Madam Wong Soke Kuen was overjoyed that...

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Elaine Koh, May 16, 2017.

  1. Elaine Koh Senior Member

    Singapore English
    Do native speakers refer to a woman as 'Madam' in written form, for example Madam Wong Soke Kuen?

    Where I live, the following is used in written form:

    Madam Wong Soke Kuen was overjoyed that she has won the jackpot in the state lottery.

    Instead of 'Madam', what term is used by native speakers?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Glenfarclas Senior Member

    Chicago
    English (American)
    We generally refer to a woman as "Mrs." or "Ms." If you could describe a particular context then it would be easier to suggest what we might say.
     
  3. Elaine Koh Senior Member

    Singapore English
    Thanks, Glenfarcias, at the moment I don't have a particular context. Once I have it, I will post it.
     
  4. Elaine Koh Senior Member

    Singapore English
    Last edited: May 16, 2017
  5. Glenfarclas Senior Member

    Chicago
    English (American)
    What help do you need, exactly? :confused: Is there something you're trying to say that you don't know how to express?
     
  6. Elaine Koh Senior Member

    Singapore English
    Thanks, Glenfarcias.

    I was referring to your post 2 and my post 4.
     
  7. Glenfarclas Senior Member

    Chicago
    English (American)
    In general, do not use the structure "Madam [Name]" (as in "Madam Jane Smith").
     
  8. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I have the feeling, though, that it's quite common to use Madam in Chinese contexts. (Others will be better able to advise on that than I am.)
     
  9. Sparky Malarky

    Sparky Malarky Moderator

    Indiana
    English - US
    In the US, "Madam" is not used as an honorific. If an honorific is to be used for a woman, it is traditional to use "Miss" for an unmarried woman and "Mrs." (pronounced 'missus') for a married woman. The term "Ms." (pronounced 'miz') is used for a woman when we don't know whether she's married, or when we don't care.

    Ms. is used most commonly in business, and Mrs. might be used socially.

    We might use "Madam" as a title if we know the woman is addressed that way in her own culture, or if it is a direct translation of a title in another language.

    I believe that British and Australian English are the same.

    We might address a woman as "Madam," especially if we do not know her name. Not "Good morning, Madam Brubaker," but "Good morning, Madam." However, even this is unlikely, but I think it's more common in Britain.
     
  10. Elaine Koh Senior Member

    Singapore English
    In Singapore it is common for people and the woman herself to use her maiden name. So it is common to write, eg Madam Wong Soke Kuen when referring to the woman.

    Even our reporters write likewise, as can be seen in the second link, which also mentions Singapore's Prime Minister. I'm surprised the prime minister didn't point out the mistake to the reporter concerned. Or maybe he was unaware that it is not correct by Standard English.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2017
  11. Sparky Malarky

    Sparky Malarky Moderator

    Indiana
    English - US
    If this is the style in Singapore, that is the way it should be done - in Singapore. You will not find "Madam" used this way outside of Asia. An American newspaper would never refer to a local woman as "Madam Jane Smith." BUT if they were telling the interesting human-interest story of a memorable woman who lived and died in Singapore, they would probably refer to her as "Madam Wong Soke Kuen."
     
  12. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    I agree. I don't think I have seen Madam or Madame used as an honorific before a name except in a Francophone context or of Chinese women (including perhaps the Chinese diaspora).
    - This page refers to Madame Chiang Kai-shek or Madame Chiang Soong Mei-ling - Wikipedia
    - This page refers to Madame Mao Jiang Qing - Wikipedia
     
  13. kentix Senior Member

    English - U.S.
    Yes, titles are cultural issues, not language issues. They vary from place to place.
     
  14. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima (English Only)

    Singapore
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    It occupies a kind of middle ground between language and culture, and I think this is still a valid question for this forum. I confirm that the traditional title for a married woman in Singapore and Malaysia who uses her maiden surname is Madam, abbreviated to Mdm.

    Have a look at this earlier thread:
    Mdm (Madam) Tan
     
  15. kentix Senior Member

    English - U.S.
    I think it's valid to talk about, sure. And interesting. But I wouldn't go around telling someone in Singapore they're wrong because Americans use different titles.
     

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