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Re: punctuated abbreviations // was english spelling reform

From:Tim May <butsuri@...>
Date:Sunday, October 20, 2002, 1:07
Padraic Brown writes:
 > --- Andreas Johansson <and_yo@...> wrote:
 > > > It doesn't mean either.
 > That's a matter of debate.
Not in my dialect.  Certainly, at least, there is an accepted meaning
of "Ms" as distinct in meaning from either "Miss" or "Mrs".  See for

 > > > The point behind "Ms" is that with only the
 > > > terms "Mrs" and "Miss", it's impossible to refer
 > to
 > > > a woman by means
 > > > of an honorific without specifying her marital
 > > > status.  This was felt
 > > > to be discriminatory, and "Ms" was introduced as a
 > > > direct counterpart of the male "Mr".  It was
 > > > coined in 1949, but didn't become popular until
 > the
 > > > '70s.
 > >
 > > Makes kinda sense, I guess,
 > Not really. "Mister" isn't maritally ambiguous.
Yes it is, at least in my dialect, and according to both the New
Oxford and the American Heritage:

 > > but /mIz/ sure sounds alot like "Miss", doesn't
 > > it?
 > It does. I'd pronounce them the same.
 > What's funny is that, at least for me, "MRS", "MISS"
 > and "MZ" all get the zame pronunciation, i.e., /mIz/.
 > What's ironic is that "MZ" developped in response to a
 > perceived discrimination in honorifics.
 > What's odd is that we guys are _still_ discriminated
 > against: there is only "MR" - which refers to married
 > men. There is no equivalent of "MISS": "master" is
 > archaic and when used generally referred to young
 > boys, (or else slave owners).
 > What's stupid is that PCism will demand righting the
 > "wrong" for womyn and give them an honorific that
 > isn't needed; but won't do the same for men, who
 > apparently have it all anyway. Also, I find it stupid
 > that "MZ" is becomming the default. I get a lot of
 > junque mail addressed to "Mz. P. Brown".

I'm sure someone has seriously proposed married and unmarried male
forms - the fact is that enough people found use for "Ms" for it to be
attain general recognition, and there wasn't sufficient demand for
male forms.  It's not as if there's anyone preventing you from
using new word, and lobbying for their introction on forms and in
dictionaries, but there is not to knowledge any demand from men to be
able to express their marital status in an honorific, while there was
a demand from women _not_ to express this.

As to a the matter of an asymmetry in "PCism" - I'm speculating here,
but might it not be the cas that radicals consider "Miss" and "Mrs" to
be entirely unnecessary, leaving the preferred honorifics at a
symmetrical pairing of "Mr" and "Ms"?


Padraic Brown <elemtilas@...>