new language law

RonButters at AOL.COM RonButters at AOL.COM
Wed Jun 16 16:16:04 UTC 1999

My newspaper this morning tells me that the State of Louisiana is about to
pass a law requiring students to address teachers as Mr., Miss, Ms, or Mrs.
(as appropriate), or to use sir or ma'am (as appropriate).

I guess the military has always had rules for address, but I still wonder if
the legislature intends to define appropriateness conditions for terms of
address. Will all teachers be required to study pragmatics?

The law is to be phased in, beginning with grade school and adding a year
each year. Apparently, current high-school students are a lost cause in the
eyes of the legislature: you have to learn the pragmatics of terms of address
early or not at all? This theory seems to be contradicted by the military's
rules for address, which are generally not acquired until after the age of 18.

My newspaper did not say what the criminal penalty would be for addressing a
teacher as, say, "Ralph" or "your holiness" or "Doc" or even "professor." Or
for omitting an "appropriate" term of address.

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