"Miss" vs. "Ma'am"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Mon Oct 28 16:47:45 UTC 2013

At 10/28/2013 10:29 AM, W Brewer wrote:
>RE: <Miss> vs. <Ma'am> as modes of direct address.  I tend to agree with
>Wikipedia s.v. Madam: <<In speaking, Madam is used in direct address when
>the lady's name is not known; . . . In the United States and in
>English-speaking Canada, "ma'am" is usually used, except in regions such as
>New England where particular ties to England still exist. Even then,
>"madam" tends to only be used when addressing the elderly, with "ma'am"
>being used for a younger woman.

Ot queens.

>The male equivalent is "sir".>>
>In my Berkeley days 1972-4, <miss> was tabu in any mode of address. At UCLA
>1974-84 (just down the road from Hollywood), I could only hear aging
>actresses (oops! mature female actors) addressed as Miss [stage name].

Including drama queens.


>Titles are a somewhat different kettle of fish (or can of worms, actually),
>but, the older my female classmates became, the more like their mothers
>they have become, not minding at all being called Mrs. [husband's surname,
>or some quasi-hyphenated hybrid therefrom]. The baby boomers who led the
>cultural revolution just grew up to talk like . . . we do.
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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