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Old September 29 2012, 01:05 AM   #64
Location: Great Britain
Re: officers are called 'sir'

iguana_tonante wrote: View Post
teya wrote: View Post
Good point. I'd also add that in the States, where the class system is more fluid (no hereditary titles), we don't even think about social rank when using "sir" or "ma'am."
Here in Italy we don't have hereditary titles as well (we discarded them when we became a republic), so I don't think about social ranks when using courtesy forms as signore/signora. (Well, some people still insist on being addressed by their ancient titles: usually they are laughed in their face by us commoners.)

When speaking English, on the other hand, the subtext is present in my mind. Funny that. Maybe because of the perception of (British) English as being the language of a country where nobility titles are still in use. I dunno.
Sure they might still be in use, but in everday usage they don't have much of an impact. So sure somebody might be properly addressed as Sir John Doe, just as they might be addressed as Dr. John Doe. But in everday usage the use of the word 'sir' has nothing to do with knighthoods and is about being polite.
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