Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Aimless Blatherings

Ok, so I'm posting more now that I'm on hiatus. That makes sense, doesn't it?

I've noticed incoming referrals on four forums! If anyone is here from Westeros, EN World Hatrack River or Authornomy, welcome! Normally, I'd be creating logins at this point to find out what's being said about me or this site, but I'm just not feeling that narcissistic today. I have a feeling they're saying good things. If they were saying awful things, the number of visits would be a lot higher.

Social Titles in Reviews

Some of you may have noticed that I've started using social titles in reviews. I'm not sure why I started doing that, other than that I've gotten older and fussier. It could be because I live in a part of the country where the use of social titles do persist--at least to an extent. Hereabouts, I am known as "Miss Tia" among the Under 18 Crowd.

As I've gotten older, I've gotten fonder of the notion of social titles, and I think it's a shame that they have largely gone away. Part of it, I think, is the backlash against Ms., which appears to be universally hated. Ms. does have a purpose, however. Before Ms. came along, there was no default title for females whose marital status is unknown or irrelevant. Here in the South, we pronounce Ms. as Miss, not Miz. I can live with Ms. as long as I don't have to say Miz.

There's something about the use of social titles that conveys respect. My doctor unfailingly calls Mrs. Nevitt, which I appreciate because it conveys mutual respect. After all, I refer to him as Dr. Blank (not his real name). When I use Mr. or Ms. in my reviews, it helps me remain respectful toward the author.

The Effect of Non-Native English Readers on My Writing

I've noticed that I'm using fewer colloquialisms now that I have a number of known readers from Europe. For example, in the above, I almost wrote "Dr. So-and-So". I decided that would be too confusing. I also originally said "the Under 18 Set", but I thought my meaning would be lost.

Thanks, guys, for helping me write clearer!

11 comments:

A. Grey said...

Just wanted to say that as a girl raised in the south, I love, and miss social titles. Providing that Ms. is pronounced Miss, I find it nice to be addressed as such. It puts a face on people to address them with a certain title, as it indicates that you actually looked at them and noted something about them. When I travel anywhere people don't bother with social titles, I feel like I might as well not be there, I'm just another faceless body passing by.

Tia Nevitt said...

I spent fifteen years in Arizona before returning to the south, and yes, things are different here. Back west, kids commonly called adults by their first names. Here, they default to Mr/Miss First Name.

Good point about forcing people to actually look at each other!

I spent a few weeks in India, where I was called "Madam". Now that took some getting used to!

ediFanoB said...

So I'm one of your readers from Europe.
For me it is always interesting to read postings from people of other countries.

The use of colloquialisms is always a challenge for me. And the use of British English and American English is one more challenge.
Fortunately there are a lot of good online dictionaries available. And
One of my favorite dictionaries is Urban Dictionary And to my amusement the word of the day is NONVERSATION which means: "A completely worthless conversation, wherein nothing is illuminated, explained or otherwise elaborated upon. Typically occurs at parties, bars or other events where meaningful conversation is nearly impossible."

And in case I don't understand I ask back.

When I read Social Titles I wasn't really sure what you are talking about. When we use Frau = Miss or Herr = Mister in Germany it has a strong formal touch. It automatically establish a frontier between people.
So I'm not happy when people use Herr or Mister when they talk to me.

For me it would be odd to write a comment to Miss Tia. That would be like letter to the editor. I fell more familiar without using any title.

But I accept different behavior in different countries.

Tia Nevitt said...

edi, I don't expect or want you to use socal titles with me. I prefer it when talking to children, because it is a sign of respect. And when I talk to my doctor, I don't necessarily want him to call me Tia, even though I think he's a great doctor and I like him immensely. I appreciate the formal touch in that setting because it establishes mutual respect.

My daughter's teacher calls me Mrs. Nevitt, which makes me feel odd, but I'm ok with it because it is a respectful way to address me. I don't feel comfortable going on a first name basis with her because she obviously prefers to call me Mrs. However, with Vicky's previous teachers, we have used first names with no problem. It is just a personality difference.

When I use socal titles in my reviews, I'm attempting to keep a bit of formal respect. If I were to email one of these authors, the social titles would vanish immediately.

Tia Nevitt said...

Oh, and I never heard of a nonversation! So take those "definitions" with a "grain of salt" (another one for you to look up, but you probably know it already).

Raven said...

I've never heard of a "nonversation" before either, but I love it!

Re: the use of social titles, I'm one of those people who doesn't use them, but I can appreciate the added respect they convey. I hadn't thought of using them in reviews. Maybe I'll try them out in an upcoming one, although I don't promise they'll make it to the screen.

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin said...

Social titles get... complicated here in Hawai'i. Among kids, I'm more likely to be "Auntie Anne" than "Miss Baldwin." The latter is used mainly by older people and professionals who expect similar titles from me. {Smile}

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

Tia Nevitt said...

I'm half Irish, and I don't know if it has anything to do with this, but I was taught to call all adult cousins as "Aunt" or "Uncle". No adult went without a title. I do think "Uncle Frank" sounds less pompous than "Cousin Frank".

To this day, I call those cousins Aunt and Uncle. And I'm over 40! It's just ingrained in me, now. I told them it was an affectionate title, and they're good with that.

ediFanoB said...

"Madame" Tia :>) (hope you understand),

now I think I got your point. Anyway I think it's good to get to know how social titles are used in other countries. Blogs are a great source to learn a lot of different things.

I love words like nonversation and URBAN DICTIONARY is a great source.

And one more for all users of facebook........:
FACEBOOKEMON =
"The term used for the collection of people, on your Facebook friends list, that you don’t actually talk to or know in real life. Related to popular tv program and game pokeamon, where the aim is to collect as many diffrent Pocket Monsters as possible."

A grain of salt or as latin people say cum grano salis is not unknown to me. To be honest I just know a few latin phrases.

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin,A. Grey and Raven I read your postings with great interest.

wend said...

Tia - Must be a British thing ... I call my adult cousins Aunt and Uncle too ... and likewise, I'm fortysomething. I'd feel weird and disrespectful calling them anything else.

I'm all for titles as a mark of respect in a professional environment. But, I must say I felt ancient the first time a little girl called me 'the Lady' *grins*. And, Madam is so formal ... unless it's in French - love the accent!

ediFanoB - I'm liking that non-word 'Nonversation'. I go through daily fits of babble but 'nonversation' sounds better.

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin said...

In Hawai'i, calling someone aunt, uncle, grandma, grandpa, or whatever is a better indication of relative age than where they'd be on the family tree. {Smile}

Often they'd be on entirely different family trees anyway. For instance, I'm "Auntie Anne" to the children of a few of my high school classmates. {SMILE}

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin