Back to Index

Colloquial English

My colleague Daryl DeBell objects to the familiar, indeed cheeky use of first names: "We are fighting a losing battle I'm afraid. I have become more or less indifferent, but my wife is periodically incensed by people calling me by my first name. "You're a distinguished old man, and a doctor. They should be more respectful". Ha! Modern egalitarianism has leveled us all. I guess there are worse social evils, and I am still guilty of trading on "Doctor" to get people's attention, so I guess it works both ways". RH: It is the same in my family. I am inured to it, but my wife bristles, even more when young people call her "Mary". She is quite contrary. The familiarity does not indicate friendship. Even the "active" faculty pay no attention to the emeriti.

Ronald Hilton - 1/5/03