How do other countries refer to the events in America of September 11, 2001?

In America they are mostly refered to as “September 11th” or “Nine-Eleven.” Our emergency telephone system was occasionally called 9-11 before 9/11, but now it’s called “Nine-One-One.”

How about other countries that don’t use our MM/DD system? What do non-English speaking countries call it in their native tongue (spell it out please, don’t use numbers) and what is the English translation of the name?

In the UK it tends to be “the September 11th attacks”.

9/11 (“nine-eleven”) is also used, but only because it has such a specific reference.

Not “11 September”?

I was listening to BBC World News the other night and a Brit, being interviewed by a Brit, about the July 7 (I think that’s right) subway bombing in London twice slipped when trying to refer to the “seven-seven” incident and called it the “nine-eleven” incident.

Amerika douji tahatsu tero jiken - American simultaneous multiple terror incident

That’s just the formal name for it. I asked my wife what she’d call it in casual conversation and she said “kyuu-ichi-ichi” (“9-1-1”).

The emergency number in Japan is 119, so there’s no confusion between the two.

Is that a regional thing? I’ve never heard it called 9-11. It’s always been “Nine, One, One” in Florida.

Hebrew – “[The] 11th of September” – ה]אחד-עשר בספטמבר]

Or, sometimes, “Nine-Eleven” – in English rather than in Hebrew. [“ניין-אילבן”]

Judging from the Wikipedia articles (see bar “In other languages” on this article) the general reference seems to be “the attacks/the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001” in the respective language, with the date given in the local convention. FWIW from what I read in the German media and (of course to a much smaller extent) in the French and Italian papers:

  • there does not seem to be a general, standardized, short reference like “9/11”; rather references tend to be descriptive and nonstandardized.
  • the year 2001 is much less likely to be omitted than it is in US usage.

It might be. I remember reading an article stating “Don’t tell your children to call “Nine-Eleven” in an emergency. They will try to find the button that has an “11” on it. Teach them to call 9-1-1.”

OMG. The joke has been taken seriously by someone in a position to get an article published. Sweet Jebus, what is this country coming to?

Next come the articles assuring people that no matter how badly they might want to get two friends to turn the ladder for them, it really only does take one person to change a light bulb.

We don’t say dates like this. Dates are articulated as either:

“[The] Xth of Y”


“Y [the] Xth”

I’d say the former is more common in general conversation than the latter, which always sounds rather American (to my ears at least).

So the following are all date formats you are likely to hear over here:

  • The 24th of August
  • 24th of August
  • August 24th
  • August the 24th

You’d almost never hear “August 24” and “24 August” would be even less common. In both cases you’d be given a funny look - that’s the kind of numerical laziness that one would expect to find in the Colonies where, rumour has it, they don’t even bother with things like “quarter past” and “quarter to” either! :wink: :smiley:

With regards to 9-11, it’s exactly as e-logic says - you would hear:

  • September [the] 11th [attacks]. This respects the American Month/Date syntax but is an acceptable British date format.
  • Nine-eleven. This is because it’s the “name” of attacks rather than because it is a valid date - i’ve met a very small number of people who don’t even realise it’s a date until its pointed out to them, for example.

Interestingly, the July Bombings are generally referred to in the same way - either:

  • The July 7th Bombings
  • Seven-seven
    This is mainly because the media likes an effective soundbite, particularly when they can steal it from somewhere else (9-11) rather than actually having to kick their coke-adled brains into gear for more than a second and be creative.

Sad as it is, I must admit that, as a web-guy who runs internationally focussed websites, date localisation fascinates me. It’s one of the big things that can act as a turn-off for people visiting a site, as it can convey a sense of “foreignness” that hits on a subconscious level which they often aren’t even aware of.

In speech, yes, but in print it’s not an Americanism. The Guardian style guide sums it up: “it should be pointed out that this has been our style since the first issue of the Manchester Guardian on May 5 1821.” Also, ‘July 7th bombings’ seems to often almost lose the ‘th’ in a lot of people’s speech.

For what it is worth, I am in the same area as you, and long before the 9-11 attack, I remember the Emergency Number to be called Nine-One-One not Nine-Eleven.

Interesting thread, thank you for starting it.


It’s not a joke. A very young child might be able to press nine-one-one, but might not even know that eleven = one-one.

Dude, I was around eight years old when at a hotel on vacation, the TV informed me, “for room service, dial eleven!” I was looking for that 11 button for ages. It didn’t dawn on me until after we went home that I was supposed to dial 1-1.

Now that I am an adult, I avail myself of room service at every opportunity.

The joke, which is very old, tells about the <insert group to be ridiculed here> guy who stood and watched while <insert disaster easily averted here> because he couldn’t find the “11” button on his phone. I first heard it within a year of 911 service coming to my home town, I would guess sometime circa 1984, but I’m not certain. Being from Columbia, SC, the joke was invariably told about Clemson graduates.

Fair points both - my comments were more about how it is spoken than read.

I’d dispute the “lot of people’s speech” bit with regards to to “July 7 bombings” though. Well, not dispute it maybe but narrow it down. I’d say that whilst you may hear it in the media said like that you’d struggle to find many people who’d refer to it that way in regular conversation.

But then i think you’d struggle to find many who refer to it as Seven-seven outside the media as well. Pretty much everyone else I know refers to it as “The London Bombings.”

Good point.

I’ve known adults who would look for the “Eleven” button, so give the kiddos a bit o slack. :smack:

What about the Madrid Train Bombings? Are those referred to as “3-11?”