For me, the disconcerting situation is the reverse, when parents address their (young) children in the formal mode. I'm wondering about what prompts that kind of switch.

Various circumlocutions perhaps analogous to your "Herr Papa" have been used in some Spanish dialects since time out of mind when referring to someone else's mother, in order to avoid even the slightest hint of insult.


----- Original Message -----
From: Philip Newton <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Thursday, April 24, 2008 9:52 am
Subject: Re: German T/V distinction (was Re: Is the list dead?)
To: [log in to unmask]

>> I also heard a Dutch girl of about my age address her parents with
> formal "U"; I was told, however, that it's not that unusual given her
> parents' age - apparently, addressing one's parents with "U" was not
> uncommon until about fifty years ago or so, and her parents were 
> of a
> generation that expected "U" even though she was born later. In
> Germany, on the other hand, addressing one's father with "Herr Papa"
> and "Sie" or "Ihr" sounds like something my grandfather (born 1897)
> might have done, but not someone born more recently.
> Cheers,
> -- 
> Philip Newton <[log in to unmask]>