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Urgent: Any sociolinguists out there aware of honorific-use research?

asked 2015-03-19 12:45:53 -0400

anonymous user


Hello, my name is Julie Scelfo and I'm a reporter affiliated with The New York Times. I'm writing about how adults in my community ask my children to call them by their first names, whereas I prefer they use honorariums and call them Mr. Smith, or Ms. Jones, etc.

I'm trying to find out whether any sociolinguists have studied this issue, or if there have been any journal articles written about it, or if anyone out there is interested in the subject and has further information? Specifically, I am curious if anyone has tracked or measured the use of honorariums in speech in the United States, and if there are measures of how their use is growing or diminishing by region.

Thank you for your consideration. I am on deadline for tomorrow and would be grateful for any and all leads or suggestions.


Julie Scelfo

[email protected]

(Transferred from old LINGUIST List Ask-a-Linguist site)

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answered 2015-03-21 01:54:57 -0400

NancyF gravatar image


You may have heard that our service took a pause and has started up again. So apologies for missing your deadline.

This is the kind of question that a good librarian can help you answer. There are abstracting journals (those that compile and publish abstracts of journal articles, for quick retrieval of all the in publications in a given field). We have had a pretty good one in LLBA (Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts) which is probably only bought by universities, and in the modern world, it's electronic as well.

There are likely many journal articles related to honorifics (sic) and the changing usage associated with them for a variety of languages, including English. Here's an instance I'd recommend the library in case one of us panelists doesn't instantly retrieve a citation for you.

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Asked: 2015-03-19 12:45:53 -0400

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Last updated: Mar 21 '15