Sir and ma'am

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by lucybelle, May 6, 2014.

  1. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    May 9, 2014

    Same here. You really have to figure out if it's common in the area before you start going crazy with it. Where I live it would just be annoying. I'd rather just say Mrs. so and so. There are probably some who would laugh if they heard it.
     
  2. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    May 9, 2014

    Better "sir" and "ma'am" than "you guys." I cringe inwardly, and sometimes outwardly, when a server addresses a table of people, especially older people, as "you guys." "You folks" maybe, but I tend to tip, respect, and connect with people who have good manners more than with people who don't show respect or whose vocabularies are so small they just don't have the words. I don't think this is a regional or geographic thing; I think it's individual upbringing. Yes, people can be polite without using these specific words, but good manners are much easier WITH vocabulary than without it.
     
  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    May 9, 2014

    Where I come from, "you guys" is definitely not impolite. Informal, perhaps (and even that's debatable), but not impolite or ill-mannered. I recognize that this probably isn't universally true and that some places might view the phrase as impolite.
     
  4. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    May 9, 2014

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't view "you guys" as impolite. :2cents:
     
  5. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    May 9, 2014

    Nor do I, YTG and Caesar: "you guys" has been in use in Southern California, and not impolite to my knowledge, at least since the 1960s. (A professor at UCLA whose native dialect would have included the Briticism "you lot" had acquired "you guys" as second-person-plural-of-address-not-gender-specific, though his accent remained irremediably Britannic, by the mid-1970s. To be sure, he was probably likelier to use it with his grad students than with his fellow professors - but, if so, that was likelier to be a concession to the prickly sensibilities of one of the other professors than to him feeling it impolite.)
     
  6. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    May 9, 2014

    Same here. I use that phrase multiple times a day. When I was a waitress I almost always greeted a table with "How are you guys doing tonight?"
     
  7. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    May 9, 2014

    You guys is standard here too. I use it all the time.
     
  8. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    May 9, 2014

    I am from California and it isn't something I was raised with. Having said that, for some reason I do use with my students.
     
  9. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    May 9, 2014

    I remember once after being observed from my university supervisor while going through my credentialing program, he asked me how many boys were in the class. I counted in my head and told him the number. Then he replied, "Because you said "you guys" during the whole class and there are more than boys in here."
     
  10. underthesun

    underthesun Rookie

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    May 9, 2014

    Ooooh, man. See, in order to be an honors mentor or an RA (or, really, in order to hold ANY position on our university campus), we all had to go through a brief training session, but ninety percent of the training was 'sensitivity training'. I can't hear someone ask "Do you guys want to come?" without thinking, "Can the girls come too?"

    I always go with "you all" now.
     
  11. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    May 9, 2014

    Around here, it'd be "y'all" rather than "you guys", which (being from here), I much prefer.
     
  12. teach1

    teach1 Companion

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    May 9, 2014

    I think this discussion is proving that the definition of "polite language" in English varies greatly depending on your region and/or what you were raised saying (environment). It is unfair to claim someone has "bad manners" or "sub-par manners" because they do not use a certain word, or because they do use a certain phrase. Being polite is more about tone, gestures, and how you treat people, IMO.

    Side note... interesting when you compare English to languages that have more concrete rules about "politeness."
     
  13. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    May 10, 2014

    I don't like the "you guys" either...not a guy!!! I would say guys and gals or ladies & gentlemen (in my elem classroom)...some would give me weird looks because I didn't use you guys as a general terms...
     
  14. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    May 11, 2014

    Well, I have lived 63 years and I used Sir and Ma'am growing up and still today, because I was taught to say it, my parents said it was respectful and I should be respectful come hell or high water!

    So now it is my turn, I love it when someone says, "Sir" to me.

    My parents taught me that respect is given, but if you loose it you have to earn it back.
    [​IMG]

     
  15. cafekarma

    cafekarma Rookie

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    May 14, 2014

    I was raised in the South and have always appreciated being called ma'am. After spending three years in a city where shivelry is completely dead, I was delighted to be called "ma'am" by the guy who sat next to me on a plane headed for Atlanta recently. In my experience, these terms "ma'am" and "sir" aren't just used to show respect, though. They are used to set a formal precedent in a relationship between two people. When somebody calls me "ma'am", I know that our communication will likely be short and remain professional and/or (depending on the scenario) impersonal. They place two people at a distance. Ages are not a factor. These terms can also make up for the gaps that English is missing without formalized second-person pronouns.
     
  16. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    May 14, 2014

    Chivalry isn't something to horse around with.
     
  17. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    May 14, 2014

    :D


    Nor misspelled.
     
  18. cafekarma

    cafekarma Rookie

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    May 15, 2014

    Yeah, okay. I get it. I misspelled a word. That's always hilarious. Maybe next time I can provide you all with a "they're" "their" switch up just to get some excitement going.
     

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