Discussion:
Adressing people ma'am and sir
(too old to reply)
Lazar Beshkenadze
2017-11-22 03:37:47 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen!

I would appreciate if you explained to me what are expectations of using these forms of address.

I would like to hear from different English speaking countries but especially am concerned about the island 'cause I'm visiting Manchester soon.

Thanks in advance!
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2017-11-22 06:41:13 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On 2017-11-22 03:37:47 +0000, Lazar Beshkenadze said:

> Good morning, ladies and gentlemen!
>
> I would appreciate if you explained to me what are expectations of
> using these forms of address.
>
> I would like to hear from different English speaking countries but
> especially am concerned about the island 'cause I'm visiting Manchester
> soon.
>
> Thanks in advance!

I don't suppose you'll be meeting the Queen in Manchester, but if you
do you should call her Your Majesty at first meeting, Ma'am afterwards.
Otherwise you won't ever need to say Ma'am in England. You won't need
Sir either unless you're planning to enlist in the armed forces or work
as a shop assistant or otherwise need to address people who clearly
outrank you. I don't think I've ever said Ma'am seriously in all my
life, or Sir since I left school. Occasionally people address me as
Sir, and when they do the usual reaction is to say "please don't call
me sir".

As a more general guide, observe what the people around you are doing.


--
athel
Lazar Beshkenadze
2017-11-22 07:09:36 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
среда, 22 ноября 2017 г., 9:41:20 UTC+3 пользователь Athel Cornish-Bowden написал:
> Occasionally people address me as
> Sir, and when they do the usual reaction is to say "please don't call
> me sir".

I was going to do that but if you say don't
Peter Moylan
2017-11-22 11:21:05 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On 22/11/17 18:09, Lazar Beshkenadze wrote:
> среда, 22 ноября 2017 г., 9:41:20 UTC+3 пользователь Athel Cornish-Bowden написал:

Yet another example of how easily we -- well, I -- can misread something
seen in an unfamiliar script. There's a cleaning product called Napisan
that's used for soaking stained nappies (diapers), and that's how I read
the last word in the above line.

Once I read a book where one of the characters was an American
journalist who had been based in Moscow for a long time, and was then
transferred to Paris. In Paris he kept seeing signs saying BNP (banque
national de Paris), and misreading it as "beer".

--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2017-11-22 11:27:53 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On 2017-11-22 11:21:05 +0000, Peter Moylan said:

> On 22/11/17 18:09, Lazar Beshkenadze wrote:
>> среда, 22 ноября 2017 г., 9:41:20 UTC+3 пользователь Athel
>> Cornish-Bowden написал:
>
> Yet another example of how easily we -- well, I -- can misread
> something seen in an unfamiliar script. There's a cleaning product
> called Napisan that's used for soaking stained nappies (diapers), and
> that's how I read the last word in the above line.
>
> Once I read a book where one of the characters was an American
> journalist who had been based in Moscow for a long time, and was then
> transferred to Paris. In Paris he kept seeing signs saying BNP (banque
> national de Paris), and misreading it as "beer".

Quoi? I thought beer was пиво, which doesn't look much like BNP.


--
athel
Peter Moylan
2017-11-22 11:41:07 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On 22/11/17 22:27, Athel Cornish-Bowden wrote:
> On 2017-11-22 11:21:05 +0000, Peter Moylan said:
>
>> On 22/11/17 18:09, Lazar Beshkenadze wrote:
>>> среда, 22 ноября 2017 г., 9:41:20 UTC+3 пользователь Athel
>>> Cornish-Bowden написал:
>>
>> Yet another example of how easily we -- well, I -- can misread
>> something seen in an unfamiliar script. There's a cleaning product
>> called Napisan that's used for soaking stained nappies (diapers), and
>> that's how I read the last word in the above line.
>>
>> Once I read a book where one of the characters was an American
>> journalist who had been based in Moscow for a long time, and was then
>> transferred to Paris. In Paris he kept seeing signs saying BNP (banque
>> national de Paris), and misreading it as "beer".
>
> Quoi? I thought beer was пиво, which doesn't look much like BNP.

It's not a question of translating the words, but just sounding out the
letters, in a situation where you know two alphabets that are similar
but not identical.

In the same situation, I would probably read it as "vir", which would
send me off on the side-track of wondering why someone was writing Latin
in Cyrillic script.

--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Peter Young
2017-11-22 07:51:37 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On 22 Nov 2017 Athel Cornish-Bowden <***@imm.cnrs.fr> wrote:

> On 2017-11-22 03:37:47 +0000, Lazar Beshkenadze said:

>> Good morning, ladies and gentlemen!
>>
>> I would appreciate if you explained to me what are expectations of
>> using these forms of address.
>>
>> I would like to hear from different English speaking countries but
>> especially am concerned about the island 'cause I'm visiting Manchester
>> soon.
>>
>> Thanks in advance!

> I don't suppose you'll be meeting the Queen in Manchester, but if you
> do you should call her Your Majesty at first meeting, Ma'am afterwards.
> Otherwise you won't ever need to say Ma'am in England. You won't need
> Sir either unless you're planning to enlist in the armed forces or work
> as a shop assistant or otherwise need to address people who clearly
> outrank you. I don't think I've ever said Ma'am seriously in all my
> life, or Sir since I left school. Occasionally people address me as
> Sir, and when they do the usual reaction is to say "please don't call
> me sir".

I'm glad there's someone else who doesn't like being addressed as
"Sir". I say the same as you, adding, "It makes me feel really old".

Peter.

--
Peter Young, (BrE, RP), Consultant Anaesthetist, 1975-2004.
(US equivalent: Certified Anesthesiologist) (AUE Pt)
Cheltenham and Gloucester, UK. Now happily retired.
http://pnyoung.orpheusweb.co.uk
Janet
2017-11-22 12:36:23 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
> On 2017-11-22 03:37:47 +0000, Lazar Beshkenadze said:
>
> > Good morning, ladies and gentlemen!
> >
> > I would appreciate if you explained to me what are expectations of
> > using these forms of address.

At the first meeting with adults whose name you know, it's
polite to greet or address them with title/surname, as Mr Smith or Ms
Jones. They may later invite you to use first names, but don't do it
until they offer.

If you address a stranger in a shop, station etc, it's enough
to precede your enquiry with an impersonal greeting such as "Good
morning, I'd like a ticket to X " or " Hello, could you direct me to the
bakery". Or a simple "Thankyou" for your change, ticket, coffee etc.
You don't need to use sir, ma-am, madam.

Americans might say "sir" or "ma-am" but that is not usual or expected
in Britain.



Janet.
Richard Heathfield
2017-11-22 08:04:04 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
[Subject line assumed read in body: "Re: Adressing people ma'am and sir"]

On 22/11/17 03:37, Lazar Beshkenadze wrote:
> Good morning, ladies and gentlemen!
>
> I would appreciate if you explained to me what are expectations of using these forms of address.

"Ma'am" and "sir" will do nicely.

> I would like to hear from different English speaking countries but
> especially am concerned about the island 'cause I'm visiting Manchester
> soon.

In Britain, the term "the island" is most commonly used for the refuge
half-way across a busy road in which pedestrians may stand whilst
waiting for a gap in the traffic. If you use it to mean the UK without
making it clear what you mean, you will not be understood by most
Mancunians.

--
Richard Heathfield
Email: rjh at cpax dot org dot uk
"Usenet is a strange place" - dmr 29 July 1999
Sig line 4 vacant - apply within
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2017-11-22 08:17:21 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On 2017-11-22 08:04:04 +0000, Richard Heathfield said:

> [Subject line assumed read in body: "Re: Adressing people ma'am and sir"]
>
> On 22/11/17 03:37, Lazar Beshkenadze wrote:
>> Good morning, ladies and gentlemen!
>>
>> I would appreciate if you explained to me what are expectations of
>> using these forms of address.
>
> "Ma'am" and "sir" will do nicely.
>
>> I would like to hear from different English speaking countries but
>> especially am concerned about the island 'cause I'm visiting Manchester
>> soon.
>
> In Britain, the term "the island" is most commonly used for the refuge
> half-way across a busy road in which pedestrians may stand whilst
> waiting for a gap in the traffic. If you use it to mean the UK without
> making it clear what you mean, you will not be understood by most
> Mancunians.

I wondered about "the island" but decided to let it pass. Anyway, you're right.

While we're at it, he shouldn't abbreviate "because" to "'cause". If he
wants to be colloquial he can abbreviate it to "cos", but that wouldn't
be appropriate here.


--
athel
Lazar Beshkenadze
2017-11-22 08:30:40 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
среда, 22 ноября 2017 г., 11:17:25 UTC+3 пользователь Athel Cornish-Bowden написал:
> On 2017-11-22 08:04:04 +0000, Richard Heathfield said:
>
> > "Ma'am" and "sir" will do nicely.
> >

[snip]

> While we're at it, he shouldn't abbreviate "because" to "'cause".

What's wrong with that? Is it British or it pertains to the US too?

And what do you say about Mr. Heathfield's acceptance of the forms of address in question? Excuse me, but this is what worries me most. :)
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2017-11-22 08:50:10 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On 2017-11-22 08:30:40 +0000, Lazar Beshkenadze said:

> среда, 22 ноября 2017 г., 11:17:25 UTC+3 пользователь Athel
> Cornish-Bowden написал:
>> On 2017-11-22 08:04:04 +0000, Richard Heathfield said:
>>
>>> "Ma'am" and "sir" will do nicely.
>>>
>
> [snip]
>
>> While we're at it, he shouldn't abbreviate "because" to "'cause".
>
> What's wrong with that? Is it British or it pertains to the US too?

It's not so much wrong as pointless: seven characters reduced to six,
one of them one that requires (on many keyboards, albeit not mine) the
shift key. In reported dialogue the usual spelling is "cos", though, to
be fair, "'cause" does crop up occasionally.
>
> And what do you say about Mr. Heathfield's acceptance of the forms of
> address in question? Excuse me, but this is what worries me most. :)


--
athel
Richard Heathfield
2017-11-22 09:20:01 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On 22/11/17 08:30, Lazar Beshkenadze wrote:
> среда, 22 ноября 2017 г., 11:17:25 UTC+3 пользователь Athel Cornish-Bowden написал:
>> On 2017-11-22 08:04:04 +0000, Richard Heathfield said:
>>
>>> "Ma'am" and "sir" will do nicely.
>>>
>
> [snip]
>
>> While we're at it, he shouldn't abbreviate "because" to "'cause".
>
> What's wrong with that?

Nothing's wrong with it, exactly - but "'cos" is more common in the UK.

> Is it British or it pertains to the US too?

I can't comment on that.

> And what do you say about Mr. Heathfield's acceptance
> of the forms of address in question? Excuse me, but
> this is what worries me most. :)

There's no need to worry, at least not in the UK. If you call a man
"sir", you won't offend him, even if he'd rather be called something
else. He will simply correct you (as someone here has already pointed
out that he would do).

Same goes for "ma'am": some women might object to "miss" and others to
"madam", but I've never known any who object to "ma'am". Again, even if
she would rather be called something else, she won't be offended. She
will simply correct you.

And that's why I said "sir" and "ma'am" would do very well as default
forms of address in the UK. They are acceptable even to people who would
prefer to be addressed in some other way.

I only know of one other form of address that is quite as catholic as
the above two, and that is "boss". This has the advantage of gender
neutrality, but is far less formal (which might not be appropriate in
your circumstances).

--
Richard Heathfield
Email: rjh at cpax dot org dot uk
"Usenet is a strange place" - dmr 29 July 1999
Sig line 4 vacant - apply within
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2017-11-22 09:49:28 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On 2017-11-22 09:20:01 +0000, Richard Heathfield said:

> On 22/11/17 08:30, Lazar Beshkenadze wrote:
>> среда, 22 ноября 2017 г., 11:17:25 UTC+3 пользователь Athel
>> Cornish-Bowden написал:
>>> On 2017-11-22 08:04:04 +0000, Richard Heathfield said:
>>>
>>>> "Ma'am" and "sir" will do nicely.
>>>>
>>
>> [snip]
>>
>>> While we're at it, he shouldn't abbreviate "because" to "'cause".
>>
>> What's wrong with that?
>
> Nothing's wrong with it, exactly - but "'cos" is more common in the UK.
>
>> Is it British or it pertains to the US too?
>
> I can't comment on that.
>
>> And what do you say about Mr. Heathfield's acceptance
>> of the forms of address in question? Excuse me, but
>> this is what worries me most. :)
>
> There's no need to worry, at least not in the UK. If you call a man
> "sir", you won't offend him, even if he'd rather be called something
> else. He will simply correct you (as someone here has already pointed
> out that he would do).
>
> Same goes for "ma'am": some women might object to "miss" and others to
> "madam", but I've never known any who object to "ma'am". Again, even if
> she would rather be called something else, she won't be offended. She
> will simply correct you.
>
> And that's why I said "sir" and "ma'am" would do very well as default
> forms of address in the UK. They are acceptable even to people who
> would prefer to be addressed in some other way.

OK, they're acceptable, but in ordinary use they're at least 100 times
less common than the equivalent words in French, where you'd address
any woman from the wife of the President to the cashier in a
supermarket as Madame (or Mademoiselle, if she looks young enough), and
similarly for Monsieur.
>
> I only know of one other form of address that is quite as catholic as
> the above two, and that is "boss". This has the advantage of gender
> neutrality, but is far less formal (which might not be appropriate in
> your circumstances).


--
athel
Lazar Beshkenadze
2017-11-22 08:33:23 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
среда, 22 ноября 2017 г., 11:04:24 UTC+3 пользователь Richard Heathfield написал:

> In Britain, the term "the island" is most commonly used for the refuge
> half-way across a busy road in which pedestrians may stand whilst
> waiting for a gap in the traffic.

But I'm not in Britain yet. :)

> If you use it to mean the UK without
> making it clear what you mean, you will not be understood by most
> Mancunians.

Understood. Thank you.
Janet
2017-11-22 12:43:34 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
In article <8185517f-6164-4804-a6bf-***@googlegroups.com>,
***@gmail.com says...
>
> ?????, 22 ?????? 2017 ?., 11:04:24 UTC+3 ???????????? Richard Heathfield ???????:
>
> > In Britain, the term "the island" is most commonly used for the refuge
> > half-way across a busy road in which pedestrians may stand whilst
> > waiting for a gap in the traffic.
>
> But I'm not in Britain yet. :)

When you get here, remember not to refer to Britain or the UK as
England.

Janet

> > If you use it to mean the UK without
> > making it clear what you mean, you will not be understood by most
> > Mancunians.
>
> Understood. Thank you.
GordonD
2017-11-22 10:25:16 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On 22/11/2017 08:04, Richard Heathfield wrote:
> [Subject line assumed read in body: "Re: Adressing people ma'am and sir"]
>
> On 22/11/17 03:37, Lazar Beshkenadze wrote:
>> Good morning, ladies and gentlemen!
>>
>> I would appreciate if you explained to me what are expectations of
>> using these forms of address.
>
> "Ma'am" and "sir" will do nicely.
>
>> I would like to hear from different English speaking countries but
>> especially am concerned about the island 'cause I'm visiting Manchester
>> soon.
>
> In Britain, the term "the island" is most commonly used for the refuge
> half-way across a busy road in which pedestrians may stand whilst
> waiting for a gap in the traffic. If you use it to mean the UK without
> making it clear what you mean, you will not be understood by most
> Mancunians.
>

And of course the UK isn't an island.
--
Gordon Davie
Edinburgh, Scotland
Lazar Beshkenadze
2017-11-22 11:09:36 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
среда, 22 ноября 2017 г., 13:25:20 UTC+3 пользователь GordonD написал:
> On 22/11/2017 08:04, Richard Heathfield wrote:
>
> And of course the UK isn't an island.

Ok, gentlemen! Thanks to all of you.

I'm leaving now. But perhaps will be back - I
Peter Moylan
2017-11-22 11:26:46 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On 22/11/17 21:25, GordonD wrote:
> On 22/11/2017 08:04, Richard Heathfield wrote:

>> In Britain, the term "the island" is most commonly used for the refuge
>> half-way across a busy road in which pedestrians may stand whilst
>> waiting for a gap in the traffic. If you use it to mean the UK without
>> making it clear what you mean, you will not be understood by most
>> Mancunians.
>
> And of course the UK isn't an island.

No, Man is an island.

--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Richard Heathfield
2017-11-22 11:44:43 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On 22/11/17 10:25, GordonD wrote:
> On 22/11/2017 08:04, Richard Heathfield wrote:
>> [Subject line assumed read in body: "Re: Adressing people ma'am and sir"]
>>
>> On 22/11/17 03:37, Lazar Beshkenadze wrote:

>>
>>> I would like to hear from different English speaking countries but
>>> especially am concerned about the island 'cause I'm visiting Manchester
>>> soon.
>>
>> In Britain, the term "the island" is most commonly used for the refuge
>> half-way across a busy road in which pedestrians may stand whilst
>> waiting for a gap in the traffic. If you use it to mean the UK without
>> making it clear what you mean, you will not be understood by most
>> Mancunians.
>>
>
> And of course the UK isn't an island.

That too.

--
Richard Heathfield
Email: rjh at cpax dot org dot uk
"Usenet is a strange place" - dmr 29 July 1999
Sig line 4 vacant - apply within
Loading...