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Why don't Brits call people 'Sir' and 'Ma'am' like Americans do? watch

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    This seems quite common in the US, especially when you address older people, but I rarely see it here?
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    I think calling someone "ma'am" in the UK is seen as an insult as it implies old age.

    But I've hear "Sir" plenty of times.

    But that may just be because I have an air of "Sir-ness" and majesty about me.
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    Americans call elderly people sir? I thought they just called them a burden
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    Because we're british


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    (Original post by whorace)
    Americans call elderly people sir? I thought they just called them a burden
    lol +1
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    I only call my teachers Sir?
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    In my secondary school, we had to call female teachers ma'am and male teachers, sir even though my school was far from posh. I think it was to do with the respect the pupils should have on the teachers
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    (Original post by whorace)
    Americans call elderly people sir? I thought they just called them a burden
    +1 :rofl:
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    Different culture

    /thread?
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    How do you address a lady then? Young and old?

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    I'm called sir incredibly often in the UK...
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    (Original post by ErinBliss)
    How do you address a lady then? Young and old?

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    At school we say sir and miss but usually otherwise I wouldn't address anyone as anything. I'd just say "thank you" not "thank you sir"
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    in britain only butlers say sir and ma'am though they pronounce ma'am very different to americans which is more like maayyym compared to british maaam. Whereas in some areas like Manchester people may call their mothers mam to try to sound posher, like "im goin to see me mam tonight" but they will only address their mother in this way. Sir as well would only mean someone who is knighted in Britain whereas america doesnt have knights because they just have native americans (indians) instead of anything medieval so they all call each other sir so that they dont feel like they have missed out on that.
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    (Original post by whorace)
    Americans call elderly people sir? I thought they just called them a burden
    I don't get it.
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    (Original post by whorace)
    Americans call elderly people sir? I thought they just called them a burden
    winz gg wp
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    (Original post by e aí rapaz)
    Different culture

    /thread?
    Goodness but I find this "/thread" business wearing. Make worthless and trivially true observation -> claim this as discussion-ending.

    Because of course there are very many areas of British and American social behaviour that are characterised by large degrees of overlap. So why doesn't it obtain here?

    The OP is right, in the UK people typically only use these titles as required by their job ("could you complete this form sir?", “ceramics are in the basement madam”) and it would seem an olde-worlde courtesy or an affectation to ask "is this seat taken sir?" on the bus or "I'm sorry madam but do you know the time?"

    What makes it seem the odder, perhaps, is that the UK is stereotypically the more formal society. My speculative suggestion is that Americans' (likely misplaced) faith in social mobility makes them happier to volunteer their Sirs and Ma'ams whereas chippy Brits are giving away no more than they have to.
 
 
 

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