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terms of address

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  • starscrossing
    Please indulge another question: I ve been reading the various takes on Japanese terms of address for use in the SCA and now I m confused. Most of them work
    Message 1 of 9 , Aug 1, 2003
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      Please indulge another question:

      I've been reading the various takes on Japanese terms of address for
      use in the SCA and now I'm confused. Most of them work nicely when
      applied to another person of Japanese or other Asian persona, but how
      does one handle applying a title to a person of European descent,
      especially a person with an early persona and a somewhat awkward
      byname?

      To use my dear friend (and mundanely a distant cousine of mine) known
      in the society as Lady Anne of Walnut Grove, should she be:

      Walnut Grove-dono
      Walnut Grove-sama
      Anne-Sama or Anne-dono

      My gut instinct is Anne-sama may not be the most appropriate by the
      standards of the Japanese, but it fits both my relationship to Lady
      Anne and the situations I am most likely to address her (informal
      situations, as opposed to formal courtly ones).

      Also, assuming that high mucky-mucky brass hat of indistinct sort
      walks in the door (as has been want to happen in the kitchen, my
      usual place of service) and I know not this most excellent
      individual, save as Naninani-no-kami, what is the safest form of
      address (as in a My Lord/My Lady equivalant)?

      Thank you for your kind help and advice

      Sabelina (still looking for a new name)
    • Anthony J. Bryant
      ... You couldn t call her Walnut Grove anything. She s not the daimyo of Walnut Grove. She s only *from* there. By default, you d have to call her
      Message 2 of 9 , Aug 1, 2003
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        starscrossing wrote:

        >
        > To use my dear friend (and mundanely a distant cousine of mine) known
        > in the society as Lady Anne of Walnut Grove, should she be:
        >
        > Walnut Grove-dono
        > Walnut Grove-sama
        > Anne-Sama or Anne-dono
        >

        You couldn't call her "Walnut Grove" anything. She's not the daimyo of Walnut Grove. She's only *from* there. By
        default, you'd have to call her "Anne-sama" or "Anne-dono."

        >
        > My gut instinct is Anne-sama may not be the most appropriate by the
        > standards of the Japanese, but it fits both my relationship to Lady
        > Anne and the situations I am most likely to address her (informal
        > situations, as opposed to formal courtly ones).
        >

        What's wrong with "Lady Anne"? <G>

        >
        > Also, assuming that high mucky-mucky brass hat of indistinct sort
        > walks in the door (as has been want to happen in the kitchen, my
        > usual place of service) and I know not this most excellent
        > individual, save as Naninani-no-kami, what is the safest form of
        > address (as in a My Lord/My Lady equivalant)?

        When in doubt, if he's a prince or a king or the local baron, "Ue-sama" is safe.

        If you're not armigerous, you could call anyone in a brass hat "Danna-sama" (which is the closest thing to a generic
        "sir" the Japanese got).

        Effingham
      • starscrossing
        Thank you very much for the advice. I appreciate it greatly. This is one of those details that I find very important but very confusing because of the way
        Message 3 of 9 , Aug 2, 2003
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          Thank you very much for the advice. I appreciate it greatly. This is
          one of those details that I find very important but very confusing
          because of the way locative bynames work out in the society. On top
          of that, we're all supposed to be nobility in the first place, which
          makes it even more confusing, especially when you take into account
          the way the Society hands out titles and such compared to real life.
          Teaching aspects aside, there's definantly a game to the Society and
          one of the charm of going to events is seeing people in persona.

          Which brings us to:

          > What's wrong with "Lady Anne"? <G>

          Oh, the list I could make about what's wrong with Lady Anne! (just
          kidding) ;) To answer the question you were really asking (though in
          jest)

          I suppose there's nothing "wrong" with "Lady Anne," if that's how a
          person cares to play. For myself, it's an affectation for the purpose
          of persona. For me, it's not an "SCA" thing so much as it's an acting
          thing. (hey, if Will Smith can play James West, I can certainly be a
          Japanese woman. :grins: the wig is in the mail - or something like
          that.) It seems to me the minimum effort beyond reasonable attempt at
          period clothing. The fifteen yards or so of kumehimo that I need to
          make to make the one Courtier's belt I saw on the Japanese Costume
          Archive is beyond "minimum effort," but that's another story.

          Let me take it from another tack. How many times have you heard a
          native Spanish speaker call someone "Señor" or "Señora" instead of
          Mister or Ma'am, or a native French speaker refer to someone as
          Monsieur or Madame? Or even, for that matter, Herr and Frau from a
          native German speaker?

          I keep remembering a story I heard years and years ago from an
          aquaintance of the family, Nariko Hess. She told about how her family
          kept trying to suppress giggles as she introduced her husband to be
          to them as Hesso-san, which as she explained, is basically Mr.
          Bellybutton in Japanese. Why didn't she introduce him as "Mr. Hess"
          when everyone in her family speaks English, instead of softening his
          name and giving him a Japanese honorific? I'm not sure, but my first
          thought would be because Japanese is her native language and that's
          just how you do things in Japanese.

          It just seems more natural to me that a Japanese person would
          transfer their titles to the European people, just like Spanish
          speakers use their native titles, etc. There are people who know the
          difference around, so I'd like it to be as right as possible given
          the limitations of the languages involved and the SCA itself.

          Thank you again.

          Sabelina
        • Ii Saburou
          ... Walnut Grove-dono or Anne-hime would probably be the most appropriate. See http://www.sengokudaimyo.com/Miscellany/Miscellany.html and look at Modes of
          Message 4 of 9 , Aug 2, 2003
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            On Sat, 2 Aug 2003, starscrossing wrote:

            > Walnut Grove-dono
            > Walnut Grove-sama
            > Anne-Sama or Anne-dono

            Walnut Grove-dono or Anne-hime would probably be the most appropriate.

            See http://www.sengokudaimyo.com/Miscellany/Miscellany.html and look at
            'Modes of Address'.

            > Also, assuming that high mucky-mucky brass hat of indistinct sort
            > walks in the door (as has been want to happen in the kitchen, my
            > usual place of service) and I know not this most excellent
            > individual, save as Naninani-no-kami, what is the safest form of
            > address (as in a My Lord/My Lady equivalant)?

            Family Name + dono

            -Ii
          • Ii Saburou
            Okay, listen to Hiraizumi-dono. He knows much more than I. -Ii
            Message 5 of 9 , Aug 2, 2003
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              Okay, listen to Hiraizumi-dono. He knows much more than I.

              -Ii

              On Sat, 2 Aug 2003, Anthony J. Bryant wrote:

              > starscrossing wrote:
              >
              > >
              > > To use my dear friend (and mundanely a distant cousine of mine) known
              > > in the society as Lady Anne of Walnut Grove, should she be:
              > >
              > > Walnut Grove-dono
              > > Walnut Grove-sama
              > > Anne-Sama or Anne-dono
              > >
              >
              > You couldn't call her "Walnut Grove" anything. She's not the daimyo of Walnut Grove. She's only *from* there. By
              > default, you'd have to call her "Anne-sama" or "Anne-dono."
              >
              > >
              > > My gut instinct is Anne-sama may not be the most appropriate by the
              > > standards of the Japanese, but it fits both my relationship to Lady
              > > Anne and the situations I am most likely to address her (informal
              > > situations, as opposed to formal courtly ones).
              > >
              >
              > What's wrong with "Lady Anne"? <G>
              >
              > >
              > > Also, assuming that high mucky-mucky brass hat of indistinct sort
              > > walks in the door (as has been want to happen in the kitchen, my
              > > usual place of service) and I know not this most excellent
              > > individual, save as Naninani-no-kami, what is the safest form of
              > > address (as in a My Lord/My Lady equivalant)?
              >
              > When in doubt, if he's a prince or a king or the local baron, "Ue-sama" is safe.
              >
              > If you're not armigerous, you could call anyone in a brass hat "Danna-sama" (which is the closest thing to a generic
              > "sir" the Japanese got).
              >
              > Effingham
              >
              >
              >
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              >
              > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
              >
              >
            • autumnriver
              ... known ... *blinks* Hey! Another Iowegian! From Deodar, no less! Hi, Sabelina! *waves* I remember you came up here for archery practice once. Good to
              Message 6 of 9 , Aug 2, 2003
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                --- In sca-jml@yahoogroups.com, "starscrossing" <starscrossing@y...>
                wrote:
                > To use my dear friend (and mundanely a distant cousine of mine)
                known
                > in the society as Lady Anne of Walnut Grove, should she be:

                *blinks* Hey! Another Iowegian! From Deodar, no less!

                Hi, Sabelina! *waves* I remember you came up here for archery
                practice once. Good to see you.

                Here's to more Japanese culture in Calontir! *cheers*

                --Tace of Foxele (Souma Tae)
                Riverwatch, Calontir
              • Anthony J. Bryant
                ... LOL! ... On TV and in movies, all the time. It s how directors/actors remind the audience that the speakers are foreign. But in point of fact, in real
                Message 7 of 9 , Aug 2, 2003
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                  starscrossing wrote:

                  >
                  > Which brings us to:
                  >
                  > > What's wrong with "Lady Anne"? <G>
                  >
                  > Oh, the list I could make about what's wrong with Lady Anne! (just
                  > kidding) ;) To answer the question you were really asking (though in
                  > jest)
                  >

                  LOL!

                  >
                  > I suppose there's nothing "wrong" with "Lady Anne," if that's how a
                  > person cares to play. For myself, it's an affectation for the purpose
                  > of persona. For me, it's not an "SCA" thing so much as it's an acting
                  > thing. (hey, if Will Smith can play James West, I can certainly be a
                  > Japanese woman. :grins: the wig is in the mail - or something like
                  > that.) It seems to me the minimum effort beyond reasonable attempt at
                  > period clothing. The fifteen yards or so of kumehimo that I need to
                  > make to make the one Courtier's belt I saw on the Japanese Costume
                  > Archive is beyond "minimum effort," but that's another story.
                  >
                  > Let me take it from another tack. How many times have you heard a
                  > native Spanish speaker call someone "Seor" or "Seora" instead of
                  > Mister or Ma'am, or a native French speaker refer to someone as
                  > Monsieur or Madame? Or even, for that matter, Herr and Frau from a
                  > native German speaker?
                  >

                  On TV and in movies, all the time. It's how directors/actors "remind" the audience that the speakers are foreign. But
                  in point of fact, in real life, I have never personally encountered it. One of the first things people in
                  conversation classes learn is how to speak to (and address) people in the target language. I would never call a
                  Japanese guy "Mr. Takahashi." I would call him "Takahashi-san." By the reasoning above, I must be Japanese. <G>

                  If I'm speaking to a Frenchman or a German *in their language* I would definitely use language-appropriate address
                  terms. I would not say "Miss Shultz, wo bist der WC?" nor would I say "Mister LaFleur, je n'aime pas des escargots."
                  Likewise, if I'm addressing them in *English*, I would either use the English language address for consistency, or as
                  a sign of politeness *their own*.

                  Either way, the typical form of address seems to be -- to me, any way -- geared toward the language of the target
                  being addressed, not the language of the speaker.

                  >
                  > I keep remembering a story I heard years and years ago from an
                  > aquaintance of the family, Nariko Hess. She told about how her family
                  > kept trying to suppress giggles as she introduced her husband to be
                  > to them as Hesso-san, which as she explained, is basically Mr.
                  > Bellybutton in Japanese. Why didn't she introduce him as "Mr. Hess"
                  > when everyone in her family speaks English, instead of softening his
                  > name and giving him a Japanese honorific? I'm not sure, but my first
                  > thought would be because Japanese is her native language and that's
                  > just how you do things in Japanese.
                  >

                  There's no honorific there (unless you mean "san"). Japanese is an "open syllable" language and doesn't have terminal
                  consonants (except for "n", which is arguably a mutation of "mu" with a loss of strength of the vowel). A native
                  Japanese can't *say* "Hess" without lots of practice. It becomes "Hessu" (U being the standard weak vowel) and still
                  sounds a lot like "hesso".

                  The addition of "-san" has nothing to do with the sound or the effect. "Mr. Hessu/o" sounds just as silly to a
                  Japanese as "Hesso/u-san."


                  Effingham
                • starscrossing
                  Baron Effingham, Thank you again for your observations and input. You ve raised several questions for me and certainly given me quite a bit of food for
                  Message 8 of 9 , Aug 2, 2003
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                    Baron Effingham,

                    Thank you again for your observations and input. You've raised
                    several questions for me and certainly given me quite a bit of food
                    for thought. :) I appreciate that greatly.

                    --- In sca-jml@yahoogroups.com, "Anthony J. Bryant" <ajbryant@i...> >
                    On TV and in movies, all the time. It's how directors/actors "remind"
                    the audience that the speakers are foreign. But
                    > in point of fact, in real life, I have never personally encountered
                    it. One of the first things people in
                    > conversation classes learn is how to speak to (and address) people
                    in the target language.

                    I have encountered it in real life. My family is fortunate enough,
                    despite our wretched location, to have both friends and family who
                    come from other cultures and other countries. It took me a good
                    number of years to realize that not everyone in Iowa has New York
                    Jewish friends to teach them Yiddish, or Great Grandfathers who spoke
                    German, or ASL speaking cousins, or Swedish cousins who still come to
                    visit from the Old Country, or Mexican or Korean Aunts, or Italian
                    friends, or French friends, or even Mexican friends. I thought I was
                    normal, and found out I was really very unusual and lucky. I've found
                    out since that Iowa, apparently, is the center of the loaf of Wonder
                    Bread - all white and about the same texture.

                    Although the most common way to learn another language these days is
                    in a formal language class, not everyone learns another language in a
                    formal language class. Some just learn from other native speakers. I
                    doubt there were many formal language classes in period. From what
                    I've seen of the linguistic teaching materials from the Victorian
                    Era, conversational language as we understand it today wasn't exactly
                    the method taught then, or even earlier. For example, I learned most
                    of my Spanish from my Tia, and while I learned family forms of
                    address early on, I didn't learn Señior/Señiora/Señiorita until much
                    later. (an oversight on my Tia's part, I think. She never expected me
                    to use Spanish other than with her.)

                    I've got two deaf cousins, and while I can hold up my end of most
                    conversations with them, I'd end up finger spelling "Mister"
                    or "Miss" because those aren't signs I've ever had to use with them.
                    Signs in sign language are the foreign words, finger spelling is like
                    using English to get your point across.

                    Is your suggestion that the movie convention of inserting foreign
                    words and titles into conversation has no basis in real life, or that
                    it could be seen as demeaning to the cultural group being portrayed?
                    Or am I misenterpreting the intent of the statement and is there no
                    suggestion at all, just a statement that you've never personally seen
                    the phenomenon? All three are worthwhile things to explore in the
                    persuit of accuracy and persona.

                    If it's not common, then we likely shouldn't do it based on a desire
                    for accuracy.

                    If it's demeaning, then we absolutely shouldn't do it out of respect
                    for the culture.

                    If it is common, but you, as a PhD and with letters in a foreign
                    history, haven't seen it, then it may be because it's simply
                    something not seen in academia, but more common to the less educated
                    classes. If so, then it's still likely not appropriate for most
                    Society persona, most portray the nobility that the SCA charter
                    assumes us all to be, but it may be appropriate to less educated or
                    lower class persona.

                    Any of those, then, still leave questions on how to portray persona
                    in a way that consistantly reminds other people that any of us
                    (French, German, Norman, Japanese or Tuchuk [though I wonder about
                    them. often. ;)]) are actually people from a culture very different
                    than the one common to the modern world, particularly the Modern USA.
                    For me, it's about the history, but the element of the SCA that's
                    attractive to me is getting inside the head of that historic person
                    and examining both the modern and the historic world from that
                    person's mindset.

                    There are huge differences between the Modern USA and the Historic
                    World, let alone the Historic Japanese World. That's obvious just
                    reading the archives: As I understand it, Ronin and Ninja are both
                    pretty much "bad things" in the eyes of the Japanese, but they
                    contain elements that appeal to our culture, the same culture that
                    created and now idealizes the rugged individualism of the Old West.
                    (Why do I think there's a paper in there somewhere?) Learning about
                    those differences is one of the most interesting things we do, IMHO.

                    > There's no honorific there (unless you mean "san"). Japanese is
                    an "open syllable" language and doesn't have terminal
                    > consonants (except for "n", which is arguably a mutation of "mu"
                    with a loss of strength of the vowel). A native
                    > Japanese can't *say* "Hess" without lots of practice. It
                    becomes "Hessu" (U being the standard weak vowel) and still
                    > sounds a lot like "hesso".
                    >
                    > The addition of "-san" has nothing to do with the sound or the
                    effect. "Mr. Hessu/o" sounds just as silly to a
                    > Japanese as "Hesso/u-san."

                    I understand the linguistics involved, to a degree. It's similar to
                    the reason that many native Spanish speakers place an "e" sound at
                    the beginning of English words that begin with "S": in Espania, "s"
                    is never a beginning letter. If it's at the beginning of a word, it's
                    prefaced with an "e" sound - thus my Aunt's brother calling me
                    Esabrina instead of Sabrina. I also understand "san" or "sama" to be
                    the equivalant of the honorifics Mister or Miss/Mistress/Ms. which is
                    inaccurate, to be sure, but as close as we've got in English to what
                    I understand as the intent - polite forms of address. For example,
                    members of my family down south call me Miss Sabrina. Same idea, as I
                    understand it.

                    The example, however, was sited more as a case of fitting the
                    European name to the language at hand, as opposed to adapting the
                    form of address to the name in question. We do the same thing all the
                    time. As an English speaking person when I introduce my French
                    aquaintance Mark Boucher in English, I introduce him as Mr. Boucher.
                    If I introduced him in (gawd-awful) French, I'd call him Monsieur
                    Boucher. If it were a language I were less familiar with the forms of
                    address, for example. . . I can't remember a thing of the Russian I
                    took, so if I were forced to function in (worse than my French)
                    Russian, I'd probably say he was called Mr. Boucher or Monsieur
                    Boucher (and then quickly beg off onto Spanish or English for the
                    rest of the conversation.)

                    It does beg the question, however, what makes a persona? Is it just
                    the clothes and the attitude? If so, then what purpose do pages and
                    pages of information about what kinds of titles to use in other
                    languages (not just Japanese, mind you, but the French, Spanish,
                    Russian and German pages, too) serve?

                    If persona is attitude and clothes and if we're all speaking English,
                    why should we call anyone by any title other than ones found in
                    English? Is it to help others see the individual in persona? Does it
                    serve any purpose at all? If not, then I'd be the first to happilly
                    say let's just use English titles since we're speaking English and
                    emphasize culture in the way we act.

                    It would make it very simple for everyone involved.

                    If my most indulgent and excellent source of information is Baron
                    Effingham in his English persona he'd be Baron Hiraizumi (assuming I
                    picked the right name) when wearing his Japanese garb and using his
                    Japanese persona. All kings would be His/Her Majesty or King Thus-and-
                    so and dukes would be His Grace or Duke Thus-and-so, etc, no matter
                    what his or her nationality. And Lady Anne would be Lady Anne and the
                    whole question would be moot - though the translations would still be
                    interesting just to help point out the stratification of Japanese
                    society, or the similarities between German and French nobility.

                    That would seem to be the Most Logical Thing, since very few of are
                    going to actually be speaking Japanese at events anyway, though I
                    still like the idea of calling Lady Anne Anne-sama or Anne-dono. It
                    appeals to me in a very non-period Anime sort of way. :insert wicked
                    evil grin: There's something to be said for that, too.

                    Sabelina
                  • Solveig
                    Noble Cousins! Greetings from Solveig! I am forgetting the provenance of Walnut Grove. Walnut grove could possibly be a rather nice toponymic family name. --
                    Message 9 of 9 , Aug 2, 2003
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                      Noble Cousins!

                      Greetings from Solveig! I am forgetting the provenance of Walnut Grove.
                      Walnut grove could possibly be a rather nice toponymic family name.
                      --

                      Your Humble Servant
                      Solveig Throndardottir
                      Amateur Scholar

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