"Miss" vs. "Ma'am"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Tue Oct 29 01:50:39 UTC 2013

At 10/28/2013 09:11 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>On 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).
> >
> > BT
>True, but as remarked earlier in the thread, "Ms." is unlikely as a
>term of address as opposed to a title (followed by a last
>name).  And the same is typically (though not invariably) true for
>"Mrs."  So I think if one is addressed as /mIz/ or /mIs/ without a
>last name (or first name, in the old Southern style), I would wager
>it's "Miss" the speaker is uttering.  And as various sociolinguistic
>papers have demonstrated, the northern counterpart of "Ma'am" is
>often "Hon" or "Dear" (as discussed in Nessa Wolfson's paper "Don't Dear Me").

Is that true also in New England  -- one of the northern parts, if
not a counterpart -- where particular ties to England still exist?  :-)


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