"Miss" vs. "Ma'am"

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Mon Oct 28 21:32:20 UTC 2013

On Mon, Oct 28, 2013 at 5:06 PM, Benjamin Torbert wrote:
> I'd like to make the point Dennis Preston made at a conference when Janet
> Fuller was giving the "Ms" paper in that form.
> Where I come from, Mrs, Miss, and Ms, are all homophonous as "miz."  That's
> the Indiana side of Louisville in Preston's case, (I think), and NW Georgia
> in mine (I know).

"The abbreviation 'Ms' is simple, it is easy to write, and the person
concerned can translate it properly according to circumstances. For
oral use it might be rendered as 'Mizz,' which would be a close
parallel to the practice long universal in many bucolic regions, where
a slurred Mis' does duty for Miss and Mrs alike." --Springfield
(Mass.) Republican, Nov. 10, 1901


Ben Zimmer

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

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