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Musing Upon Honorifics in our English Language Writing

 
JoHarrington
Posts: 1816
Message
on 02/06/2014

I'm pondering on whether you have any personal rules about when (or if) you translate honorifics, as you write your articles.

For example, if you were writing a Wizzle about the history of Wizzley, would you talk about Herr Thiemermann (ChefKeem), Gospodin Tolovaj (Tolovaj) and Mr Gamertsfelder (Fargy), based on their respective nationalities?  Or would they be Misters all the way?

I kind of just decide automatically, without any real thought as to what I choose when and where.  What looks right seems to be the biggest deciding factor for me.

But I started musing on it, while helping someone with English as a second language tidy up an article.  They'd opted for Mister de Beaumout, which I instantly switched to Monsieur de Beaumont, as the dude was French, born in France, lived in France and presumably died in France. (Dunno, haven't got to the end of the article yet...)

Technically the original author was right though.  If he's translating this into English, then Beaumont was 'mister' not 'monsieur'. 

How do you call it?

yours

Meth J. Harrington

(And why does my honorific in Welsh make me look like a drug dealer? *sigh*)

 


chefkeem
Admin
Posts: 3394
Message
on 02/06/2014

Why not use something that's understood in most languages? Such as 'old fart' Chef Keem ...


Achim "Chef Keem" Thiemermann is the co-founder of a pretty cool new platform called...um...er...oh, yeah - Wizzley.com.
KathleenDuffy
Posts: 162
Message
on 02/06/2014

Ha ha!  Love that!


Kathleen
JoHarrington
Posts: 1816
Message
on 02/06/2014

*dies*  That works!


Fargy
Posts: 16
Message
on 02/06/2014

Farty Fargy here.

Much less pretentious than Darth Grist.

I find the common folk like a common touch as the dark whisper of my touch withers them, soul and flesh.

Tolovaj
Posts: 156
Message
on 02/07/2014

I would say go with Mister in English unless you are dealing with a title which is known to your readers anyway. So: Madame Bovary, Herr Flick etc. would be acceptable.

In my case: Tolovaj (it is a name of company) without Mister, but if you want to use Slovene word for Mister, it is Gospod (Gospodin is in Croatian and Serbian). We used to be in the same state, but we don't have the same language.

On web I use the form which shows best results in kw tools:)


We love Fairy Tales
JoHarrington
Posts: 1816
Message
on 02/07/2014

This sparked a big conversation in my Skype call last night.  One friend does a lot of work translating books between English and Dutch.  He said that he would never leave the honorific in Dutch in an English work, but would leave the Monsieur in Monsieur de Beaumont.

We came to the conclusion (well, I did), that it all boiled down to how recognizable the honorific is in the rest of the word.  Outside the Netherlands, people are quite likely to have to look up 'Meneer' as the equivalent of 'Mister'.  But Monsieur, Senor and Herr are well known, even amongst monoglot English speakers.

Erk! Sorry about the Gospod/Gospodin.  I didn't look it up, but thinking about it, it was a Croat who originally told me that one. I shouldn't have just assumed that it was the word throughout the former Yugoslavia. -.-


JoHarrington
Posts: 1816
Message
on 02/07/2014

 

Fargy: 02/06/2014 - 08:46 PM

Farty Fargy here.

Much less pretentious than Darth Grist.

I find the common folk like a common touch as the dark whisper of my touch withers them, soul and flesh.

So this is your big request to be known as Darth Gamertsfelder?  I do have to warn you that I've been a Jedi Knight since 1977.  At least mentally I have, but that's exactly the same as using the Force.


Fargy
Posts: 16
Message
on 02/07/2014

Actually it's more like Darth Outcast.

I have managed to be blocked on Twitter by a squad of JMods recently.

I think my monomania unsettles them.

Mild teasing is how I think of it, but I'm aware I do have a disturbing focus.  Sad really, had a few good chats with some of them.

Honorifics are odd.  In the US my rellies are always very formal.  Sir etc.  And when their employees see them outside work, they get called Sir.  Even at a ball game.

Far too formal for my tastes.  And I think my lack of honorifics and other polite behaviours might be why I keep getting cast out by Jagex.

This will probably add a year or so to the whole dispute.

So my advice is get honorifics right and err on the side of generousity.

Or you may be Madam Non Grata.

JoHarrington
Posts: 1816
Message
on 02/07/2014

The whole ma'am thing in America really freaks me out.  I've got used to us now, but the first time I heard it, I thought I was being insulted! 

Gf Jagex.


Fargy
Posts: 16
Message
on 02/07/2014

I don't even know why I'm doing this stuff with Runescape.  It's like I'm on autopilot, I seem to have been given unlimited energy somehow.

Probably unresolved anger resolution issues.

I do have a life! :)

To help prove it here is me all dressed prior to winning another lawn bowl comp.

http://imgur.com/W3gK326

The unbroken compulsion regarding Runescape and its gambling and Jagex's cowardice using bans and silence, worries me slightly.  I know myself well enough to know that I just have to roll with it until the end.

Anyhow!  Here is a link to my scrapbook as I call it.

http://www.reddit.com/r/newscape/

One day I hope Jagex unbans us and I can change topic to how positive virtual worlds can be, especially in areas like education and learning.

I bid you good day, ma'am.

Y'all take care now!

 

lobobrandon
Posts: 534
Message
on 02/07/2014

I'd say if you're writing in a particular language, translate everything into that particular language. Mister would be appropriate. What if the person reading didn't know French and wondered what that meant? Of course, most people know Monsieur, just used it as an example. I had no clue about Meth though ;)


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dustytoes
Posts: 1140
Message
on 02/09/2014

I saw Meth J Harrington and wondered, "now what's this girl into?" Is that offensive, calling you a girl?  Sorry ma'am. Cool


JoHarrington
Posts: 1816
Message
on 02/09/2014

 

Dustytoes: 02/09/2014 - 08:50 AM

I saw Meth J Harrington and wondered, "now what's this girl into?" Is that offensive, calling you a girl?  Sorry ma'am. Cool

LOL  I'd be more worried about the 'ma'am'.  When I first heard that one - spoken by a very polite Texan boy - I thought he was calling me a prostitute!   (As in 'the madam of a brothel'.)   It took some swift intervention from his Trans-Atlantic fluent friend to correct things.

 


dustytoes
Posts: 1140
Message
on 02/09/2014

I don't like ma'am either.  But once you look too old to be a "miss" it seems to be the only alternative.  And it's in the eye of the beholder as to when that age is!


Fargy
Posts: 16
Message
on 02/09/2014

What do you think of Ms?

dustytoes
Posts: 1140
Message
on 02/10/2014

 

Fargy: 02/09/2014 - 03:34 PM

What do you think of Ms?

Like it, but don't hear many using it to address women.


Fargy
Posts: 16
Message
on 02/10/2014

I still struggle with the pronunciation and the comfort level of using Ms.

Mind you I'm very informal generally and usually avoid all honorifics.

JoHarrington
Posts: 1816
Message
on 02/10/2014

I quite like 'Ms'.  If it has to be anything, then that's the one for me.

It's pronounced  Muhzzzzz.  At least it is here.


Fargy
Posts: 16
Message
on 02/10/2014

I always have a background association of a mosquito pop into my head.

I'm not altogether sure why we have gender based honorifics.

It's not like we did anything special to obtain our gender.

 

Hmm.

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