Menu
Jump to content

What's with the ads?

Pegasus

Right or wrong? Calling out co-workers on language choices?

Recommended Posts

My English teacher taught me that "ladies and gentlemen" is not appropriate for an American audience or most other audiences, as those are specific titles in English aristocracy that don't apply to most of us.  So that doesn't work IMO.

(I do say things like "this lady ___" when I'm casually describing a situation, but not in a formal setting.)

I also would not call a group of people "guys" in a formal setting.  For example, if I was teaching at a professional seminar.  If I needed to use a collective term, I'd probably say something like "fellow ___s" or in a school setting, "students / scholars" or if not as an address but as a reference, "this group."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Tanaqui said:

I'd generally address a mixed group as "Everyone" as "Hey, everyone" or "Can everyone please look over here?" That doesn't sound stilted and formal. There *are* options.

Oh, good idea.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pondering the "everyone" address some more... it does not quite accomplish the same as "you guys", because its awkward in direct address because it sounds like a third person, not second. If I say to a group "is everyone finished" that's like talking about them, not to them - if that makes any sense.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, StellaM said:

The word I most loathe as a form of group address is 'folks' or 'folx'. Ugh. I can't stand that term. 

 

 

Folx is a word?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, StellaM said:

The word I most loathe as a form of group address is 'folks' or 'folx'. Ugh. I can't stand that term. 

 

LOL I use "folks" because it feels (to me) less obnoxious than most other group terms.  But I would not use it in a formal setting.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Rosie_0801 said:

 

Folx is a word?

 

I think the replacing endings with an x in general is just asinine.

  • Like 12

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Greta said:

 

I'm sure it isn't deliberately or consciously meant to be mean.  But it is.  If they were consistent about it (males and females) it would be one thing.  But in my experience, people aren't consistent about it at all (men and females).

Is the word woman considered "politicized"?  I'm not sure I understand that.

 

Oh, it's consistent.  I'm not sure why it was decided not to use "woman".  It's either men and females or males and females.  With these sorts of policy/training things, sometimes what seems an odd decision can be made because of something very specific or random - like someone on a committee had some sort of bee in the bonnet.  Once the decision is made in an organization like that, it takes on a life of its own and it's very difficult to change the practice - you have a generation of soldiers that do it that way, and all the new ones are trained by them or copy what they do or just get used to it.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Murphy101 said:

 

I think the replacing endings with an x in general is just asinine.

I can see a point to Latinx, but "folks" is already an all inclusive word. In folx, the x is expanding the inclusiveness to whom, exactly?
And womxn? It's not more inclusive if no one but the originator and her mates can guess how to pronounce it! I can't be bothered to be a womexn. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, StellaM said:

 

Sadly, yes. And that 'lx' just does my head in. I don't know what I would do if someone addressed me as 'folx'. Scream ? The day we're all folx I retreat to my hermitage and never speak to another human again.

Wow, that's an extreme reaction. Have you never had a waitress say, "How are you folks this evening? My name is . . . " ? Do people in your region never say, "Well folks, I'm going to call it a night"?

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ladies and Gentlemen has been the proper form of address for business or any other type of formal meeting for as long as I can remember. No matter what business I worked for.  

Folks to me is more rural form of address I guess and I’ve only used it for referring to parents most of the time.  

As far as the girls school eliminating girls from vocabulary, seems to me the only way to avoid offending students is to change to all inclusive school and no longer be a private school for girls.  If you identify as female or are female in any form, then aren’t you female?  And if you don’t identify as female, should you be going to an all girls school?  

 

 

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, StellaM said:

 

Sadly, yes. And that 'lx' just does my head in. I don't know what I would do if someone addressed me as 'folx'. Scream ? The day we're all folx I retreat to my hermitage and never speak to another human again.

“Folx” is kind of brilliant. Even with the usual spelling, “folks” is an inclusive word, avoiding the gender associations of “guys,” “dudes,” and other male-associated words. That “x” retains the traditional pronunciation but opens the tent wider. Zimman praised this word for “suggesting solidarity” and representing “the everyday people.” Society has a long way to go, but maybe someday we can all just be folx.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2017/05/09/womyn-wimmin-and-other-folx/vjhPn82ITGgCCbE12iNn1N/story.html

 

What the hecken.  Changing the k to x makes the tent wider to what? There's males.  There's females.  That's it with a rare exception for the humans who have neither or both, but even most of them usually identify as one or the other. Folks is not a male or female term, it's a collective neutral noun. Makes no sense at all to insist on changing to an x.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, LMD said:

 

Yep! I cannot picture a woman boss using that language with her team of mostly men. Come on boys, need those files! Can one of you boys bring some coffee to the conference room? Which one of you boys  can run this report up to finance?

 

Hmm, what if it's a different kind of work setting than an office.  Say, a female ranch manager to a bunch of cowboys?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, StellaM said:

No. Not in my neck of the woods.

In any case, my screaming will be saved for 'folx' not 'folks' :) I just really hate it.

Huh, interesting. Just out of curiosity, what do wait staff tend to say in your region.

And not to belabor the point, but how would you know if someone is saying "folx" vs "folks". Aren't they pronounced the same?

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've known a few people who think guys means just men.  I've always thought of it as being men or women and men, but it seems fairly common to think of it as male only, so I don't think it's a misunderstanding.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, StellaM said:

I think in the dim past - 1980's ? - I thought of it as a male term, but I'm pretty sure I haven't thought of it that way for a long time. As always, these things are going to differ by region. 

 

Yes, and also by other demographic differences too.  Age, ethnicity, class, etc.  Which I think is a good reason not to get too worked up about the words, the person you are talking to might have a background that is just so different from your own.  I'm not sure there is any way to have everyone speaking according to some common set of rules, and it shouldn't really be necessary.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

“Folx” is definitely a new word for me. I had no idea! And I live in a seriously small, rural, cow town in the south.... where the waitress calls you darling, the Dollar General manager calls you sweetie, and a group of grown women could easily be addressed as, “Hey girls”. If Im frustrated, I don’t even call my own child by his name, but call him “son”... yet I’ve never addressed my daughter that way, lol... so that’s really weird when I think about it. Even if I don’t like a 23 year old calling me sweetie (I’m 46) I know she’s genuinely just using common language for where we live. I’m sure I’ll be listening to conversations this week with a new set of ears :-)

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, regentrude said:

... and it's considered offensive by some to be used for mixed groups because they consider it a term referring to males only. Sigh. 

As others have pointed out, there is no female equivalent to "guys". The only way to correctly address a mixed group is "ladies and gentlement" which is stilted and too formal for many occasions. Unless you are in the South; then you can say "y'all" 

 

some people seem to live to be offended.  if it's not one thing it's another.

1 hour ago, nixpix5 said:

Good point about Hispanic vs Latino/Latina and Mexican. Where I was it was predominately Mexican. I do understand what you mean though my Japanese aunt much prefers being called Asian since she often is called Chinese or Korean. 

I still find both "chick" and "dude" to be widely innapropriate in a work environment even though I use dude freely at home. ;)

Someone should set up a spin off poll to see what people prefer to be called (girl, woman, chick, candidate, etc). I am intrigued at this point :)

 

after mistaking referring to an eastern european as russian .....I've learned to stick to regional descriptors unless I'm certain of the country of origin.   even then . .I was talking with a ukrainian and mentioned dh's neice (who is married to a ukranian - they live in europe) and her kids being trilingual.  (including russian. - german and english. she was cute when she was little.  she didn't know what language the person caring for her spoke  -so she'd go through all three.)  he bristled at the mention of russia.

we have a lot of different asian populations here - so I get it . . . .some wont' talk to each other.

1 hour ago, SKL said:

My English teacher taught me that "ladies and gentlemen" is not appropriate for an American audience or most other audiences, as those are specific titles in English aristocracy that don't apply to most of us.  So that doesn't work IMO.

(I do say things like "this lady ___" when I'm casually describing a situation, but not in a formal setting.)

I also would not call a group of people "guys" in a formal setting.  For example, if I was teaching at a professional seminar.  If I needed to use a collective term, I'd probably say something like "fellow ___s" or in a school setting, "students / scholars" or if not as an address but as a reference, "this group."

 

your english teacher was incorrect.  it has been proper to refer to non-aristocratic adult males and females in a social setting as ladies and gentlemen (and sometimes in an academic setting) for longer than we've been a country.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

as to "boys"..

 

I keep thinking of the scene in down periscope (or is it up periscope?) when Lauren Holly is telling "the boys" to pay attention to  what to do on their maneuvers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, gardenmom5 said:

as to "boys"..

 

I keep thinking of the scene in down periscope (or is it up periscope?) when Lauren Holly is telling "the boys" to pay attention to  what to do on their maneuvers.

 

It was used a lot about military men at one time, there is a lot of war-time usage of "our boys" and that sort of thing.  Though I think generally about the men rather than officers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Medicmom2.0 said:

 

I guess I’m wondering if it’s regional?  Because it doesn’t bother the people I know(or they wouldn’t be using it either), or myself.  If someone specifically said “I don’t like that,” I wouldn’t use it in regards to them.  But all the women I know use it as well when referencing people in their lives(“girls from work; I was talking to a girl from the gym; I’m going to lunch with a girl I know from church”—these are all examples I heard while out to dinner with female friends last night. The entire billing office at my job is 100% female and everyone, including themselves, calls them the “girls upstairs” or the “billing girls”, etc”), which leads me to believe that people I am using it in regards to have no problem with it.  I am now interested so I am going to ask, though.

for the record, I don’t hear “lady” unless it is referring to an older woman. 

It doesn’t bother me to be called a girl.  But I absolutely would not refer to someone that way who requested I don’t.

I’m sure it is partially regional, but no longer using “girl” for an adult woman is also a social movement that has picked up a good momentum now, at least in some regions. When I was working in a law firm in the 90s, “girl” was almost constantly used, except with someone elderly, in which case, “lady” was used. It did not bother me at the time, but I have come to dislike it in the past several years. I imagine it is not common in the law firms now, though probably a few of the older male lawyers still say “girl” when it should be “woman.” I changed my own speech habits as well. I reserve girl primarily for referring to pre-adolescent female children. For teens, I use “young lady/woman” or “teenager.” Women in their twenties I call “young women.” 

I correct my husband on this and my son if he says this. I also correct a lot of other terms DH uses that I don’t think are appropriate or useful ways of viewing other humans. (I.e., “trash” to refer to someone who is losing at the game of life. I correct him. I say, “No human being is trash. Please do not use that term.”) 

Just FTR, I do not think a woman saying she’s “going out with the girls” or having a “girl’s night out” is in the same category. For one thing, if I am grouping myself the same way, it does not conote the power imbalance that calling a woman whom one interviewed a “girl” does. 

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, unsinkable said:

Sorry, folx. Park's closed. The moose out front should have told ya.

 

Ya's.  :D

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
53 minutes ago, Rosie_0801 said:

I can see a point to Latinx, but "folks" is already an all inclusive word. In folx, the x is expanding the inclusiveness to whom, exactly?
And womxn? It's not more inclusive if no one but the originator and her mates can guess how to pronounce it! I can't be bothered to be a womexn. 


I have seen a whole lot of complaining about 'folx' (mostly on Reddit) but I haven't actually met a person who prefers to use that term. I think it's a bit of a straw man.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, marbel said:

I agree with this.

I've told this story here before - years ago I had a male coworker who called all the women "Babe."  He was from Mississippi, I think, and "Babe" was just his default for everyone, regardless of age, place in the company hierarchy, race, ethnicity, etc. He was a sales rep and I worked in sales support - so, was a minion among several other minions, all female. He was such a kind, respectful man who treated me (and others in the group) like part of the team, not underlings. When he won sales awards he was always ready to thank (usually with public words and a gift) all the people who'd helped him achieve his goals. Plenty of other reps (including the sole female at that time; it was a male-dominated industry) knew all the right words to say but treated the support staff like crap.  

Of course this was 30+  years ago and language was probably not as big a deal then as it is now.  I imagine today a guy would say "Babe" once and would be hauled in to a visit with HR to change his ways. 

Ha! Yeah, I actually never liked Babe or Baby, even when I was in my teens and it was a cute guy saying it to me! When I first met DH, he called me Baby a couple of times and I said, “Please do not call me Baby or Babe! I really hate it and it reminds me of someone who has so many lovers he can’t keep their names straight, so he just calls them all Babe!” :) He doesn’t ever call me that. But his brother calls his wife Babe and she says it to him all the time, too. It burns my ears, lol! 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, SparklyUnicorn said:

Exactly

And women call each other guys. 

 

 

I've been called out for calling a woman a guy but where I'm from "guys" is used for both genders as in , "Hey, you guys. " But, it got me in trouble. Women are not guys as the person explained to me quite assertively. So whatever you do, don't call a girl a guy.

 

In some parts of the country saying "Ma'am" is an attempt to show respect. My boys are taught to say Sir and Ma'am in their martial arts class. In other parts of the country, it's an insult.

 

  I think communication is a two way street. A friendly reminder of what's expected locally or in a certain office would probably be appreciated especially if the person is newer or doesn't seem to know. A calling out insinuates a reprimand meant to embaress. But then again, you might not have meant that kind of calling out.

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, StellaM said:

 

I have no insight into the mysterious ways of wokeness.

 

 

I don’t think this is wokeness. 

Wackiness maybe. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And now I see I somehow missed a whole page of conversation and look nuts because you already had a conversation about Ma'am and Sir.  Sorry about that. 

Question for those on the East Coast or others who hate Ma'am and Sir.  How do you respectfully respond to someone (especially if you don't know their name or address as in Mrs. or Miss)?  For example, I might follow someone to give them something they dropped I might holler, "Excuse me Ma'am."  Or when responding to someone in authority I might say "Yes, Ma'am or Yes, Sir" It doesn't sound the same to just say a flat yes. It is irksome to me for some reason.  I don't want to shout out, "Hey You". That sounds rude. I would prefer something respectful.  So what do you say in place of that so I can speak your language if I visit. :) 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just for the record, in my world, “tranny” means 

 

 

transmission. 

 

As is..” I just need to drop the tranny and pull the CV axel, then I can replace the seal and that should stop the leak.”

 

  • Like 10
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, marbel said:

 

Where I live, "lady" is not used unless talking about someone elderly; "gal" is never used or it's used in a mocking way.  The last time I used it (in a casual conversation) the person gaped at me and asked if I'd been watching "Hee Haw" lately.  "Girl" would be the better option among these choices.

But this probably falls under regional language norms.

 

Didn't read the whole thread yet, but this reminded me of when I got chewed out by a salesclerk once in a grocery store.  He bagged my groceries and I said "thank you, sir" and I was told in no uncertain terms that it's insulting bc he is not old, and he doesn't need to be called that.  I seriously just rolled my eyes.  As much as I could. 

 

 

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
41 minutes ago, frogger said:

And now I see I somehow missed a whole page of conversation and look nuts because you already had a conversation about Ma'am and Sir.  Sorry about that. 

Question for those on the East Coast or others who hate Ma'am and Sir.  How do you respectfully respond to someone (especially if you don't know their name or address as in Mrs. or Miss)?  For example, I might follow someone to give them something they dropped I might holler, "Excuse me Ma'am."  Or when responding to someone in authority I might say "Yes, Ma'am or Yes, Sir" It doesn't sound the same to just say a flat yes. It is irksome to me for some reason.  I don't want to shout out, "Hey You". That sounds rude. I would prefer something respectful.  So what do you say in place of that so I can speak your language if I visit. :) 

 

 

 

Well, I can tell you that after reading this thread I am not calling anyone anything anymore.  It seems that every greeting is loathed by someone.  Whatever.  Life is too short.

I used to call men "sir" and women "ladies".  I guess it's too "old" for many

Girls and boys is too young and disrespectful.  "miss" is too young and "ma'am" is too old as well.

"Guys" - is not the right representation

"Everyone"  is awkward.

 

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can say "you guys" to my female, male, and mixed friends.  But "guy" in the singular always means male.

And there is no comparable term for the female version of "guy."

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Bluegoat said:

 

Hmm, what if it's a different kind of work setting than an office.  Say, a female ranch manager to a bunch of cowboys?

 

Well I went with office because that seemed to be the scene of the OP.

I have no idea about cowboys. For reference, our male builder called his team of male sub contractors 'guys'. I, as site manager, also used 'guys' or first name. When the team included female builders (Yes, we did have that) it was still just first name or guys, but Australia is a pretty casual culture and guys is generally acceptable for any and every situation.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, SereneHome said:

 

Well, I can tell you that after reading this thread I am not calling anyone anything anymore.  It seems that every greeting is loathed by someone.  Whatever.  Life is too short.

I used to call men "sir" and women "ladies".  I guess it's too "old" for many

Girls and boys is too young and disrespectful.  "miss" is too young and "ma'am" is too old as well.

"Guys" - is not the right representation

"Everyone"  is awkward.

 

I think you've nailed it.

The solution is . . . don't talk to anyone. Ever.

Problem solved. ;)

I'm quite thankful to have reached an age where when I say the "wrong" thing most people give me a pass due to my age. Fine by me. I can avoid all the silly tediousness of learning the ever changing "right" language and  (usually) be forgiven for it. There ARE benefits to getting old. ;)

  • Like 5
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Admittedly, I only read the first few pages b/c I'm short on play time today!

1.)  I'd worry that that email, phrased that way, would negatively impact my standing.

2.)  The use of the word "girls" (or gals, or similar) isn't negative in and of itself, but the context has meaning.  "Girls Night Out", my girls, hey girl, etc.  are terms of endearment.  I've heard "Boys Night Out", and my stepdad has his "boys club".  Also terms of endearment.  My mother calls her 3 grown daughters "girls", and I expect I'll always do the same. There's nothing wrong with using terms of endearment with those to whom you're endeared.  A professional woman, virtually a stranger, being interviewed? Hard no!

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, gardenmom5 said:

after mistaking referring to an eastern european as russian .....I've learned to stick to regional descriptors unless I'm certain of the country of origin.   even then . .I was talking with a ukrainian and mentioned dh's neice (who is married to a ukranian - they live in europe) and her kids being trilingual.  (including russian. - german and english. she was cute when she was little.  she didn't know what language the person caring for her spoke  -so she'd go through all three.)  he bristled at the mention of russia.

Of course he would! Does that surprise you? For decades, Russia has been the oppressor. The Bolsheviks annexed the Ukraine and made it part of the Soviet union, Stalin systematically starved the population, Russian became mandatory language - and recently the Russian backed forces are leading a war in the Ukraine. 

This goes far beyond mistaking people from related countries for each other, because there is a huge power differential, and Russia systematically worked to erase the cultural identity of Ukrainians.

 

  • Like 10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, frogger said:

And now I see I somehow missed a whole page of conversation and look nuts because you already had a conversation about Ma'am and Sir.  Sorry about that. 

Question for those on the East Coast or others who hate Ma'am and Sir.  How do you respectfully respond to someone (especially if you don't know their name or address as in Mrs. or Miss)?  For example, I might follow someone to give them something they dropped I might holler, "Excuse me Ma'am."  Or when responding to someone in authority I might say "Yes, Ma'am or Yes, Sir" It doesn't sound the same to just say a flat yes. It is irksome to me for some reason.  I don't want to shout out, "Hey You". That sounds rude. I would prefer something respectful.  So what do you say in place of that so I can speak your language if I visit. :) 

 

 

 

I had to think about this.    I think I say "Excuse me!" and everyone turns their head to see if they are "me".

I absolutely use "ma'am" and "sir" when addressing people who elderly.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, StellaM said:

 

We're discussing the term 'girl'. Discussing the banning of the word 'girl' to refer to...actual girls, not women... is topic-related. 

This board likes and dislikes a wide variety of things. You - and anyone else  - are free to jump up and down with joy about the fact that the word 'girls' has been banned in a girls school. Knock yourself out, folx.

 

Nope, not jumping for you. I am a proud Girl Scout leader.   I googled the topic and it appears there are dozens and dozens of places that share your absolute disgust and scorn at this one  "moonbatty" school that doesn't use the word girl.... it's obviously not a popular or accelerating trend. So, probably safe to simmer down with the outrage a bit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess we'll have to go back to 'all y'all' when referring to the group. Its informal, friendly, and inclusive of all gender constructs.

  • Like 6
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Pawz4me said:

I think you've nailed it.

The solution is . . . don't talk to anyone. Ever.

Problem solved. ;)

I'm quite thankful to have reached an age where when I say the "wrong" thing most people give me a pass due to my age. Fine by me. I can avoid all the silly tediousness of learning the ever changing "right" language and  (usually) be forgiven for it. There ARE benefits to getting old. ;)

No way.  Haven't you seen all the posts on here about "why won't she speak to me"?  It is definitely offensive to not talk.

It comes down to - choose your offense. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, regentrude said:

Of course he would! Does that surprise you? For decades, Russia has been the oppressor. The Bolsheviks annexed the Ukraine and made it part of the Soviet union, Stalin systematically starved the population, Russian became mandatory language - and recently the Russian backed forces are leading a war in the Ukraine. 

This goes far beyond mistaking people from related countries for each other, because there is a huge power differential, and Russia systematically worked to erase the cultural identity of Ukrainians.

 

Which is even more difficult in a world where it's offensive to ask the country of origin.

Interestingly though, Ukraine being a big country whose history is not exactly the same from border to border, there are parts of Ukraine where the people support Russia.  The stories people tell about their own country are contradictory.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use "y'all" and "all  y'all" frequently.  It is not super common here in the Philly suburbs, but it's not unheard of and everyone knows what it means.  It's a very useful term.  And sounds classier than "youse." 

(I laugh at my southern-transplant relatives (So Cal to GA) who claim that they can legitimately use "y'all" now that they live in the south.  Um, no, people all over use it.)

Here is something I came across this morning:  Atlas Obscura: Y’all, You’uns, Yinz, Youse: How Regional Dialects Are Fixing Standard English.  (I can't comment on its accuracy.)

Which brings us to the most popular and worst plural form: “you guys.” This solution has so, so many faults. For one thing, it’s gendered; taken by itself, “guy” refers to males, and it’s both inexact and distinctly sexist to use that word to apply to a group of people of any gender. It’s also just kind of awkward, the most transparently stapled-together solution to the second-person plural problem we have. “You, uh…guys. All the guys.” It’s informal in a way that feels, in many situations, entirely too casual. (The word “guy” in English seems to originate from the Gunpowder Plot, a failed assassination attempt, and one of its plotters, Guy Fawkes. Eventually, in England, “guy” came to refer to the effigies burned in remembrance on Guy Fawkes Night, and eventually to any male.)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've taught my kids to say yes/no ma'am/sir to most all adults. I'm baffled that this could somehow be offensive. It's just polite-ness...in the same vein as saying please and thank you.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, regentrude said:

Of course he would! Does that surprise you? For decades, Russia has been the oppressor. The Bolsheviks annexed the Ukraine and made it part of the Soviet union, Stalin systematically starved the population, Russian became mandatory language - and recently the Russian backed forces are leading a war in the Ukraine. 

This goes far beyond mistaking people from related countries for each other, because there is a huge power differential, and Russia systematically worked to erase the cultural identity of Ukrainians.

 

 

Well, I grew up in Ukraine but I am neither Ukrainian nor Russian, which people don't really understand.  But if I got upset every time someone made a wrong assumption about my accent, where I am from, what nationality I am, what religion I am, what languages I speak or what to call me - oh lordy lord, I would be upset 100% of my life.

I understand that when it comes to corporate American you have to be extra careful.  But in everyday life why not give people benefit of the doubt that their questions and salutations do not mean anything insulting or malicious 

It reminds me of a debate every year on another message board I frequent - getting offended over Merry Christmas wishes.  Seriously!  I wish all this were my biggest problems in life!

 

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, EmseB said:

I've taught my kids to say yes/no ma'am/sir to most all adults. I'm baffled that this could somehow be offensive. It's just polite-ness...in the same vein as saying please and thank you.

Oh, come on.

You aren’t so sheltered that you don’t yet know that “polite-ness” varies by location and subculture. There’s no reason to be baffled. It’s just an interesting variation on a known phenomenon.

In your location my children’s complete unawareness of any conversational role for ‘sir’ (and quite possibly an unawareness of the definition of the word ‘ma’am’) would render them very rude — in spite of having no rude intentions.

In my area, your children would sound quaint — and possibly garner sympathy (because they would appear to being raised in a very strict household). As teens (unless they had accents or were known to be from elsewhere) they could be read as snarky — particularly by authority figures.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, regentrude said:

Of course he would! Does that surprise you? For decades, Russia has been the oppressor. The Bolsheviks annexed the Ukraine and made it part of the Soviet union, Stalin systematically starved the population, Russian became mandatory language - and recently the Russian backed forces are leading a war in the Ukraine. 

This goes far beyond mistaking people from related countries for each other, because there is a huge power differential, and Russia systematically worked to erase the cultural identity of Ukrainians.

 

i wasn't talking about the country of russia.  but the language.

dh's niece's husband is ukranian (they live in germany).  I was speaking with a ukrainian - about ukraine. dh'sndh is from the ukraine.  his family live there still.  the part of ukraine that speaks russian.     so yeah, from that standpoint the guy was bristling that niece's dh was from the "wrong part" of ukraine.   (the russian speaking part.)  even though it's the same country.

 

it would be akin to someone from the north bristling that someone was from the deep south here in the US.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, bolt. said:

Oh, come on.

You aren’t so sheltered that you don’t yet know that “polite-ness” varies by location and subculture. There’s no reason to be baffled. It’s just an interesting variation on a known phenomenon.

In your location my children’s complete unawareness of any conversational role for ‘sir’ (and quite possibly an unawareness of the definition of the word ‘ma’am’) would render them very rude — in spite of having no rude intentions.

In my area, your children would sound quaint — and possibly garner sympathy (because they would appear to being raised in a very strict household). As teens (unless they had accents or were known to be from elsewhere) they could be read as snarky — particularly by authority figures.

 

I would say that it's on the adults to not take offense to kids' accidental conversational missteps. But it seems common that children are held accountable for not offending the adults in their lives. 

Our area is not an area where people use sir or ma'am, other than in a getting their attention sense--excuse me, sir, you dropped your hat--but I never thought of it as rude. But now I wonder if part of the reason my former neighbors who moved here from the deep south had such problems with the school system is that their kids were misread as rude when they were being polite. I had assumed that the problems they described were due to racism and bias against the mom who had trouble code-switching between AAVE and standard English. It was probably a combination of all of it. sigh. They ended up moving back down south, and a big part of the reason was the trouble with the schools. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, mellifera33 said:

 

I would say that it's on the adults to not take offense to kids' accidental conversational missteps. But it seems common that children are held accountable for not offending the adults in their lives. 

<snip>

 

I agree with this.

I have a hard time believing that most people in the US are not aware that people from "other places" might have different standards for language. I've always used sir/ma'am and have never had a problem with it. If anyone was offended by it, they never showed it.  If I was offended by it, I wouldn't show it either, because I know people move, not everyone is "from around here" and things may be different in other places. 

Do people not get that?  I'm talking about the US specifically, which is (mostly) a place of pretty high mobility.  Though my own neighborhood is pretty static - many people live in the house they grew up in, or even the house their mom or dad grew up in, and many families are quite entrenched here - people understand that not everyone has lived here forever. (Though I think they understand people moving into the area better than people moving out - I mean, what better place is there to live than Philly and why would you ever move away?  :rolleyes: )

FWIW I've lived in 4 places:  western NY; silicon valley CA; Portland, OR; suburbs of Philly.  My early childhood was in WNY which is probably where I picked up sir/ma'am. 

ETA: I'm not scolding you, Mellifera33.  Or anyone, really. Just seemed like it might have sounded that way. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, LMD said:

 

Well I went with office because that seemed to be the scene of the OP.

I have no idea about cowboys. For reference, our male builder called his team of male sub contractors 'guys'. I, as site manager, also used 'guys' or first name. When the team included female builders (Yes, we did have that) it was still just first name or guys, but Australia is a pretty casual culture and guys is generally acceptable for any and every situation.

 

I think though if we're making generalizations or guesses or statements about what is acceptable and especially why, we can't look at just one kind of workplace.

What strikes me is what a few others here have mentioned - if you look at a more working class sort of scenario - the secretarial pool, the factory floor, a ranch - it's much more common to see people use "guys" "boys" and "girls" about themselves and their peers. 

In general, I am not big on defending people against they things they use themselves.  

But what I think is that maybe the women in more professional workplaces, or those who are coming out of university environments, who don't like girls don't really resist it just because of misogynistic overtones.  It is about sex in the sense that often those same workplaces don't use "boy" or the equivalent.  But the underlying reason those environments don't use guy or by and girl is because they are seen as working class and less professional.  I don't think people are necessarily even aware of that perception, but I'd say it is why the idea of not calling someone with a graduate degree "girl" seems to be a sensible argument to some.  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...