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Old September 27 2012, 08:40 PM   #46
I am Surak
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Re: officers are called 'sir'

iguana_tonante wrote: View Post
I am Surak wrote: View Post
iguana_tonante wrote: View Post
Or outside his own head.
See - you yourself are the best example for my argument.
Please forgive my filthy foreigner's mouth, o paragon of courtesy. I am sure in the wonderfully civilized America they thank you when you insult them without provocation.
Daily brushing and flossing will cure the filthy mouth and instead of sir I will accept your suggestion of addressing me as "Paragon of Courtesy"

horatio83 wrote: View Post
I am Surak wrote: View Post
I think one of the major reasons for this lengthy discussion is that people outside the United States have a very different way of dealing with their fellow man than us here.
The wonderful common courtesy that we enjoy in this country is simply non existent in Europe for instance. I know - I am from there and on my very first trip to America I was amazed how civilized Americans are to one another.
So where are you from Horatio?
I am a barbaric German but at least I am not a jingoist.
I can understand that you are not a jingoist as there is nothing much to be proud of in the old BRD.
As a fellow landsmann I feel your pain.
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Old September 27 2012, 08:45 PM   #47
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Re: officers are called 'sir'

scotpens wrote: View Post
Sindatur wrote: View Post
Actually, it is quite frequent, when you are shopping, and a store worker addresses you to call you sir or ma'am because they have no way of knowing your name.

To call someone merely "Mister", without a Sir Name to go along with it (IE: Mr. Smith) . . .
I assume you mean "surname," sir! (Or Ma'am, as the case may be.)
Oh, oops, how in the world did I do that?
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Old September 27 2012, 09:18 PM   #48
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Re: officers are called 'sir'

jespah wrote: View Post
Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
I am Surak wrote: View Post
on my very first trip to America I was amazed how civilized Americans are to one another.
You've obviously never been to Philadelphia.
They even booed Santa Claus in Philly!
http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/wire?...nfl&id=1980880
I have also been to Boston, but they were VERY nice to me there. Even though I had Yankees gear on the whole time. They don't treat outsiders like crap the way Philly fans do.
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Old September 27 2012, 09:49 PM   #49
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Re: officers are called 'sir'

I am Surak wrote: View Post
I can understand that you are not a jingoist as there is nothing much to be proud of in the old BRD.
As a fellow landsmann I feel your pain.
You can only be proud of personal achievements, not of the state of an entity that consists of millions of people. Only nationalists feel pride or pain concerning a nation (hence the term nationalist).
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Old September 27 2012, 10:15 PM   #50
teya
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Re: officers are called 'sir'

horatio83 wrote: View Post
I am Surak wrote: View Post
I think one of the major reasons for this lengthy discussion is that people outside the United States have a very different way of dealing with their fellow man than us here.
The wonderful common courtesy that we enjoy in this country is simply non existent in Europe for instance. I know - I am from there and on my very first trip to America I was amazed how civilized Americans are to one another.
So where are you from Horatio?
I am a barbaric German but at least I am not a jingoist.

By the way, I did not argue against politeness, I argued against the expression of politeness via an aristocratic term which seems mildly ironic from a historical perspective as the US wanted to get rid of British monarchy.
I have an egalitarian worldview so I will never ever use or like a term like "Sir" which implies that somebody else is above or beneath me.
If you're walking down the street and a total stranger a few paces ahead of you drops something and doesn't notice, how do you get his attention?

I would say, "Excuse me, sir! You dropped this."
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Old September 27 2012, 10:43 PM   #51
scotpens
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Re: officers are called 'sir'

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
But like I said, it makes no logical sense (even in Starfleet) to call female superior officers "sir", because that word is inherently male. You wouldn't call male superiors "ma'am", so why call females "sir"?
Many lawyers in the U.S. use the title "Esquire" after their names, whether they're male or female, for no apparent reason.
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Old September 27 2012, 11:28 PM   #52
jespah
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Re: officers are called 'sir'

Actually, there is a reason, particularly if you're female (re Esq. after an attorney's name in correspondence). Before your name gets on the letterhead (this used to take a while; back in the Stone Age when I practiced, firms wanted to get their money's worth out of purchased letterhead stationery - that stuff ain't cheap!), you put Esq. after your name so that no one thinks you're a paralegal. It's also something of a title, much like MD after a physician's name.

But I do have to say I don't miss going to court and being asked, by anyone who didn't know me, "When's the lawyer gonna get here?"

Me: "I'm the lawyer."

"Oh."

I was in my 20s at the time.

PS Mr. Laser Beam - I'm glad we were nice to you, despite your apparel.
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Old September 28 2012, 07:12 AM   #53
HopefulRomantic
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Re: officers are called 'sir'

teya, I love your avatar.

And I have learned many things in this thread. I love all this background stuff.

"Paragon of Courtesy" seems a bit top-heavy tho, Surak
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Old September 28 2012, 09:05 AM   #54
iguana_tonante
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Re: officers are called 'sir'

I am Surak wrote: View Post
Daily brushing and flossing will cure the filthy mouth and instead of sir I will accept your suggestion of addressing me as "Paragon of Courtesy"

I can understand that you are not a jingoist as there is nothing much to be proud of in the old BRD.
As a fellow landsmann I feel your pain.
Do you have anything to offer about this discussion but nonconsequential snide comments? Before you showed up insulting about 6,727,531,000 people without provocation, we were having an interesting discussion about the use and origin of the word "sir". But I guess standing on the sidelines throwing thrash is easier than actually having a discussion.

teya wrote: View Post
horatio83 wrote: View Post
By the way, I did not argue against politeness, I argued against the expression of politeness via an aristocratic term which seems mildly ironic from a historical perspective as the US wanted to get rid of British monarchy.
I have an egalitarian worldview so I will never ever use or like a term like "Sir" which implies that somebody else is above or beneath me.
If you're walking down the street and a total stranger a few paces ahead of you drops something and doesn't notice, how do you get his attention?

I would say, "Excuse me, sir! You dropped this."
I cannot reply for horatio, but in Italian (and if I understood correctly, also in German), there is no distinction between "Sir" and "Mister" used as an honorific address, so I guess that's what it is going to be used.

HopefulRomantic wrote: View Post
"Paragon of Courtesy" seems a bit top-heavy tho, Surak
Especially since he has been anything but.
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Old September 28 2012, 10:06 AM   #55
horatio83
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Re: officers are called 'sir'

teya wrote: View Post
If you're walking down the street and a total stranger a few paces ahead of you drops something and doesn't notice, how do you get his attention?

I would say, "Excuse me, sir! You dropped this."
I'd say the same without Sir which is due to German featuring two forms of you, one formal and one personal (this also influences the verb and the first sentence).
I totally understand why it is necessary to have a term like Sir in English. All I am saying is that a term like Mister would be more appropriate because it lacks any "farmer speaks to a knight" connotations.
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Old September 28 2012, 10:08 AM   #56
MacLeod
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Re: officers are called 'sir'

^In the cited service sector where it used to address customers it doesn't imply that they are above or below you. It's simple away of being polite, English as a language evolves, and words gain new meanings whilst retaining their existing meanings.

So Sir means

An address to a superior military officer
An address to a male espically if his name or proper means of address is unknown
A man of higher rank or position.

When used in the service sector by an assitant to address to a customer they are using the second defination. It does not imply in that situation a person of higer socail standing.
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Old September 28 2012, 10:22 AM   #57
iguana_tonante
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Re: officers are called 'sir'

You are right, language changes and evolves.

Maybe it's really a matter of language internalization. As foreign speakers, we look at words from a slightly different perspective. Having learned the meaning and origin of the word before getting accustomed to use it, all meanings are present to me at the same time, without any specific order of precedence: the common form of courtesy, and the aristocratic title. For native speakers, who started using the word before they learned the specific etymology, the use as common form of courtesy is overwhelmingly dominant, and you don't ever think about the aristocratic title when adopting it.

All in all, a very interesting discussion about the use of languages, and different perspectives on it.
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Old September 28 2012, 01:54 PM   #58
teya
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Re: officers are called 'sir'

iguana_tonante wrote: View Post
You are right, language changes and evolves.

Maybe it's really a matter of language internalization. As foreign speakers, we look at words from a slightly different perspective. Having learned the meaning and origin of the word before getting accustomed to use it, all meanings are present to me at the same time, without any specific order of precedence: the common form of courtesy, and the aristocratic title. For native speakers, who started using the word before they learned the specific etymology, the use as common form of courtesy is overwhelmingly dominant, and you don't ever think about the aristocratic title when adopting it.

All in all, a very interesting discussion about the use of languages, and different perspectives on it.
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."
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Old September 28 2012, 01:58 PM   #59
teya
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Re: officers are called 'sir'

HopefulRomantic wrote: View Post
teya, I love your avatar.
Thanks. Angora bunny. I plan to be raising them in a few years. You can set them in your lap and spin yarn directly from the rabbit.

The Trekkie in me loves them because they look like giant tribbles.
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Old September 28 2012, 02:30 PM   #60
iguana_tonante
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Re: officers are called 'sir'

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.
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