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  1. chester_100's Avatar
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    #1

    Question Honorifics (sings of respect)

    Unlike many languages, English doesn't have an intricate network of titles or morphological inflections by which its users can express their respect to each other.
    Using modal auxiliaries (that show different degrees of formality) can help sometimes, but not always.
    We use he/she/you/they to refer to all members of society, no matter how respectable they are.

    I certainly know that it's very unusual, but how about using an expression like 'his Excellency' or something like that for men.
    Please note that I mean for ordinary but respectable persons, and not necessarily for high-ranking officials.

  2. Reemy's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Honorifics (sings of respect)

    Sir is an honorific used as a title or a courtesy title to address a man without using his given or family name, while Your Excellency is the kind of honorific to be given to presidents, high ranked officials and ambassadors. You may like to check this article about Style (manner of address)!

    Style (manner of address) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Honorifics (sings of respect)

    - though I suspect 'sir' is more popular in America than in the UK. When someone calls me 'sir' I assume they're either foreign or trying to sell me something (or both).

    I've been addressed as 'Your Excellency' more than once - but by waiters in Indian restaurants! It's not a commonly used honorific (though it does has a use in the field of diplomacy - which I assume is mentioned in that link).

    b

  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Honorifics (sings of respect)

    Yes, waiting staff (waiters/waitresses) address the customers as "Sir" and "Madam" in some restaurants.

  5. chester_100's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Honorifics (sings of respect)

    Thank you folks,

    The page is informative, but as I've already mentioned, I meant a rank-free situation. Without social formalities.
    Modern English is an intrinsically open language. It has some tools to show respect in face-to-face situations, but it's not that strong when it comes to third persons. In some systems, even an absent person may be respected.

    One structural way used for that purpose is employing third person plural pronouns or inflections to refer to the absent person; let's concoct a hypothetical English example: Mr. Jack are not home now. An obtrusively anomalous structure.

    The case can become even more serious when the person who is being talked about is present in the communication situation. For instance, Jim is talking about his grandfather who is present there:
    -Jim: He [the grandfather] is staying with me.
    In some cultures, that may sound rude.

  6. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Honorifics (sings of respect)

    It could be considered rude to speak about someone who is present in the third person if it's the only reference to the person in the sentence.

    For example, if you say "Is she staying for dinner" in reference to grandma, who is right there, it could be a bit rude, particularly if you also point when you say it. (Pointing is often considered very rude.) You'd say "Is Grandma staying for dinner?" But you could then say "I hope she is!" without having to repeat Grandma.

    It seems odd to me that it would be rude to refer to a person in a way that is the only way the language allows.

    We have a more egalitarian society. Perhaps that's why we don't have as many ways to express respective status.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  7. chester_100's Avatar
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    #7

    Thumbs up Re: Honorifics (sings of respect)

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    It could be considered rude to speak about someone who is present in the third person if it's the only reference to the person in the sentence.

    For example, if you say 'Is she staying for dinner' in reference to grandma, who is right there, it could be a bit rude, particularly if you also point when you say it. (Pointing is often considered very rude.) You'd say 'Is Grandma staying for dinner?' But you could then say 'I hope she is!' without having to repeat Grandma.

    That's a very good idea. It actually reminds of 'compensation'.
    So we can conclude that mentioning the person's name (or his social role) can be a sign of respect (that's natural). And, to avoid any possible offensive impression, we can use an expression that shows concern or just something pleasant.

    It seems odd to me that it would be rude to refer to a person in a way that is the only way the language allows.

    Of course. I was talking about cultures other than English.


    We have a more egalitarian society. Perhaps that's why we don't have as many ways to express respective status.

    That's true. Language is a reflection of society.
    Thank you very much.

  8. BobK's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Honorifics (sings of respect)

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    It could be considered rude to speak about someone who is present in the third person if it's the only reference to the person in the sentence.

    ...
    This reminds me of a stern correction often used by Victorian nannies. If a child said 'She ... <whatever>' and she was present, the nanny would tell the child 'She is the cat's mother. Mrs X ... <whatever>'. Some traditionally minded parents and grandparents still say 'She is the cat's mother'.

    b

  9. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Honorifics (sings of respect)

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    This reminds me of a stern correction often used by Victorian nannies. If a child said 'She ... <whatever>' and she was present, the nanny would tell the child 'She is the cat's mother. Mrs X ... <whatever>'. Some traditionally minded parents and grandparents still say 'She is the cat's mother'.

    b
    Yes, same here! My grandfather was very fond of this phrase. If I said "she", referring to my mum or my grandmother, he would bark "Who's SHE?! The cat's mother?!" It terrified me when he did it!!!

  10. chester_100's Avatar
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    #10

    Wink Re: Honorifics (sings of respect)

    But that's a cute expression; to an adult maybe!

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