discussing the same thing. Some hearies will say twenty oh eight, others will say two thousand. The Wikepida says that we should pronounce it as twenty oh eight, not two thousand.

Also in 1800's and 1900's, people would call it eighteen hundred/nineteen hundred.

Some people are debating that we should not call it two thousand but instead twenty oh eight like we are doing with our ASL. It varies among people whether they say it or two thousand eight.

I feel uncomfortable when I am asked to reveal that my daughter was born in two thousand, it is a very awkward year for me to say it so I say two with three ooo's instead of two thousand as it sounds so futuristic.

There is a discussion going on about 2020 as most people say that they would say two thousand ten but when the year 2020 comes, most of them said that they would say twenty-twenty.

Foreign speakers are confused, they are asking if they should say two thousand or twenty oh eight, we definitely need some guideline on how to pronounce it properly.

John Wehrli said...

Yes, I agree you Great!!!
at first 2-0-0-0 and then after 20-01. This same as 20-10!

Jenny said...

I think 2 0 0 8 is much more natural. I've never seen anyone sign 20-08 or anything like that since 2000. There was a discussion about how to sign 2000 just before and during 2000. But after 2000, it became 2 0 0 1, 2 0 0 2, and so on. I don't agree with 20-08.

me said...

I think 2 0 0 8 is much more natural. I've never seen anyone sign 20-08 or anything like that since 2000. There was a discussion about how to sign 2000 just before and during 2000. But after 2000, it became 2 0 0 1, 2 0 0 2, and so on. I don't agree with 20-08.

Anonymous said...

Great question!

Hold 2000 for now--let's analyze why we said "nineteen" in the years 1900-1999.

I think it is easier to say "nineteen-fifty" than "one thousand, nine-hundred and fifty." So that is probably why people split up the years in chunks (19-50).

We probably did that since the year 1100.

Question: What did people do in the year 1000? Any history buffs?

We need to ask people who teach history--what do they say when referring to the middle ages--something that happened in the year 1008 or 1050?

That should give us our answer for 2008 until 2100.

Then in 2100 and on, we can start to split up into "21-01" (Twenty-one, oh-one")

Your feedback?

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