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  #101  
Old 10-16-2019, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by HeweyLogan View Post

In which case the default for Clinton would be Mrs, unless there's other reasons to use Ms, as was stated upthread, to distance herself from Mr Clinton, in which case it's proper/polite to say Ms.
It's also 'traditional' for a woman to take on her husband's last name. Nowadays though, more and more women prefer not to do so. Are they also 'distancing themselves from their husbands'? No. It's just a way to retain your own individuality, should you choose to.
  #102  
Old 10-16-2019, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
I think this one is particular to you, or to native Spanish speakers, perhaps.
Or possibly an overgeneralization - there was at least one TV show in the '70s (maybe more) with at least one character (maybe more) who pronounced "Ms." as "em ess" . But it wasn't a mistake or as a variant dialect - it was meant to ridicule the character who used "Ms" rather than "Miss" or "Mrs". But a non-native English speaker may not have picked that up.
  #103  
Old 10-16-2019, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
If you get to the point where neither Mr. nor Ms. is acceptable, then why bother making up an honorific? Ms. was deliberately designed to eliminate the need for Miss and Mrs.; if it too is obsolete, then so are any titles. I presume the majority of people who change their gender identities want to be known by their new one, not hide which one they now identify as.
You're missing the category of people who feel they are gender ambiguous and want the world to acknowledge that.


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Originally Posted by Nava View Post
It's pronounced like the plural of the letter M, or as the end of the name of the candy (M&Ms). Along the lines of "ems" but I'm not sure that's the right symbol for the vowel (it's the one m-w uses but they've got their own ideas about IPA).
Never heard it that way. Always "Mizz", although that sometimes gets said as "Miss" while intending to be the non-specifying version.

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Originally Posted by bonzer View Post
As someone who is British and (I reluctantly suppose is) middle-aged, the whole matter is slightly baffling. For I cannot remember the last occasion when I ever used Mr/Miss/Mrs/Ms on anything. Arguments about the correct usage is, at this point, surely irrelevant. You might as well be wondering about whether to append "Esquire" (even if some people do insist).
I live in Texas, and we still call people by the titles "sir" and "ma'am". And yes, I'm aware there's a certain ageism in some dialects between using "miss" and "ma'am". That one is going away here. In karate class, we address the teenage girl instructors as ma'am, not miss. As in, "Yes, ma'am."

And the tendency is to use "Miss" as the non-specifying ambiguous version used for single or married women. Or else they're just pronouncing Ms. as "miss".
  #104  
Old 10-16-2019, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by doreen View Post
Or possibly an overgeneralization - there was at least one TV show in the '70s (maybe more) with at least one character (maybe more) who pronounced "Ms." as "em ess" . But it wasn't a mistake or as a variant dialect - it was meant to ridicule the character who used "Ms" rather than "Miss" or "Mrs". But a non-native English speaker may not have picked that up.
Interesting, thanks for that.
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  #105  
Old 10-16-2019, 04:03 PM
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When I was younger I thought "Ms" was an abbreviation for "Miss" and "Miz" was abbreviated "Mz" and nobody used it outside of a few radicals who spelled "women" as "womyn". I was wrong.

Surprisingly, in my dialect at least, this is not an issue that comes up often in conversation. I remember calling all my teachers "miss" because "missus" is basically the same thing but with a slightly elongated "s" at the end. And if you slur a little, it's indistinguishable from "miz". And outside of school, it's not an issue at all. Women are introduced to me invariably by their first name, possibly first name/last name, and I rarely write or email anyone I don't know, so I never need to decide which word to use. I suspect the concept will disappear entirely in American English before I'm dead. I do like using titles like that occasionally because it sounds quaint and old fashioned, like calling my friends "sir" or "ma'am". But it certainly isn't necessary and almost sounds like the opposite of formal and professional to my ears.
I also once thought that, but I think I got corrected on it at some point in my teens.

And you're right about all of them being vocally very similar. I always try to use "Ms.", but I'm pretty sure that when I actually say it, it comes out as closer to "Miss".
  #106  
Old 10-16-2019, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by doreen View Post
Or possibly an overgeneralization - there was at least one TV show in the '70s (maybe more) with at least one character (maybe more) who pronounced "Ms." as "em ess" . But it wasn't a mistake or as a variant dialect - it was meant to ridicule the character who used "Ms" rather than "Miss" or "Mrs"..
One Day at a Time, Ann's not-terrible boss in the middle seasons would call her M S Romano. (As he was the not-terrible boss, it wasn't so much ridicule as mild teasing. The terrible, actively sexist boss called her Ann.)
  #107  
Old 10-16-2019, 08:22 PM
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When I was growing up in Ohio in the ‘70s we pronounced Mrs., Ms., and Miss identically in conversation [ms̬ˈheɪz] could be Mrs. Hayes, Ms. Hayes, or Miss Hayes.
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  #108  
Old 10-17-2019, 12:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
The Wikipedia article certainly doesn't mention that story. Nor did this NYT article (which admittedly I only skimmed).
It's in there. if you read between the lines.

"For oral use it might be rendered as 'Mizz,' which would be a close parallel to the practice long universal in many bucolic regions, where a slurred Mis' does duty for Miss and Mrs alike."

"Bucolic regions" referring to the rural South.
  #109  
Old 10-17-2019, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Kamino Neko View Post
Ms isn't short for anything. It was coined ex nihilo (keeping the 'M' start from Mr, Mrs, and Miss), because there was no address for women that was agnostic about marital status* (unless she'd earned a non-gendered title, such a Dr). In other words, it was coined specifically because no word existed that it could have been abbreviated FROM.
One of the very few neologisms relating to personal address that became widely accepted, and did so pretty much overnight, in the sense of over five years or so.
  #110  
Old 10-17-2019, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by BrotherCadfael View Post
One of the very few neologisms relating to personal address that became widely accepted, and did so pretty much overnight, in the sense of over five years or so.
Someone else cited this I think, but here it is again:

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The earliest known proposal is from The Republican of Springfield, Massachusetts, on November 10, 1901: "There is a void in the English language which, with some diffidence, we undertake to fill. Every one has been put in an embarrassing position by ignorance of the status of some woman. To call a maiden Mrs is only a shade worse than to insult a matron with the inferior title Miss. Yet it is not always easy to know the facts... Now, clearly, what is needed is a more comprehensive term which does homage to the sex without expressing any views as to their domestic situation, and what could be simpler or more logical than the retention of what the two doubtful terms have in common. The abbreviation "Ms" is simple, it is easy to write, and the person concerned can translate it properly according to circumstances. For oral use it might be rendered as "Mizz," which would be a close parallel to the practice long universal in many bucolic regions, where a slurred Mis' does duty for Miss and Mrs alike."
So, it didn't happen within five years or so. It took about 70 years from the time of the article in The Republican. It got its critical boost in popular culture terms by Gloria Steinem's decision to use "Ms." as the name of her magazine, but it wasn't an absolute neologism in the 1970s.

Furthermore, it's not ex nihilo. According to Wiktionary: "Found since the 1600s as an abbreviation of mistress."

So, "Ms." is actually an abbreviation. It's an abbreviation of "mistress," which is also what "Mrs." and "Miss" are. The three abbreviations have different uses and differing meanings, but they're all abbreviations for the same word.
  #111  
Old 10-17-2019, 09:27 AM
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It may have been around for 70 years, but virtually nobody knew of it until it was popularized in the 70s. Once it gained currency, it was accepted quite quickly.
  #112  
Old 10-17-2019, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by BrotherCadfael View Post
It may have been around for 70 years, but virtually nobody knew of it until it was popularized in the 70s. Once it gained currency, it was accepted quite quickly.
It percolated in the culture for 70 years (and really for a couple of centuries prior to that) until it found a hook for widespread popularity. That's the opposite of "overnight." I'm no linguistic expert, but I would guess that arc of popularity is fairly common when it comes to words.

Last edited by Acsenray; 10-17-2019 at 09:39 AM.
  #113  
Old 10-18-2019, 02:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
I think this one is particular to you, or to native Spanish speakers, perhaps.
Not exclusive to me, but it might be a matter of Spanish speakers. I learned it in Miami; encountered it again in Philly, where the Southern Lady had been teaching it to the team, but the Southern Lady was originally from Miami (her Spanish was limited but intense).
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Last edited by Nava; 10-18-2019 at 02:25 AM.
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