Women being called 'sir'?

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#1 Oct 29th, 2016, 02:17
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#1
Been coming to India for 25 years. Why am I being referred to as 'sir' sometimes all of a sudden? Don't know whether they're insulting me or it's a term of respect. I certainly don't look like a man?
#2 Oct 29th, 2016, 02:31
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#2
By whom, in what circumstances, and where in India are you?

(I don't know, but this extra info might help someone who does)
~
Life gets aadhar every day.
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#3 Oct 29th, 2016, 02:40
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I can only relate a story from my military school primary grades. We answered all adults, yes sir! The lady instructor said she was woman so I should say Mam. I promptly replied, yes sir Mam! She gave up..
#4 Oct 29th, 2016, 02:47
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Yeah, but it's not new and sudden. It was always there. I was once called maam-sir. Yeah. Weird and feels creepy but I try to remember it's just when someone is trying to be respectful and really doesn't know English. Feels better to be out of situations where people want to say Sir at all, whether to men or to women.

A colleague chided me last week for replying to initial enquiries that start "Dear Sir." He said I shouldn't even reply to someone who makes such an assumption. Ironically I'd gotten used to it and didn't even notice anymore, and my male colleague had to point it out to me.
#5 Oct 29th, 2016, 11:33
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"Sir" is mark of respect for the those of higher rank or status in authority ('highly posted' officers, especially in administration, army, police services, etc) by their staff and other people who are 'serving' them, and it is being carried forward even though India has become independent.

It is being used more as protocols or etiquette.
#6 Oct 29th, 2016, 13:34
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Originally Posted by Prakaant View Post "Sir" is mark of respect for the those of higher rank or status in authority ('highly posted' officers, especially in administration, army, police services, etc) by their staff and other people who are 'serving' them, and it is being carried forward even though India has become independent.

It is being used more as protocols or etiquette.
Thanks I did read/Google this but in every day conversations is this appropriate?
#7 Oct 29th, 2016, 14:31
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Should catch the movie "The Great Santini". Some people were raised that way. Now I feel rather blessed. Compared to numerous young people who have dysfunctional or limited family involvement that discipline and certainty seems pretty good..
#8 Oct 29th, 2016, 14:31
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Women being called 'sir'?

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Originally Posted by Melly666 View Post Thanks I did read/Google this but in every day conversations is this appropriate?
Ideally no, but can't Help!
#9 Oct 29th, 2016, 14:31
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#9
Here it would always be madam, whether in office (a little old fashioned perhaps) or shop, but different local languages or places might have the confusion.
My Japanese colleagues used he/she randomly.
#10 Oct 29th, 2016, 14:37
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If you had anwersed the questions that Nick asked maybe it would have helped others to answer.
#11 Oct 29th, 2016, 14:43
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Originally Posted by NonIndianResident View Post I was once called maam-sir. Yeah. Weird and feels creepy but I try to remember it's just when someone is trying to be respectful and really doesn't know English. Feels better to be out of situations where people want to say Sir at all, whether to men or to women.

A colleague chided me last week for replying to initial enquiries that start "Dear Sir." He said I shouldn't even reply to someone who makes such an assumption. Ironically I'd gotten used to it and didn't even notice anymore, and my male colleague had to point it out to me.
[I]Memsahib/I] is nothing but a conflation of "Ma'am" and "Sāhab".

I always use "Dear Sir/Madam".

Queen Victoria was Kaisar-e-Hind, i.e. "Emperor of India" - Persian is a language with no trace of gender.

At school it was "Sir" and "Miss", at college it was "Sir" and "Madam.
#12 Oct 29th, 2016, 16:42
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As long as one is being respectful (or trying to); addressing a lady as "sir"*, may be condoned since his command over the language is suspect and his intentions are not. "Madam" has other less charitable meanings and usage too. Gender disparity in administration, over decades , nay centuries, is clearly the reason for such usage. Gender neutral language is still quite sometime away.

Edit:* The other way around may not go down so well, though.
Last edited by Earthian; Oct 29th, 2016 at 16:44.. Reason: added edit
#13 Oct 29th, 2016, 17:03
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Talking of using title, I tried to figure out how it came about in India(and I believe in China too) using first name when they are using title "Mr", instead of Surname. In India, you are normally always addressed by Mr John, instead of Mr Smith.
Idle mind is a Devil's workshop.
#14 Oct 29th, 2016, 18:29
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If you had anwersed the questions
Give her more of a chance! She might have been busy
#15 Oct 29th, 2016, 18:51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Londoner View Post Talking of using title, I tried to figure out how it came about in India(and I believe in China too) using first name when they are using title "Mr", instead of Surname. In India, you are normally always addressed by Mr John, instead of Mr Smith.
This is equivalent to -ji in India and -san in Japan.
In Russia and Bulgaria you aren't adressed by your surname but your first name and your patronym.
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