German Indology

g.v.simson at g.v.simson at
Wed Feb 26 13:01:10 UTC 1997

On 25 feb. Allan Thrasher wrote:
>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 answer this question of ultimate concern for any indologist: Things are
changing rapidly. As late as 30 years ago, you could meet lots of Fraeulein
Doktor in Germany, regardless of their age. Nowadays you have to address
every female student, married or not, as Frau. Marital status has lost its
former importance. But to keep the distinction Herr Dr. and Frau Dr. -
though from an academic point of view irrelevant - may be a useful means to
avoid misunderstandings as long as we have gender distinction as an
integral part of our languages.

        Best regards
                                Georg v.Simson

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