"Miss" vs. "Ma'am"

Spanbock/Svoboda-Spanbock spanbocks at VERIZON.NET
Mon Oct 28 13:27:43 UTC 2013

Yes - it isn't preceding my name.

On Oct 28, 2013, at 5:43 AM, David A. Daniel wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "David A. Daniel" <dad at POKERWIZ.COM>
> Subject:      Re: "Miss" vs. "Ma'am"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> This is probably a stupid question: Are you sure you're not hearing a
> voiceless version of Ms (miss rather than mizz)?
> Poster:       Amy West <medievalist at W-STS.COM>
> Subject:      Re: "Miss" vs. "Ma'am"
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> ---
> I go to a butcher shop here in Worcester run by an Irish immigrant and
> his Irish-American wife. The butcher and the teen male assistants will
> address female customers as "Miss," including myself who is like you,
> married and middle-aged. They'll address male customers as "Sir." (I
> don't recall the wife using "Miss" to address me: I'll have to pay more
> attention. If she's not, I'm not sure if it's because of being American
> or because we are in the same peer group.) I have taken this as a
> "quaintness" affectation, if you will, as they will do things like carry
> your parcel out to your car for you.
> The choice to use "Miss" as opposed to "Ma'am" makes sense to me given
> the stereotype of women being more concerned about their age than men,
> and that erring on the side of using the term more associated with youth
> is less likely to offend more people.
> ---Amy West
>> From:    Spanbock/Svoboda-Spanbock<spanbocks at VERIZON.NET>
>> Subject: "Miss" vs. "Ma'am"
>> As a woman who is married and entering middle age, I have been a little =
>> put off recently by the fact that every clerk and server in town seems =
>> to have gotten a memorandum that women should be called "Miss" instead =
>> of "Ma'am." My supposition is that there may be more unmarried women =
>> around than there used to, but, I doubt that people are really trying to =
>> comment on my marital status. My guess is that it is an anti-sexist =
>> reaction to the former presumption that a woman who was no longer =
>> particularly young was likely to be married and therefore to be =
>> addressed as "Ma'am" - or, I guess it could be just polite ageism.
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list