1. BruMeister
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    BruMeister Member

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    Addressing an adult (Medieval)

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by BruMeister, Dec 7, 2011.

    As I'm writing, I find myself getting a little stumped on small details. One detail is how a person (typically young) would address an adult. Now days we'd address a man as 'mister' and a woman as 'miss, mrs., or ms.'. I was curious if they did this in medieval times as well. I know, there was 'sir' for knights, 'lord' for lords, 'master' for a child or how an apprentice would acknowledge his master of trait. But how would a "commoner" address another "commoner"?
     
  2. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    Not sure if this is right,
    But I think it was common to offer honor if it was not known of the class of person to which you spoke.

    "Good, day my lord." "Good day, sir."
    It was no dishonor to the less then honorable, but one could not take back the mistake of not honoring a man of honor properly. Peasants should just know who their better is.
    Gentleman & gentlelady is also a possible alternative.
    "Excuse me, Gentlelady, Might I ask you a question?"

    Some one trying to show their superiority (or belittle someone) might address a person of honor in a derogitory title.

    "Excuse me, peasant." "You there, worker..." "You sir, where is your master?"
     
  3. Ixloriana
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    Ixloriana Member

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    A good option for this might be "sir" or "madam." "My lord" would not be appropriate for a commoner. "Goodman" or "goodwife" would be all right for most folk. "Gentleman" and "gentlelady" are really only appropriate for those "of gentle birth" -- nobility, knights, etc.

    How accurate do you want to get, though? I could go in-depth (I'm such a nerd, haha) but Googling "medieval terms of address" would probably get you all the info you need. :D
     
  4. seelifein69
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    seelifein69 Active Member

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    It's all about status. I'm no expert but in my opinion a child would address a rich looking man with great respect or by not speaking at all.

    "My Lord" if he is a lord.

    "Good Sir," If it is a wealthy man not of royalty.

    But I agree above, if you need exacts, Google is master.

    "My Lady" perhaps if it was a fair lass of class ;]

    But to a poor man, perhaps they would not say "Excuse me Sir, may I have an orange?" but maybe "Could I have an orange, please?" Not such a formal application but still with respect.

    But I'm pretty sure children are frowned upon when they speak when not spoken too, or out of turn, depending on the status of people around, I would say children's opinions do not matter. As far as "Hello Sir, thank you for having me at this feast." and "Thank you, Sir." I don't really see an adult having a conversation with a child (that they aren't familiar with).

    That's my view
     
  5. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    I hate when I work on a reply, and when editing backspace and it takes me to the previous window!

    It would depend on how easily it is to tell the difference between wealth and nobility. If any doubt, one would go with the more respectable.

    Also Gentleman and gentlelady could be either nobility or just a respected townsperson (depending on your world).
    Gentlelady is defined as (1) woman born of high social standing or (2) a gracious, considerate woman.

    I use the less strict titles.
    The young refer to any adult(other then low laborers) as my lord, good sir, or Gentlelady. They show respect to all.

    Question; officially, How would a young adult address an officer in the military if they do not know rank? (Assuming of course they are not royalty.)

    I do believe children were supposed to be seen and not heard, in most societies.
     

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