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Re: [SCA-JML] Re: terms of address

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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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