German Indology

Allen Thrasher athr at
Tue Feb 25 15:17:11 UTC 1997

On Mon, 24 Feb 1997, Mr B.Philip.Jonsson [Seeker of Useless Knowledge] wrote:

> Much more important to me is actually to know if the person I'm writing to
> or about is a male or a female. Alas it is not the custom in English to
> include Mr./Mrs./Miss/Ms. if the person is entitled to an academic title.
> I'm afraid noone wants to attach (m) or (f) or the equivalent (?) iconic <o
> or o+ to their names, unless everybody everywhere would begin to do so all
> at a time.
> Best Regards
> Philip Jonsson Ngawang Dzjiynba, an Earthling and a Man.
Maybe being South Asianists we could adopt the S.Asian custom of writing
"Dr. Mrs." or "Dr. (Mrs.)" (or Miss if appropriate).

As as Indo-Germanists the German (and generally Continental?) custom of
using "Frau Doctor," or for that matter "Herr Doctor."

Query: I gather that in many Continental languages a woman will be called
Frau, Signora, Madame or the like after she reaches a certain maturity,
irrespective of whether she is married.  Can one be Fraeulein Doctor, or
does the doctorate confer the requisite degree of maturity without regard
for chronological age?

To be unsexist, should there be a difference in the terms of address for
men depending on their marital state?  In Gaelic, Irish English, and
Hungarian, I am told, one is called a "boy" until one is married
regardless of age.  Is this true in other languages?  Are there languages
where the honorifics by which a man is addressed change with his marriage,
as well as the common nouns which refer to him?

Allen Thrasher

Allen W. Thrasher

The opinions expressed do not represent those of my employer.

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