[M.M.X.I.V. 348] Addressing

Yesterday, when I was at the synagogue, I engaged in several fun conversations.  The inspiration for this post came from the last table that I sat at, which included the congregation’s Rabbi.

The Rabbi at the congregation had a cousin that just gave birth, and she recalled a time when she was in the airport and happened to see an uncle.  Trying to get his attention, she yelled, “Uncle [name redacted]!” which evidently caused some stares.

Her take on this: Some people may find it awkward for adults to use the titles “Aunt,” “Uncle,” “Grand[parent],” etc. when referring to their extended family members.  I wonder if they also feel this way about adults still calling their parents “Mom” and “Dad.”

Maybe it is a generational thing.  I still preface addressing of my aunts and uncles by “Aunt ______” or “Uncle _______.”  I feel that it is a sign of respect, as well as just something that has been ingrained in me.  In some sense, it is almost as if how good friends have pet names for each other–my take is that this applies as well to extended family!  I continue to address my aunts and uncles with those prefixes-followed-by-first-names.

It also seems to extend to the idea of First-Name Basis.  It is interesting to me how extended family members may have their names qualified by addresses (e.g. Aunt, Uncle, Cousin), but still have those followed by the first name.

This is unlike for teachers and superiors, who prefer to be called by a title preceding their last name (e.g. Mr. Greene, Ms. Smith, Dr. Schlichtemeier, Prof. Olmstead, etc.).  Yet, I feel that first-name addressing is becoming more common in academia.  However, my tendency tends to vary depending on the person that I address.  When I taught over the summer (as well as when I am a TA during the remainder of the year), I always introduce myself as “Noah” instead of “Mr. Weiss.”  This is because:

  • “Professor Weiss” is incorrect–a TA is not a professor.  (However, in my journal I have incorrectly made this titling of some of my TAs from undergrad).
  • “Mr. Weiss” is possible, but I feel is a little formal and gives an air of superiority over my students that I don’t deserve.
  • “Noah” may be a little informal, but I would prefer that they feel more comfortable addressing me in and out of class.

What customs do you hold as to when you use the construct “[Address]-[First/Preferred Name]”, versus “[Title]-[Last Name],” versus “[First/Preferred Name]” versus “[Last Name]”?


Today is the three-hundred and forty-eighth day of M.M.X.I.V.  That makes forty-nine weeks and five days.

Today is the three-hundred and fiftieth day of Mission 441.  Ninety-two days remain.


3 thoughts on “[M.M.X.I.V. 348] Addressing

  1. Hi. I live in India, and here, all elders are called the vernacular equivalents of ‘Aunt’ and ‘Uncle’, regardless of relation. It is also the common norm in our college to address all our professors as ‘Sir’ or ‘Ma’am’, without using their first names.


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