Political Correctness Advocates Rail Against the Western Calendar: 2005 A.D. or 2005 C.E.?

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Advocates Rail Against the Traditional Western Practice of Reckoning Time from the Birth of Jesus A small but vocal element is voicing opposition to the traditional Western practice of dividing time, measuring events as occurring before or after the birth of Jesus or B.C and A.D., according to a survey by The Global Language Monitor (GLM), using the Predictive Quantities Indicator© (PQI).

A small but vocal element is voicing opposition to the traditional Western practice of dividing time, measuring events as occurring before or after the birth of Jesus or B.C and A.D., according to a survey by The Global Language Monitor (GLM), using the Predictive Quantities Indicator© (PQI).

The survey found that in the worldwide electronic and print media, and on the Internet, the current convention of A.D. and B.C. was found to be nearly 50 times as prevalent as that of the C.E. and B.C.E. convention. Nevertheless, the fact that the newer conventions were now found to be used at all indicates significant inroads, where until recently none existed.

The C.E. and B.C.E. conventions were introduced about a century ago in the Jewish and Scientific communities, but have been adopted increasingly by those who want to place some distance or obscure the Judeo-Christian roots of Western Civilization. The issue has become increasingly polarizing on college campuses, school textbook publishers, and in the various religious communities.

The Western Calendar is especially pervasive because all major electronic and computer systems have it deeply embedded in their basic instruction sets, or operating systems. This means that all electronic commerce, commercial applications, scientific, airlines, electronic games, automobiles, clocks, etc. are based on the Western Calendar.

“As with most language-based PC issues, the battle is intense, however, no authority or group can mandate linguistic change, said Paul JJ Payack, President of The Global Language Monitor. “The fact is that both C.E. or A.D. both acknowledge the centrality of Jesus to the Western Calendar, (actually shorthand for ‘Western Christendom’), since both A.D. and C.E. both refer to the birth of Jesus as the time marker for the West.”

(In the aftermath of the French Revolution, the revolutionaries made an ill-fated and short-lived attempt to restart the Western Calendar, which was to begin on September 22, 1792: the day of the declaration of the first French Republic. Months were cited by Roman numerals and named after meteorological conditions.)    

Payack added, “Jesus, of course, was born in 749 AUC (ab urbe condita – from the founding of the City), since the Roman Calendar was dated from the mythical founding of the City by Romulus in 753 B.C. It is also interesting to note that when Dominus Exiguus, the 5th Century monk, created the current Calendar, he miscalculated, which is why it is now generally accepted that Jesus was born in the year 4 B.C, that is four years before his birth.”

There are several major calendar systems in addition to the Western system currently in use. These include the Hebrew, Islamic, Buddhist, and Chinese. The Hebrew Calendar dates from the Creation (current year 5765); the Islamic Calendar dates from the Hegira (current year 1425); the Chinese Calendar dates from the Emperor Huangdi, in 2637 B.C.; and the Buddhist Calendar dates from the birth of the Buddha, 543 years B.C., making 2005 the year 2548 of the Buddhist Era.

The Predictive Quantities Indicator is a proprietary algorithm that tracks specified words and phrases in the media and on the Internet. The words and phrases are tracked in relation to their frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets. In this case, the words tracked were Anno Domini (A.D., literally ‘Year of the Lord’), Before Christ (B.C.), the Common Era (C.E.) and Before the Common Era (B.C.E.)

The results of the survey were released earlier today; for more information, go to http://www.LanguageMonitor.com.

The Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on the various aspects of culture. The GLM is supported by a worldwide assemblage of linguists, professional wordsmiths, and bibliophiles to help monitor the latest trends in the evolution (and demise) of language, word usage and word choices.

About the Global Language Monitor

The Global Language Monitor documents, analyzes, and tracks the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on the various aspects of culture, with a particular emphasis on global English. Worldwide print and electronic media have come to rely on The Global Language Monitor for its expert analysis on language trends and their subsequent impact on politics, culture and business, including the PQ (Political-sensitivity quotient) Index, analysis of media coverage of the 2004 Summer Olympics, the Republican National Convention, Workplace lingo, Hollywords, Telewords, the English Language WordClock, among many others.

The GLM has been cited by CNN, MSNBC, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Associated Press, United Press International, Knight-Ridder, USAToday, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The Charlotte Observer, Minneapolis Star Tribune, San Jose Mercury, New York Post, NPR, FoxNews, ABC, NBC, CBS, The National Post, The Sydney Morning Herald, The BBC, the Australian Broadcasting Company, The Canadian Broadcasting Company, The Cape Town Argus, El Pais (Madrid), The Daily Mail (Scotland), The Hindustan Times, The Gulf News (Qatar), and various electronic and print media on six continents.

The GLM is supported by a worldwide assemblage of linguists, professional wordsmiths, and bibliophiles to help monitor the latest trends in the evolution (and demise) of language, word usage and word choices, and their impact on the various aspects of culture.

For more information, call 1.925.367.7557, send email to info@LanguageMonitor.com or visit http://www.LanguageMonitor.com.

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Paul JJ Payack