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    #1

    Teacher as a title?

    Can "teacher" be used as a title as in "Teacher Li"? When I was in high school, my English teacher always warned us against such a usage. But now we can hear even some native speakers use it in their conversations. Was my former teacher wrong or was she not knowledgeable? Please help me out.

  1. Soup's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Teacher as a title?

    It's not English, but it's used in Asia. For English the title is Mrs, Miss, Ms, or Mr. plus the teacher's family name.

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    #3

    Re: Teacher as a title?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    It's not English, but it's used in Asia. For English the title is Mrs, Miss, Ms, or Mr. plus the teacher's family name.
    When I was learning Hindi in India the teacher insisted on being called "Guru Ji". Which translates, more or less, as "Mr. Teacher" or "Teacher Sir".

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    #4

    Re: Teacher as a title?

    Quote Originally Posted by ohmyrichard View Post
    Can "teacher" be used as a title as in "Teacher Li"? When I was in high school, my English teacher always warned us against such a usage. But now we can hear even some native speakers use it in their conversations. Was my former teacher wrong or was she not knowledgeable? Please help me out.
    Maybe the native speakers you've heard were joking. Children's literature/TV often has characters named after their profession - examples: Postman Pat (http://www.postmanpat.com/ ), Fireman Sam (http://www.firemansam.co.uk/ ).... And in villages with many people of the same name, they might well say "Milkman Jones" (although - in Wales - this becomes "Jones the Milk" [no 'man']).


    Soup's right though - it's not normal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    It's not English, but it's used in Asia. For English the title is Mrs, Miss, Ms, or Mr. plus the teacher's family name.
    (Br English warning): at my school it was 'Sir' [no second name] or 'Father'; we had an English teacher who insisted on being called "Ma'am" (/ma:m/), but that sounded pretty old-fashioned even then.

    b
    Last edited by BobK; 25-May-2008 at 14:10. Reason: Added links

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    #5

    Re: Teacher as a title?

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    Maybe the native speakers you've heard were joking.
    They weren't if they teach in Asia, as being called teacher [first name here] is somewhat the norm, in at least Japan and China. Getting the students to break the habit is somewhat difficult; you either go with the flow or against the current. The former is easier.

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    #6

    Re: Teacher as a title?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    They weren't if they teach in Asia, as being called teacher [first name here] is somewhat the norm, in at least Japan and China. Getting the students to break the habit is somewhat difficult; you either go with the flow or against the current. The former is easier.
    I never doubted it I thought ohmyrichard might be referring to Am or Br English speakers - though as his example involves a teacher called Li I should have realized this probably won't have been the case.

    Another possibly related phenomenon is the British English tendency to follow the Am English lead with respect to the names of public officers. Until about 20 years ago it was unusual to say 'Prime Minister <name>'. It's hard to tell from Google hits, because Google ignores punctuation. But the first pageful of hits for 'Prime Minister Major' include only 4 without punctuation (some of which don't look contemporary); the first pageful for 'Prime Minister Brown' includes twice as many (Not that this is a fair comparison: Brown has 5 or 6 times as many hits, and the search for 'Prime Minister Major' catches such quotes as 'the prime minister's major speech' - still, I think it points in the general direction of a change that I've been noticing in the course of the second half of my life).

    b


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    #7

    Re: Teacher as a title?

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    the search for 'Prime Minister Major' catches such quotes as 'the prime minister's major speech' - still, I think it points in the general direction of a change that I've been noticing in the course of the second half of my life).

    b
    Isn't that due to the way in which the internet is so geared that you cannot ask it to search using punctuation and capitalization as part of the search string? An increasing grouse for me when looking for specialized information

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    #8

    Re: Teacher as a title?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    Isn't that due to the way in which the internet is so geared that you cannot ask it to search using punctuation and capitalization as part of the search string? An increasing grouse for me when looking for specialized information
    Anglika, can you provide an example of a search where you 'cannot ask it to search using punctuation and capitalization as part of the search string?'
    I searched the following: "Anglika, help please!" and received:
    "Anglika, help please!" - Google Search

    Of course, I also received the same URL when I didn't include the capitalization or punctuation!!!

    Please give me something to Google that you could not find when you included capitalization and punctuation in your search string.

    Thanks!

    Amigo


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    #9

    Re: Teacher as a title?

    Quote Originally Posted by amigos4 View Post
    Anglika, can you provide an example of a search where you 'cannot ask it to search using punctuation and capitalization as part of the search string?'
    I searched the following: "Anglika, help please!" and received:
    "Anglika, help please!" - Google Search

    Of course, I also received the same URL when I didn't include the capitalization or punctuation!!!

    Please give me something to Google that you could not find when you included capitalization and punctuation in your search string.

    Thanks!

    Amigo
    If you had searched anglika help please, you will probably come up with the same result. If you wanted to search for something that is hyphenated, you will find the search will include everything that contains the characters in that string - except the hyphen. And you cannot search successfully with an apostrophe. anglika help please - Google Search

    I have done many many searches in all sorts of fields - botanic, medical, and general - and have had to develop a strategy of searching to get round this problem.

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    #10

    Re: Teacher as a title?

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    I never doubted it I thought ohmyrichard might be referring to Am or Br English speakers - though as his example involves a teacher called Li I should have realized this probably won't have been the case.

    Another possibly related phenomenon is the British English tendency to follow the Am English lead with respect to the names of public officers. Until about 20 years ago it was unusual to say 'Prime Minister <name>'. It's hard to tell from Google hits, because Google ignores punctuation. But the first pageful of hits for 'Prime Minister Major' include only 4 without punctuation (some of which don't look contemporary); the first pageful for 'Prime Minister Brown' includes twice as many (Not that this is a fair comparison: Brown has 5 or 6 times as many hits, and the search for 'Prime Minister Major' catches such quotes as 'the prime minister's major speech' - still, I think it points in the general direction of a change that I've been noticing in the course of the second half of my life).

    b
    I heard one native speaker teacher say "Teacher Li" in an English teaching programme called StudioClassroom which is broadcast from Taiwan every day. I also once heard Mark Roswell use it in explaining language points. Mark Roswell is Canadian and now lives in China and hosts programmes on China's cental TV station called CCTV. He speaks marvelous mandarin Chinese. I always ask my students to use English the way native speakers do. But I sometimes get confused about what the way native speakers use English is. Perhaps these native speakers try to appeal to locals but I see no need to do that; it mislead us. Another example is Long time no see. I am afraid it was coined by Chinese Americans long ago. My American colleague also uses this expression, but I am afraid it is pidgin English.
    Thank you all for giving me advice on this issue.
    Last edited by ohmyrichard; 29-May-2008 at 09:59.

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