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Forms of address -- formal

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Postby Philip Hudson » Sat Feb 18, 2012 8:02 pm

This is the wildest thread I have ever tried to unravel (or ravel, take your pick). I have failed somewhere along the way.

Back to the original question: I have some salutations that I use for specific recipients. I call my brothers “Br’er” my sisters “Sis” and my Cousins “Kuz”. I have several friends and relatives, even off-springs, who are PhDs and MDs, but I don’t call them “Doctor”. Of course I write Dr. Beard and Dr. Goodword out of deep respect and devotion. My pastor wants me call him “Pastor John”, but I don’t. Of course I would never call him “Reverend John” or “The Very Right Reverend John Smith” or some other fancy title. The Baptist blood that has surged through my and my ancestors’ veins for untold generations boils at the thought of it. I call my pastor “John” or “Brother John”. When I was a boy I was instructed to verbally address all of my elders as “Mister Smith” or “Miz Jones”. If a woman were a close friend of the family, I could call her Miz Jane instead of Miz Doe, or even “Aunt Sukey” even though she was no kin to me. (You know that “Aunt” is pronounced with a long “a” where I come from.) Of course the habit of pious adults addressing all of their associates as “Brother Smith” or “Sister Jones” could get confusing if the pastor were also called “Brother Brown” or “Sister Bradford”. Yes, I really had a pastor once who was called “Sister Bradford”. I said I had Baptist blood, not that I was an ordinary Baptist. We had and have female pastors in my church. I am sorry this paragraph is so long and I am just getting wound up. I must stop this insanity!

I have dispensed with writing closing pleasantries such as “Sincerely”. I just sign my name or make up a more personal closing tailored to the individual.

I know many Chinese people since they are my English students. Not all of them are clear about which is the family name and which is the given name. I had a student once named Tin Tin Tang.

When filling out forms we are often instructed to enter our last name first. That’s confusing.

An even more perplexing problem is the meaning of 6/8/12. Does than mean June the eighth of 2012 or August the sixth of 2012 (or perhaps 1912)? There seems to be no international standard. I write 2012June08 and I wish others would adopt that, but I can’t seem to get anyone to go along with me. Frankly I have forgotten the US Military way of writing the date. The military “Twenty-three hundred hours” for 11:00pm is ridiculous. One might write “23:00 o’clock” I suppose

Now, don’t mind me ya’ll, you may go back to your fun postings on this thread. I may even try to follow it further.
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Postby Slava » Sat Feb 18, 2012 8:17 pm

Interesting post Philip. I'll add two items that tie in and please me.

As to Chinese names, I had a classmate named Ding Ding.

As to dates, 9/11 has different meanings in different places. In America, it's when the WTO towers came crashing down, September 11. In Germany, it's when the Berlin Wall came crashing down, November 9. I guess it will be up to history to decide which was more important.
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:11 pm

As a pastor I never cared what people called me as long as they kept it mostly clean. I always figured if I couldn't lead the church as Perry, I couldn't lead it as the Right Reverend Doctor Pastor. I have had friends who addressed me as pastor, which sounded ok, but Perry has been fine too.

Re writing the date: I was taught to right February 18, 2012. That translates as 2/18/2012, or just 12.

Lotsa people around here pronounce aunt as ain't.
pl
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Postby Slava » Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:19 pm

I must say I've never heard Aunt as ain't. Ant, yes, which are the little black insects I step on, but not ain't.
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:32 pm

We even have a self-conscious cliched "joke" about it. Someone (using ain't) will say "Aunt Jane," and another will chime in with "Ain't Jane purty?"
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Postby Philip Hudson » Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:10 am

If I am on my best behavior, I pronounce "Aunt" the same way I pronounce "ant", the little insects. If I am with my redneck peers, I say it the same as "ain't". Some people say "Ahnt". I consder that an affectation or at least out of my ken. Then there are people who say "hahnt". I sort of like that.
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Tue Feb 21, 2012 1:44 pm

I rechecked the Yankee-Rebel test and found the pronunciation "ain't" for "aunt" liested there.
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