Honorifics

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moonshadow
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Re: Honorifics

Post by moonshadow »

Kirbstone wrote:
Mon Nov 22, 2021 1:02 pm
In our Practice the clientelle/patients/victims are all so high up the Social ladder that we address them as 'Your Grace', Your Eminence', Your Lordship, Your Majesty', 'Your Holiness', You're late' &c.

Tom
And when someone's mother in law walks in it's

"HOLY COW!"

:hide:
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Re: Honorifics

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by Dust » Sat Nov 20, 2021 8:54 am

When I was a kid, it was always Mr. or Mrs. last name for adults. I did a brief summer camp thing with some Quakers who had the kids refer to adults by first name, and I found it uncomfortable.
Be it honorifics or apparel, we all are exposed to some cultural practices that feel familiar and thus comfortable -- just the way things are. Yet this site is populated by a crew of folks who rise to the challenge, at least wonder -- if perhaps the customary practices, like the emperor "has no clothes" shouldn't be challenged.

As a child I had a very diverse exposure to a multitude of spiritual practices, and have by choice found my comfort zone with Quakers -- and even though I thus intellectually understand the notion that honorifics are a form of inequality, adaptation of dropping them in all circumstances is still a bit uncomfortable. I often hide my unease by avoidance: "How are you and avoiding a name and title sometimes will carry the day, but it does at other times seem remiss in not expressing the recognition and appreciation for some expertise, or merely honoring the other persons regional expectations.

In Costa Rica, customers or 'esteemed' male persons are often called "Mr." and their first name. Doctors often introduce themselves by the first and secondary names. In the US I've found that rare, but a plastic surgeon who just did a $36K fill in the hole on my head introduced himself as "Manny", familiar for Manual. I'm inclined to think where the title is just a comfortable fit, let it stand -- where it is an obvious bow to inequality or pretentiousness...toss it out.
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Re: Honorifics

Post by Stu »

Just a few extra bits on the history of honorifics of info which you may or may not know, but which I think give a bit of context.

First, the term "Mister" (Mr) was originally used in England as a title for a "gentleman" (rather than a common man - a man who was socially referred to as "vile", meaning at the bottom of the pecking order). Most working men in England (etc) didn't hold the social rank to be afforded that title. This changed early in the 20th century and I recall my grandma telling me that "the gentlemen who empty the dustbins (trash cans) are coming today" - and then her explaining that such men would never have been called that when her own grandmother was alive. All men are now considered "gentlemen" and women are "ladies", as denoted by such phenomena as clothing suppliers - and toilets! The titles "Mr", "Miss" and "Mrs" follow accordingly. Someone suggested a gender neutral title of "Per" (short for "Person") in the 1970s, but it never caught on as it seems a bit pointless. Yes, we know you are a person. I have seen "Mx", but I don't think that will catch on, either.

Second, the title "professor" is used differently in the US compared to the UK. In the US, it just means a teacher at a college or university - or so I am led to believe. In the UK and most other parts of Europe, the term refers to someone who has been awarded "a chair" - i.e. a full professorship. There are plenty of lecturers of various levels and ranks but who are not at the pinnacle of academia and so do not use the title "professor", although I have noticed we do seem to have adopted "Assistant Professor" and "Associate Professor" at some of our universities. This can be the cause of some confusion when academics cross the Atlantic.

Third, I noticed there was some scorn poured on Jill Biden for using the "Dr" title. That was unfair. She holds a Doctor of Education degree and, while that is the lowest level of doctorate, it is still a doctorate and she can use the title. The idea that only medics should use the title is based on ignorance. She actually has more right to use it than most medics as they don't hold doctoral degrees and they style themselves as "Dr" as a courtesy title for historical reasons. Of course, if one is asked their occupation and they say "doctor", then that has a specific meaning in English now; it means a registered medical practitioner, but that is not relevant to use of the title. There was a fashion going back to the 1960s in which quite a few academics renounced the title "Dr" for ideological reasons. They took the view that it was elitist and divisive, and some of that thinking has pertained to this date. But how many people would question the right of, say, Dr Robert Oppenheimer, or Dr Henry Kissinger or even Dr Albert Einstein to use the title because they weren't medical doctors? Oddly, in Germany, they can double-up the "Dr" title if someone has two doctoral degrees - so they could say they were "Dr Dr Schmidt" - and if they were also a full professor, they could say they were "Dr Dr Professor Schmidt". It is also illegal in Germany to use any "Dr" title (which is only academic and never medical) if the qualifications were obtained other than in an EU country. Fortunately, they haven't enforced this rule as I know some American scientists have ignored it and used the title.
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Re: Honorifics

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Stu wrote:
Wed Nov 24, 2021 4:57 pm
But how many people would question the right of, say, Dr Robert Oppenheimer, or Dr Henry Kissinger or even Dr Albert Einstein to use the title because they weren't medical doctors? Oddly, in Germany, they can double-up the "Dr" title if someone has two doctoral degrees - so they could say they were "Dr Dr Schmidt" - and if they were also a full professor, they could say they were "Dr Dr Professor Schmidt". It is also illegal in Germany to use any "Dr" title (which is only academic and never medical) if the qualifications were obtained other than in an EU country. Fortunately, they haven't enforced this rule as I know some American scientists have ignored it and used the title.
I know someone in the US who uses "Dr.-Ing" which made me curious about the title.
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Re: Honorifics

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How about Dr2? That is, Dr with superscript 2, not easy to show here. It's what I would do if I had two appropriate degrees. I'd like to think that Carl would approve.

I would also ignore the EU non-disclosure rule. However I almost never use my BSc designation.
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Re: Honorifics

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Sinned wrote:
Wed Nov 24, 2021 8:09 pm
How about Dr2? That is, Dr with superscript 2, not easy to show here. It's what I would do if I had two appropriate degrees. I'd like to think that Carl would approve.
Actually, no. I'm not trying to be contrarian here, but having two doctoral level degrees would likely be better expressed with a subscript 2, as, say, in H2O (dihydrogen monoxide) as superscripts denote powers and two doctorates would be 1x1, thus 1 expressed as powers. Thus, the subscript number becomes a numerator and thus more meaningful for small numbers.
I would also ignore the EU non-disclosure rule. However I almost never use my BSc designation.
I'd tend to exclude assorted parts of the planet from inclusion in the matter of degrees, but not having any of my own to speak of cannot speak with much authority on that matter, save that I've accumulated more knowledge over the course of my career than several folks I know of that carry doctorates from other countries in the field.
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Re: Honorifics

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As with clothing, accept someone for the person they are. A doctorate doesn't necessarily expunge stupidity nor guarantee genius.

I knew a guy who lived out in the bush and when he came to town he would sleep in the back on his uninsulated Morris Minor panel van, including some nights where the temperature got down to 3C or even minus 3C. Thus I thought that he was referred to as the 3 degree man because of this propensity but no, he had 3 doctorates. He never used an honorific and if he did I would not have guessed unless he was a Dr Dr Dr Peter and even then I might have assumed it was a stutter.
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Re: Honorifics

Post by rode_kater »

Coder wrote:
Wed Nov 24, 2021 5:21 pm
I know someone in the US who uses "Dr.-Ing" which made me curious about the title.
Ing in NL is Ingenieur, which is sort of like Engineer in english but someone that has an degree in a technical subject. Dr-Ing as a title means they have a doctorate in a technical subject. So someone with a degree in education of business studies isn't allowed to use it.

I get to call myself Ing, which I think is way nicer than putting MSc after my name.
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Re: Honorifics

Post by Dust »

rode_kater wrote:
Thu Nov 25, 2021 2:22 pm
Coder wrote:
Wed Nov 24, 2021 5:21 pm
I know someone in the US who uses "Dr.-Ing" which made me curious about the title.
Ing in NL is Ingenieur, which is sort of like Engineer in english but someone that has an degree in a technical subject. Dr-Ing as a title means they have a doctorate in a technical subject. So someone with a degree in education of business studies isn't allowed to use it.

I get to call myself Ing, which I think is way nicer than putting MSc after my name.
I've seen "D.Eng." after the name of a professor with a doctor of engineering degree here in the US, but only in a formal listing of names or official correspondence. And even there it's unusual. Apparently there is a difference between that and a PhD in engineering, but I'm not entirely sure what it is.
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Re: Honorifics

Post by Dust »

denimini wrote:
Thu Nov 25, 2021 3:01 am
As with clothing, accept someone for the person they are. A doctorate doesn't necessarily expunge stupidity nor guarantee genius.
This is very true. I've been around a lot of folks with advanced degrees and it doesn't necessarily mean much.
denimini wrote:
Thu Nov 25, 2021 3:01 am
I knew a guy who lived out in the bush and when he came to town he would sleep in the back on his uninsulated Morris Minor panel van, including some nights where the temperature got down to 3C or even minus 3C. Thus I thought that he was referred to as the 3 degree man because of this propensity but no, he had 3 doctorates. He never used an honorific and if he did I would not have guessed unless he was a Dr Dr Dr Peter and even then I might have assumed it was a stutter.
Some of the best, smartest folks I've known had a PhD but didn't advertise that fact. Had a high school physics teacher who everyone just called "Mr. [last name]" that I later found out had a PhD. He was one of the single best teachers I ever had. Complete gentleman, and could explain concepts better than anyone. Simple demos that got the point across. You get the idea. And just well mannered while being approachable.
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Re: Honorifics

Post by Stu »

There was an article about this by someone from Debrett's published in The Times several years ago in which the writer said that anyone with a doctoral degree could (and should) use either the title OR the designatory letters, but not both. It is customary for people working in certain fields such as higher education and research, sciences, and work related to museums, to opt for the "Dr" title - e.g. Dr Smith, while those from other fields could just use the designatory letters, e.g. PhD, EdD, LLD etc, as they would be working alongside colleagues who wouldn't be expected to hold doctoral degrees as a matter of course and so would use their own designatory letters, like MA, MSc, LLM and so forth. The guidance was that you choose one or the other and stick to that - don't alternate - and maintain the decision for the rest of your life.

In the UK, there has been a tendency in recent years for dentists to use the "Dr" title even though they don't hold anything beyond the basic Bachelor's degree in dental surgery, BDS. They do this because their own professional body has said they can - and they did this without reference to the government because there is no law to stop them. The intention is obviously a cynical attempt to impress their patients in their blurb. If I were one of those dentists who studied an extra four years for the DDS (Doctor of Dentistry) degree and was awarded the doctorate after developing some new technique or insight, I would feel a bit cheated.
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Re: Honorifics

Post by familyman34 »

Stu wrote:
Wed Nov 24, 2021 4:57 pm


Third, I noticed there was some scorn poured on Jill Biden for using the "Dr" title. That was unfair. She holds a Doctor of Education degree and, while that is the lowest level of doctorate, it is still a doctorate and she can use the title. The idea that only medics should use the title is based on ignorance. She actually has more right to use it than most medics as they don't hold doctoral degrees and they style themselves as "Dr" as a courtesy title for historical reasons. Of course, if one is asked their occupation and they say "doctor", then that has a specific meaning in English now; it means a registered medical practitioner, but that is not relevant to use of the title. There was a fashion going back to the 1960s in which quite a few academics renounced the title "Dr" for ideological reasons. They took the view that it was elitist and divisive, and some of that thinking has pertained to this date.
In our local UK hospital (at least it pertained 20 years ago when my wife had an eye operation), the most senior male surgeon in a department always Mr, rather than Dr - perhaps a kind of reverse snobbery! Other senior surgeons were often similarly named.

I don't know whether there was an equivalent naming convention for female surgeons, but they were so few in number at the time that I was never aware of it.

And it seemed to apply only for surgeons, not for other medical specialities.
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Re: Honorifics

Post by Stu »

In the UK, surgeons are trained as with all other doctors and later specialise in surgery. They use the title "Dr" throughout. However, if and when they become consultant surgeons, and gain the Royal College of Surgeons qualification, they then become "Mr" or "Miss" or "Mrs" again by convention. Weirdly, that is actually an esteemed medical title and holds status accordingly.
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