Thursday, July 1, 2010

What should I call you

How to Address People in English
What name or title can we use when speaking to friends, colleagues, acquaintances, teacher, doctors etc?
English learners often feel confused about how to address people properly. Many feel uncomfortable asking the question, "What should I call you?" Even native English people find his question awkward. For example, many women don't know how to address their boyfriend's mother. On the other hand, some parents don't know what to call their children's teacher.
Why is "What should I call you?" such a difficult question to ask? Perhaps it's because you are asking the other person to provide their status or position in the world in relationship to yours. This position may involve age, job, education, religion and even marital status.
Since English is a a language , rather than a culture, it is difficult to teach English learners exactly how to address people. There will always be some people and some professions that require more formality than others. Addressing people in writing has differ people in writing has different rules and formalities than in speaking.
Calling in English

Asking the question
 If you are unsure of what to call someone, it's best to use a formal address or simply ask one of these questions:
•  What should I call you?
•  What should I call your mum / the teacher / the manager?
•  Can I call you [first name] ?
•  Is it okay if I call you [the nickname you've heard others use] ?
•  What your name ? (use in a casual situation like a party or classroom where first names are used)
Formal Titles in English
In business situations , use formal titles unless the people you meet tell you otherwise. To get someone's attention you can say: "Excuse me, Sir" or "Pardon me, Madam/Ma'am." To greet someone you can say: "Hello Sir" or "Good morning, Madam/Ma'am."

1 comment: