This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.



Thursday, 17 November 2011

Before what? A rant.

The trouble with these rants is that by the time I've done a bit of research I often find I've simmered down rather.

I was going to have a nice rant about the idiocy of changing the Western calendar system from AD/BC to CE/BCE. I still find it deeply irritating, but it seemed only fair to look at other people's calendars first to see how they work.

Well, for a start, there are over fifty different calendars used in the world today, and some of them are really bizarre.

A suprising number of them have years which aren't actually...well, a year long.

The Islamic calendar, for example, drifts through the seasons and comes back to where it started every thirty three years.

More or less.

There's a 360 day calendar used by prophets, and, oh joy, the financial markets, which involves sort of pretending some days don't exist.

The Akan calendar doesn't seem to bother to number years at all, as far as I can see.

The Buddhists have at least four different starting years. Mind you, because they count years-that-have-happened (as we count our own ages) they are all Year Noughts.

You know, suddenly the changing of a few initials seems a minor matter.

Still, while I'm here, can I make the point that if Anno Domini (AD: it means In the Year of Our Lord) and Before Christ (BC) have become embarrassing in a largely secular world, then how does it help matters to call everything that's happened since the birth of Christ (give or take a few years) common?

Common Era?

Before Common Era?

Hey, just who are they calling common, anyway?

Word To Use Today: calendar. This word comes from the Mediaeval Latin word kalendārium, which means account book. This in turn is from kalendae, which are the days when interest become due.

Rats! And I was hoping to get away from the financial crisis, too.

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