When I was on active duty, I allowed the informality of my middle name: Major. Eric Hines
Architecture schools- like many others, I assume, had taken very much to the habit of, in the spirit of egalite no doubt, promoting that students refer to instructors in the familiar. When I started teaching, I wasn't sure how I would deal with this- so I let the students do as they were comfortable, and the interesting thing was most would use the formal rather than the informal- particularly the better students.A well written article.
I am a great fan of the Southernism to refer to work acquaintances of roughly indeterminate rank as "Mr. Firstname" or "Miz. Firstname". For example, while I may not know John Smith well enough to call him "John", he is neither a supervisor nor above me in position enough to call him "Mr. Smith", so "Mr. John" will do. It's more aimed at the women with whom presumed familiarity is less acceptable socially. I've yet to have a female co-worker balk at "Miz. Sally" or "Miz Judy". It's polite without being formal, and I find it a nice balance.But you better believe that senior staff are all Mr. Smith and Ms. Brown (not actual names).
That is a "Southernism!" It's what we make the kids do toward nearby neighbors who are too familiar to call 'Sir' or by their last names: "Mr. Doug" or "Mr. Don" or "Miss Tammy" (though she's married).It's entirely wrong, formally, but it at least establishes some rank structure for the children.
I like it. The older generation appreciate it, and the younger generation accept it as familiar. The only people who look at me cross eyed are coworkers who were raised in the North or West who think it sounds old fashioned. I'm ok with that.
Many other cultures use the title of 'Aunt' or 'Uncle' in much the same way, and I think we have at times as well.I do think it strikes a nice balance.As a non-Southerner, I always wondered about the propriety of calling a woman Miss ________, if she may well have been a married woman- what's the protocol on that, or is it as it's only a semiformal addressing, it doesn't matter?
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