officers are called 'sir'

Discussion in 'Enterprise' started by magarity, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. I am Surak

    I am Surak Captain Captain

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    See - you yourself are the best example for my argument.
     
  2. 6079SmithW

    6079SmithW Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Meh. In Baltimore we get around this by calling everyone "Hon". :p
     
  3. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  4. jespah

    jespah Commodore Commodore

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    They even booed Santa Claus in Philly!
    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/wire?section=nfl&id=1980880

    PS I spent formative years in King of Prussia and am now in Bahstin, where when we cut you off, we do so without Rs, unless the word ends with a vowel. Plus we also tend to vowel shift for no apparent reason.

    Hence, carnage becomes cahnadge and the name Donna becomes Dawnner.

    PPS Thank you for reading my thoroughly unnecessary linguistics aside.
     
  5. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    I am a barbaric German but at least I am not a jingoist. :p

    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.
     
  6. I am Surak

    I am Surak Captain Captain

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    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.
     
  7. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Grey Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    Oh, oops, how in the world did I do that? :alienblush:
     
  8. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  9. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    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).
     
  10. teya

    teya Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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."
     
  11. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Many lawyers in the U.S. use the title "Esquire" after their names, whether they're male or female, for no apparent reason.
     
  12. jespah

    jespah Commodore Commodore

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    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. :)
     
  13. HopefulRomantic

    HopefulRomantic Phloxist Moderator Moderator

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    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 ;)
     
  14. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

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    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.

    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.

    Especially since he has been anything but. :p
     
  15. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    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.
     
  16. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    ^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.
     
  17. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  18. teya

    teya Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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."
     
  19. teya

    teya Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  20. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

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    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.