Tuesday, February 16, 2016

New form of address

I've seen and heard students refer to me and other professors in a variety of ways, but this is a new one (in an online posting referring to a third party; they're investigating the work of researchers in their department): "Dr. Mrs. Jones." 

English is probably the student's second language, but I'm pretty sure hir first language is not German. 

Of course, it beats many of the alternatives. 

Cassandra

15 comments:

  1. At my graduate institution, we had several married couple professors and would have to refer to them as "Mrs. Dr. Jones" or "Mr. Dr. Jones" to establish which Dr. Jones we meant, but I suspect that's a different circumstance.

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    1. The math department here has a married couple who share both their last name and their first initials, which is a problem because schedules and similar document always put them both down as "J. Doe" and the students never know what to do with that.

      I haven't heard the dual-title approach yet, but I suspect that some students would glom onto it with relief.

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  2. Alright, this is ridiculous. I'm sick and tired of the uber-privileged academia being granted special allowances. If THEY get two addresses, so do they rest of us!

    From now on I demand to be called Mister Lieutenant Conan the Grammarian.

    Seriously, though, that's ridiculous.

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    1. It only sounds ridiculous to you because it's not normal in English. Some languages, such as Romance languages, use exactly this structure, further complicated by the fact that nouns and articles are different depending on gender. For instance, in French, "Lieutenant" is "lieutenant" for men and "lieutenante" for women. You would be Monsieur le Lieutenant Conan le Grammairien. A woman would be Madame la Lieutenante Conan la Grammairiène (ok, her first name probably wouldn't be Conan). In French, Conan may also sound a little like "connard" (not that much but enough to make jokes) and even more like "con âne" (stupid donkey).

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    2. Go away Monica.

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    3. Conan le Connard would actually sound funny in French. That's the kind of joking I was talking about.

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    4. Mon français est très peu, mais je propose "Conan le Canard" à la place; nous semblons avoir un faible pour les canards ici.

      << Monsieur le Procureur Ogre Hep. >> Ç'est bon! J'aime ça!

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  3. I've seen that form of address before. I'm reading Mark Twain's autobiography and some of his letters have "Mr. Dr. X" or "Mr. Dr. Twain" (Twain had an honorary doctorate) as the address. I figured it was an old way of addressing that eventually died off.

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    1. I've seen that, too, but the difference is that the man was the holder of the doctorate (honorary or otherwise). It's the equivalent of "Mrs. John Smith," but w/ extra titles.

      In this case, Dr./Mrs. Smith is an active researcher/professor, and so almost certainly holds a doctorate herself, whether or not her husband -- or, I suppose, wife -- also does, or is in the same department (I hadn't considered that possibility Snarky, since, although my department has quite a few married couples in it, they all use their last names of birth. It could be an explanation.)

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  4. Is this a case of "Dr." for a professor and "Dr. Mrs." for female faculty?

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  5. One of my graduate student refers to me, and occasionally addresses me, as "Dr. Uncle Smith." When I asked her what that meant she told me I was the faculty equivalent of the weird uncle every family has. She told me it was a compliment and I now proudly own the title.

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  6. My adviser's wife was also a Ph.D. so I called her "Dr. Mrs. Smith." I thought saying "Mrs. Dr. Smith" sounded like the way people referred to women by their husband's names. (Mrs. Bob Jones) Just calling them both "Dr. Smith" was confusing, and "Mrs. Smith" dropped the "Dr." she had earned. She seemed to like it.

    it's now much later so I call them by their first names.

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  7. No Longer a StudentFebruary 17, 2016 at 8:09 PM

    In German, one calls the wife of a Dr. who is herself a Dr. Dr. Frau Dr. So-and-So, preserving both their doctorates!

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  8. New theory: English-speaking US college students are all inchoate German speakers. Mine really like to capitalize random Nouns.

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    1. I could contribute some additional evidence to support that hypothesis (limited only by the fact that my students include a fair proportion of L2 learners).

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