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Forms of personal address

From:ROGER MILLS <rfmilly@...>
Date:Friday, April 25, 2008, 18:18
O tempora, O mores.........

Mark Reed wrote:
>Young children around here >(slightly-more-southern-but-still-north-of-Atlanta Georgia) tend to >address all unrelated adults as "Mr/s Firstname". It's not just a >school thing. E.g. My 4yo's best friend calls me "Mr. Mark.". >Particularly close friends of the family may get an "Uncle" or "Aunt" >instead, despite the lack of corresponding family realtion.
I think that must be a Southern thing. Admittedly I'm of a distant time, generation, and geography-- when I was a child, my friends' parents/relatives etc. were ALWAYS Mr./Mrs Lastname. I seem to recall one friend who called his parents by their first names, but there had been a divorce so they were beyond the pale.... Grade school teachers were almost all Miss Lastname (and they were misses; I think I had but two _Mrs._ XXX in all the years from K-9 (in public schools). At boarding school-- very much modelled on the English pattern-- all Masters (teachers) were Mr. Lastname (there were no Misses, the only Mrs's were the faculty wives) or Sir in direct address. There was one Dr. (M.D.); there was IIRC one Dr (Ph.D.) but he got that title only in very formal settings. After a couple years of this indoctrination, my parents thought I should call my grandfather "Sir" but I could barely bring myself to do it; the one or two times I did, I think he was surprised.
> >At work, I address all my colleagues as Firstname, including my direct >supervisor, except when being exaggeratedly deferential for humorous >effect. I do however frequently refer to those same people as "Mr/s >Surname" when talking about them to someone else (whether in their >presence or not). For myself, in introductions etc, am always "Mark >Reed", which is also how I answer the phone.
My two early forays into the 9-5 world: (1) a branch of a Dutch company in NYC; we all toiled away in one big room (we'd be in cubicles now, I supppose) except the two bosses-- and they were Mr. Lastnames. Everyone else was on a first name basis, although I used Mr.Last with a couple "department heads" with whom I had only occasional dealings. (Lousy pay, but it was an interesting and even enjoyable job....) (2) Publisher -- everyone was first name, even the boss.
> >Oh, and while not relevant to the original question, the form of "M*s" >I use for women is pretty much universally "Ms.", with a few >eceptions:
Me too, in these PC days.
> >Second, some women of the older generation are offended by "Ms," ...
Like my sister...........
>On 4/24/08, Jim Henry <jimhenry1973@...> wrote: > > Around here (north Georgia):
> > 6. In my family, elder family members address younger ones as > > Firstname, and younger ones address older ones as Uncle/Aunt > > Firstname.
Likewise. I don't recall ever using (and only occasionally hearing) Uncle to refer to close but unrelated family friends. We did have one aunt (a schoolteacher, she used to come to Sioux Falls every summer) who quickly became just Firstname, in fact Izzy, not Isabelle....... Grandparents were always Gramma/Grampa Lastnames.


Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>
Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>