Honorifics

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pelmut
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Re: Honorifics

Post by pelmut »

Stu wrote:... the vast majority of intersex people define themselves as male or female...
They are given no other choice. To get a birth certificate, driving licence, passport or almost any other official document they have to lie because the only alternative is to be refused the document. By telling people they can only be male or female they are bound to give you false data, which means that intersex and intergender people 'disappear' from the statistics - but we are there, we are real, and it is about time that fact was recognised.
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beachlion
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Re: Honorifics

Post by beachlion »

If you feel you are limited in the gender choice, go to Germany.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/24/opin ... uling.html
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Daryl
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Re: Honorifics

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Stu wrote:When I first moved to Sweden, I was struck by how absolutely everybody called me by my first name. My physician, dentist, masseur, bank clerks, officials - everybody. They don't ask first, either, they just assume. That doesn't happen in the UK and it was a bit of a culture shock. To be honest, I prefer a more formal address when dealing with people I don't know personally.

Any thoughts?
I do as well, but I am 63 and Canadian so my habits are closer to British in many ways than perhaps some other places. I do like to rapidly move to use of first names once a closer relationship has been established, and not keep it formal forever. It was a bit of a shock to me when my new dentist a few years ago immediately had me calling her by her first name, abbreviated to a more familiar version, and called me by mine right away. It's a generational thing as well as a cultural thing, it seems. I was calling our new doctor by his first name within three visits. Both dentist and doctor are quite new (and wonderful at their jobs).

I especially dislike salespeople not maintaining formal address. They drop it to try to establish a more intimate relationship so they can manipulate you better.
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beachlion
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Re: Honorifics

Post by beachlion »

Daryl wrote:..... I especially dislike salespeople not maintaining formal address. They drop it to try to establish a more intimate relationship so they can manipulate you better.
I don't know if it is in the genes of the Dutch but it looks like the Dutch are trained to smell rats. Maybe that is the reason they are commercially active all over the world with quite some succes for such a small country. When somebody is at the door it takes me a few seconds to smell his or her ploy. The same goes for offers in the mail and Internet.
One of the Dutch rules is: if they come to you, they expect to earn more from you than you from them.
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Daryl
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Re: Honorifics

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pelmut wrote:
Stu wrote:... the vast majority of intersex people define themselves as male or female...
They are given no other choice. To get a birth certificate, driving licence, passport or almost any other official document they have to lie because the only alternative is to be refused the document. By telling people they can only be male or female they are bound to give you false data, which means that intersex and intergender people 'disappear' from the statistics - but we are there, we are real, and it is about time that fact was recognised.
Most trans and intersex people still don't want a third option for themselves, I would wager, though some countries have instituted an option for those who do. India for example recognises a third gender and in Canada we have just made it possible to select "x" on passports to indicate neither male or female, essentially third gender (other documents to follow I presume).

The real core of the debate is about what gender is for. For most of us it's just a convenience, not a personal possession intended to reflect our inner selves or some such thing. By gendering my references to people I make it easier for those receiving my references to know who I am referring to. It's a quick sorting thing, not the aesthetic/personal/political thing we've turned it into. It's a matter of identification not "identity".

As a convenience, anything other than binary defeats the purpose of gender. People's language habits are driven by convenience. Using law (changing formalisms by decree) to impose a new practice will only succeed to the extent that it results in intuitive usage. I would suggest that total de-gendering would be easier to accomplish than addition of third gender (but I'm up for the experiment either way).

As a means of expressing or asserting "identity" (the personal possession), even trinary gender is not sufficient. Perhaps the formality of a third gender would satisfy this need for most people who feel "forced" to "be" either male or female, I don't know, but what I am sure of is that asking me or anyone else to inquire after or remember people's gender before referencing them with gendered terms, is doomed to fail if the possibilities are much more numerous than 2 -- and the possibilities for gender are infinite, if it is basically just language not a reference to any material thing (like chromosome-related physical features).

Basically, I think that with gender we are asking language to do too much work, when we should be working on other socially constructed things instead. For example, the norms that create expectations about the roles that men and women can have, and how they may present themselves, etc.; those norms need to fall. Once they have fallen then even deliberately hurtful misgendering will disappear, since all the unnecessary baggage associated with sex will be gone.

I don't know what specific statistics you are concerned with but the ones of real consequence won't be hurt by leaving the binary distinction binary, as far as I can tell. When planning how big to make seats in buses, or how many supplies for human features that are sexed to stock ambulances with, and so forth, the binary will work just fine. If your concern is just that people who don't want to identify as either male or female should be counted, then that's just an extra field on a form. In addition to "Sex: M/F" there could be "Gender: M/F/X", and the latter could default to the former (just so no wankers complain that forms are getting too long).
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Daryl
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Re: Honorifics

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beachlion wrote:If you feel you are limited in the gender choice, go to Germany.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/24/opin ... uling.html
"Zwitter" sounds like a kind of dip or spread, to my English-speaking ears.

"Let's put some zwitter on these crackers for snacks."
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Daryl
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Re: Honorifics

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beachlion wrote:
Daryl wrote:..... I especially dislike salespeople not maintaining formal address. They drop it to try to establish a more intimate relationship so they can manipulate you better.
I don't know if it is in the genes of the Dutch but it looks like the Dutch are trained to smell rats. Maybe that is the reason they are commercially active all over the world with quite some succes for such a small country. When somebody is at the door it takes me a few seconds to smell his or her ploy. The same goes for offers in the mail and Internet.
One of the Dutch rules is: if they come to you, they expect to earn more from you than you from them.
I worked for and with Dutch people for years, and this is indeed one of their traits.

Being commercially successful was necessary because the Netherlands has a paucity of material resources, giving all the surrounding countries a terrible advantage. The reason so many Dutch came to Canada and America postwar was that all the decent farmland was gone and the outlook for the next generation of farmers was bleak. Denmark is in a similar situation and both Netherlands and Denmark have cultures of employing skill and effort to provide what nature does not. Mix that with protestant ethics, et walah...
Daryl...

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Re: Honorifics

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Calling people Mr or Mrs is something I hate. I have a given name, forename or Christian name and it is by that I wish to be known. I do not want to hide behind false titles and I want to be me, imperfect, but me none the less.

I have found that 'officials' in local government, court officers and the like will always call them selves by Mr or Mrs to try to distance themselves from 'regular' people. To my mind this has a snob value, just like being called Sir X or Lady X who cares if they have a 'title' I do not!

So when I receive mail I just line to be addressed by my given name. Unless it is from an official source any letters with Mr in the title get shredded along with the other junk mail. Aren't I the rebel!

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Re: Honorifics

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With my given first name you may be thinking that the rest of my name is The Menace. Not so. During my life I have had many nicknames and been called many things including "Hey you." My first name, as you may gather, is Dennis and after so long I wouldn't want any other. Really I don't like formality and dispense with the Mr as soon as I can. Never been called by my surname except at school where it was the custom to be called thus. I use Sinned as a pseudonym in computing circles and I quite like the fact that my name is reverse still makes a valid word.

Carl = Lac
Tom = Mot
Anthony = Ynohtna
Fred = Derf

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I believe in offering every assistance short of actual help but then mainly just want to be left to be myself in all my difference and uniqueness.

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Re: Honorifics

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In high school I had a chemistry teacher who would call attendance backwards sometimes. It was a riot. He was very good at it.
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Daryl
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Re: Honorifics

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stevelous wrote:Calling people Mr or Mrs is something I hate. I have a given name, forename or Christian name and it is by that I wish to be known. I do not want to hide behind false titles and I want to be me, imperfect, but me none the less.

I have found that 'officials' in local government, court officers and the like will always call them selves by Mr or Mrs to try to distance themselves from 'regular' people. To my mind this has a snob value, just like being called Sir X or Lady X who cares if they have a 'title' I do not!

So when I receive mail I just line to be addressed by my given name. Unless it is from an official source any letters with Mr in the title get shredded along with the other junk mail. Aren't I the rebel!
You are!

I rather like formal titles but then I don't live somewhere that the class system really meant very much. The "snob factor" in titles just isn't very real to me, and snobbishness is usually expressed in other ways too.

Of course that mail delivered to only your surname with an honorific in front of it is usually some kind of an attempt to get something out of you with faux respect.

Mr. Stevelous, this is to inform you that you have been named heir to the estate of one Sir Rich Guy in Nigeria. Please reply with your signature and banking information to collect 15 million US dollars that has been bequeathed to you.
Daryl...

Stu
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Re: Honorifics

Post by Stu »

stevelous wrote:Calling people Mr or Mrs is something I hate. I have a given name, forename or Christian name and it is by that I wish to be known. I do not want to hide behind false titles and I want to be me, imperfect, but me none the less.
I suppose it's a matter of preference. For me, my first name is for friends, family, neighbours and even acquaintances whom I have come to know. As I said, I also expect that to be the name used by my work colleagues and students, because that's the norm in my place of work. But I have to say that it grates on me when my first name is used by, for example, a bank clerk giving me foreign currency, a nurse bandaging my knee at the hospital, a teacher at my child's school or a receptionist at a hotel. There is nothing snobby about that; I just like to have a clear demarcation between the formal and the informal when it comes to interacting with others as it maintains the relationship. I think we all have the same belief in that respect; it's just a question of degree - and where we draw the line. For example, who would suggest it was appropriate for a judge in a court to be addressed by his first name? Or how about a corporal in the army calling his boss, a colonel, "Steve"? Should a police officer interviewing a motorist go straight to first name terms? I don't think so.

I quite like using people's formal name and title and I like them to return the compliment - and that's my preference.

BTW - you can still call me Stu :lol:

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Re: Honorifics

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crfriend wrote: Careful with that last one, Sir. As far as I'm aware "Ms" (supposedly pronounced as "mizz") is an entirely new concoction springing from the loins of radical "feminism".
Not entirely. Dictionary.com notes usage going back to at least the 1950s as a term of convenience when one didn't know if the addressee was Mrs. or Miss. Certainly the feminist movement of the 1970s pushed the term into common usage, but it did not have its birthplace in Ms. Steinem's era (or E.R.A. as the case may be).

Coming up on 60, I know that American abandonment of honorifics has happened mostly within my lifetime. In the 70s and early 80s it was rare for rank-and-file employees to address management by first name, and totally unheard of for service workers to address customers or ANY minor to address ANY adult that way. Now I have friends in their 80s and 90s, and it's always a little uncomfortable for me to address them on familiar terms, even though that's their preference.
Last edited by crfriend on Wed Dec 27, 2017 12:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Fixed the attribution. [CRF]
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Re: Honorifics

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Ralph wrote:
crfriend wrote: Careful with that last one, Sir. As far as I'm aware "Ms" (supposedly pronounced as "mizz") is an entirely new concoction springing from the loins of radical "feminism".
Not entirely. Dictionary.com notes usage going back to at least the 1950s as a term of convenience when one didn't know if the addressee was Mrs. or Miss. Certainly the feminist movement of the 1970s pushed the term into common usage, but it did not have its birthplace in Ms. Steinem's era (or E.R.A. as the case may be).
The original quote was mine, not Pelmut's, and I've taken the liberty of fixing that.

From personal experience, and first-hand that dates back into the 1960s, I have no recollection of the usage from any earlier than the mid 1970s. Note that this may just be me, but I am sensitive to attempts to "rewrite history". My early training -- which I still rely upon today -- was to gently inquire about name if I've managed to forget it (I still do, very frequently, although I am struggling to get better) rather than overtly fluff something, or to attempt to dodge it altogether (e.g. "Very nice to meet you ma'am."). "Mister" (hilariously parodied in an episode of Sledge Hammer -- "That's Mrrrr" when confronted with a vehement "feminist") or "Sir" functions equally well for single or married males, whether of rank or not. Children can be addressed either as "Master" or "Mistress" (although the latter has fallen out of use), or by name or by "Sir" or "Ma'am" if one is trying to be overly polite (or obsequious).
Coming up on 60, I know that American abandonment of honorifics has happened mostly within my lifetime. In the 70s and early 80s it was rare for rank-and-file employees to address management by first name, and totally unheard of for service workers to address customers or ANY minor to address ANY adult that way. Now I have friends in their 80s and 90s, and it's always a little uncomfortable for me to address them on familiar terms, even though that's their preference.
This dovetails with my experience as well.

I'm not sure it's all that bad a thing; one advantage that it has is that it flattens a society that is increasingly segregated by "class" (primarily wealth) and may serve as a bit of a unifying force for when the inevitable needs to happen. Really the only downside I see to it is that it can corrode the lesser boundaries that tend to "grease the skids" a bit. So, yes, I call my boss by his first name and he calls me by mine. It works, for, after all, all a name is is a certain sequence of utterances that we recognise as "us". It's seldom a problem in conversation because it's usually clear who the addressee is: 'You know, Mike, that idea of yours really needs refinement." is clear in a conversation -- put it over a P.A. system, on the other hand, and it becomes gibberish (unless there's only one "Mike" working there).
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Re: Honorifics

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I work for a company that employees approximately 500 people and does approximately 12 millions dollars worth of business monthly. I call my immediate supervisor by his first name as well as his boss who is the department head. In fact I passed our CEO in the hallway and used her first name as well. I don't have a problem with it and they don't either.
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