--- Tristan <[log in to unmask]> wrote: > bnathyuw
uk civil service departments
> actually
> >produce booklets to brief people on how letters
> should
> >be addressed )
> >
> >
> Yeah... I was just somewhere tonight and there was a
> guest there who was
> supposed to be called 'Mrs V'. Asian cultures---and
> these made up the
> majority of people---seem to have a much more
> important respect thing
> than Aussies... I really hated having to refer to
> her as 'Mrs V' so
> avoided it...

we also had guidance on how to cope with foreign
names. usually straightforward, except with chinese
names where you had to guess which was the surname.
but it got hideously complicated with muslim and sikh
names. if i remember the rule for muslim ( and someone
please correct me if either of these is wrong ) was :

—sometimes both will be personal names, but one will
be a name of muhammad, and shouldn't be used to
address the person. in this case there is no surname
and Mr/Ms X is inappropriate

–sometimes there will be a surname, in which case you
can use that

–sometimes what was originally a personal name will
have become a surname, and then Mr/Ms X _is_

which of course is already complex even if you can
recognise what's a personal name and what a surname,
but if you can't it's pretty nightmarish

sikh names were similarish :

a name will usually be a personal name followed by
singh or kaur, _except_ that some people adopt singh (
rarely kaur ) as a surname, at which point Mr Singh (
which means Mr Mr ) becomes an appropriate term of

all of this confirms my view that using the first name
is usually the best course ( unless of course your
dealing with a muslim and their first name is a name
of the prophet, in which case you've just committed a
bit of a faux pas )

i imagine they can deal with it in india, altho they
may not have the problem of people feeling compelled
to have a surname there . . .

(And if you think that's stupid, then
> you might as well
> say it's stupid that some people insist on using
> title+surname whenever
> possible, especially of married women. Damnit, she's
> herself, not her
> husbands... And then, of course, because I'm
> horribly double standarded,
> I'd appreciate it if my wife, were I to have one,
> would change her
> surname to 'McLeay'. Unless she had a really cool
> surname, in which case
> I might take it instead ;) ).

and what about the old practice of calling someone Mrs
John Smith ? aaaaargh !

i saw an official crown document a while ago on which
women who used Mrs were referred to as Jane, Mrs Smith
(!), women who used Miss were referred to as Miss Jane
Smith, and women who used Ms were simply Jane Smith .
. . I can't remember whether a man was John Smith Esq.
but i suspect so

on the name thing, the likelihood of my marrying (
particularly my marrying a woman, tho my marrying in
general is pretty much out of the question ) is so low
i haven't really given it much thought. but i suppose
i would support the marryee keeping their own name (
particularly with my surname : butt )


bnathyuw | landan | arR
stamp the sunshine out | angelfish
your tears came like anaesthesia | phèdre

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