Titles and forms of adressing one's boss

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Can somebody tell me what is the adopted form of addressing your boss, similar to the French 'patron' in Arabic (in various dialects)? I mean the way in which one could address a male or female boss and at the same time be perfectly prim.

I can think of several alternatives but in reality know nothing about the undertones they carry and rules of their usage.
 
  • Mahaodeh

    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    I really don't think there is any, at least not in any of the dialects I'm familiar with. I usually address my boss by his/her Kunyya if I want to be formal (Abu fulan, Umm fulan).
     

    knight_2004

    Member
    Arabic
    Can somebody tell me what is the adopted form of addressing your boss, similar to the French 'patron' in Arabic (in various dialects)? I mean the way in which one could address a male or female boss and at the same time be perfectly prim.

    I can think of several alternatives but in reality know nothing about the undertones they carry and rules of their usage.

    Addressing your boss in the Arab world has many forms, and it is very rare to call your boss by his/her first name or even last name. It is proper to address your boss by his/her profession.

    1. If he is a doctor, or has a PhD degree, you'd have to address him/her by Dr. x (د. س) in writing, where x is the first name and followed by the last name (not as in English "last name, first",) Or verbally by "Doctór" without the first name or last name, unless you wish to be specific, i.e., among a group of people, then it is "Doctór x." x, is his first name or his Konya.

    2. If s/he is an engineer, then in writing (م. س), means Engineer followed by the first name and last name. Verbally, it depends on the country where you work. It is usually accepted in many Arab countries to address him (باشمهندس) [Bash-Mohandis] for a male without the first or last name, and (مهندسة س) for a female with her first name. [Bash-Mohandis] is common in Egypt, but it is widely used in may Arab countries. In some countries, you can address him by (مهندس س) [Mohandis] with the first name (or Konya).

    3. If s/he is a lawyer (attorney), it is always (أستاذ س) [Usta-th] followed by the first name (or Konya). And for her (أستاذه س) [Usta-tha] with the first name. This is also proper if s/he has any other degree, especially in literature, etc.,

    If s/he does not have any academic degree, and you work at a professional place, or a medium to large size company, you may address him/her as in No. 3., unless the type of work requires to address him/her with a different phrase.

    Examples: In some construction companies, schools, technical work, and others you may address your boss (معلم س) [Moa'allem] with the first name for him. "Moa'allem," means teacher or trainer, or that he has more knowledge. For a female, it should be (ست س) [Sit x] with the first name. In some countries, you can address her (مس س) [Miss x]. Note: You may address your female boss by her first name or last name, or both, but never by her husband's last name as in Western countries. It simply does not exist in Arabic. So, you may want to avoid that. When a female gets married, she keeps her last name.

    4. In some situations, if you hold the same degree as your boss, i.e., an engineer, or a doctor, it may be proper to call him [Moa'allem] as if he always has more knowledge than you. But, No.1 and No. 2 are generally accepted.

    [Moa'allem] means teacher, or the one with more knowledge, but never call your female boss [Moa'allema.] It is always, Sit, Anesah or Miss. The word [moa'allemah] has a bad reputation in some places, and if pronounced in the wrong way or context, it could sound awkward.

    5. In some situations where the number of employees is small, and your boss has no degree or profession, you may call him by his 'Konya.' Konya in Arabic is Abu-x, where x is his first son's name, even if he does not have a son, he usually has a Konya. The same may be proper for a female boss [Um-x].
    So, if his son's first name is Abdullah, his Konya is Abu-Abdullah, and her Konya is Um-Abdullah.


    I hope this is helpful, but if you present a certain situation(s), I may be able to be more specific.
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Excellent post, knight :thumbsup: Welcome to the forum :)

    Allow me few comments:
    - First, regarding the "kunyas", I want to say that they're not widely used in Egypt, so if my boss has a son called Abdullah, I would never call him "Abu 3abdalla", this would be deemed to familiar in Egypt.

    1. If he is a doctor, or has a PhD degree, you'd have to address him/her [..] by "Doctór" without the first name or last name, unless you wish to be specific, i.e., among a group of people, then it is "Doctór x." x, is his first name or his Konya.
    Same in Egypt. If the boss is a "she", then we call her doctora. (the second "o" is long).
    2. If s/he is an engineer, then in writing (م. س), means Engineer followed by the first name and last name. Verbally, it depends on the country where you work. It is usually accepted in many Arab countries to address him (باشمهندس) [Bash-Mohandis] for a male without the first or last name, and (مهندسة س) for a female with her first name. [Bash-Mohandis] is common in Egypt, but it is widely used in may Arab countries. In some countries, you can address him by (مهندس س) [Mohandis] with the first name (or Konya).
    In Egypt, only bashmohandes (for male) and bashmohandesa (for female) are used. Mohandes(a) is only the title, like when speaking about the person (el mohandes folan/el mohandesa folana).
    3. If s/he is a lawyer (attorney), it is always (أستاذ س) [Usta-th] followed by the first name (or Konya). And for her (أستاذه س) [Usta-tha] with the first name. This is also proper if s/he has any other degree, especially in literature, etc.,
    ostaz and ostaza are the title for all those who are neither doctor, bashmohandes, a judge (addressed with seyadtak), a minister (ma3aalik).
    In some construction companies, schools, technical work, and others you may address your boss (معلم س) [Moa'allem] with the first name for him. [...] For a female, it should be (ست س) [Sit x] with the first name.
    me3allem and sett are not much used in Egypt these days. They are even considered as a bit offensive by some classes, even though their original usage was a very respectful one.

    In some countries, you can address her (مس س) [Miss x].
    In some places, specially foreign companies, men are addressed with (mister) followed by their first name, and rarely by the last name or the family name, and women are adressed with "miss" or "mademoiselle" (if they're not married) and "Mrs" or "madam" (if they are/were) also followed by their first name.
    Those female "titles" are used almost everywhere, not necessarily foreign. As long as the woman doesn't have an academic degree (doctor or engineer) she's adressed either as "Miss X" or "Mrs. X".
    Same goes for school teachers.
    4. In some situations, if you hold the same degree as your boss, i.e., an engineer, or a doctor, it may be proper to call him [Moa'allem] as if he always has more knowledge than you. But, No.1 and No. 2 are generally accepted.
    Never in Egypt.
     

    knight_2004

    Member
    Arabic
    Thank you cherine for the important notes about Egyptian way of addressing, and for welcoming me to the forum.

    In my previous reply, I was generally speaking about Eastern Arab countries dialect (Levantine Arabic) when addressing a "boss" or a manager at work. I have mentioned Egypt and Egyptian words because some words are borrowed from the Egyptian dialect, like (Bash-Mohandis). My knowledge of Egyptian dialect is very little. It is what I've learned from TV, and from Egyptian work-colleagues, who probably adopted some of the Levantine dialects while working abroad.

    Let me comment on your comments to clarify the Eastern Arab way of addressing a 'boss', so the reader would get a clear picture, and I will emphasize that it is an Eastern Arab (Levantine) dialect this time. I hope someone from Western Arab (Moroccan) would fill the gap.

    - First, regarding the "kunya's", I want to say that they're not widely used in Egypt, so if my boss has a son called Abdullah, I would never call him "Abu 3abdalla", this would be deemed to familiar in Egypt.
    Thank you. It is very clear to me know.
    In Levantine Arabic on theother hand, (الكنية) Konya is a necessity; and, it shows respect even if the man has no children, has only girls, or not even married. He usually has a Konya. It may start by calling him Abu-x, where x is his father's name, or by a well known Konya for certain names; borrowed from the past (near history or family records), culture or history, etc. An example, if a man's name is (إبراهيم) Ibrahim, he is automatically called (أبو خليل) Abu-Khaleel, until he changes it, and emphasizes on being called something else. There is a long list in this regard. The same thing about Konya is true in Saudi-Arabia and most of the Gulf states. In general (at work or elsewhere,) If the man is older (above thirties,) then calling him by his first name (or last name) in public is disrespect. He might not answer you. The case is even worse if the person is a female.
    It is not proper to call your own sister by her first name in public. It is always, "my sister" [ya-khty] (يا أختي)

    Imagine a man shouting in a loud voice, calling a female name in the middle of the street of an Arab city!
    Probably, everyone in the street would be looking in the direction of his call. :)
    Simply it is a custom, an etiquette and a way to address a female. The same is true but in a different manner for a male. If someone is calling in a loud voice a male name, then everyone would expect to find a kid in the direction of the call. This is at least in Levantine Arabic (Eastern Countries.)


    Same in Egypt. If the boss is a "she", then we call her doctora. (the second "o" is long).
    True! I forgot to mention [Doctóra] for a female doctor.

    In Egypt, only bashmohandes (for male) and bashmohandesa (for female) are used. Mohandes(a) is only the title, like when speaking about the person (el mohandes folan/el mohandesa folana).
    In Levantine Arabic, (باشمهندس) [Bash-Mohandis] is borrowed from the Egyptian Dialect, but only for a male engineer. You address a male engineer directly by [Bash-Mohandis] without the first name, or followed by the first name when among a group of engineers. For a female engineer, it is (مهندسة س) [Mohandisah] followed always with the first name. [Bash-Mohandisah] (f) is not used. [Mohandis] (m) is used for indirect addressing or for direct formal addressing (as in a meeting.)

    ostaz and ostaza are the title for all those who are neither doctor, bashmohandes, a judge (addressed with seyadtak), a minister (ma3aalik).
    in Levantine Arabic, (أستاذ) and (أستاذة) [Osta-th] and [Osta-tha] ("th"and "tha" as in the English word "the") for a male and female addressee respectively, especially if being addressed by a male. If the speaker is a female, she may address her boss by (أستاز ، أستازه) [Ustaz] / [Ustaza] with a "z" sound at the end instead of "th." This is specific to the Southern part of Levantine Arabic. In the North a "z" sound at the end may be spoken by a male or a female.

    [Ma'aalik] in Egypt.
    Well, (معاليكو) [Ma'aaliko] or (معاليكم) [Ma'aalikom] (depending on the region) is the way to address a minister in Levantine Arabic; especially, if the minister or government official -even if he is a retired figure- had been granted the [Ma'aali] status (رتبة المعالي) by the government. Both words are in plural form, and are proper for a female minister too. For a female minster or government figure, only if she was granted the [Ma'aali] status.

    (باشا) [Basha] is a government/military status; but, you may address your male boss with (يا ياشا) [ya Basha] even if he does not posses the status "Basha." For a female, there is no [Basha] even if she were granted such a status. [Basha] is a masculine word and it is not proper to address a female with [basha].


    [Seyadat]
    In Levantine Arabic: For a Judge, (سيادة القاضي) [Seyadet El-Qaadi] (m/f) is used to address a judge indirectly (when speaking at the general at court). (Seyadat is MSA, Seyadet is Levantine)

    (سيّدي القاضي) [Sayyidi El-Qaadi] (m/f) (the "y" is stressed) and it is equal to "Your honor" in English, for the begining of a sentence. It is used when you address a Judge directly.
    (سيادتكو) [Seyadit-ko] or (سيادتكم) [Seyadit-kom] (depending on the region) is used in the middle/end of a sentence, and it is proper for (m/f) for direct addressing or in writing.
    (Seyadati-kom is MSA, Seyadit-ko / Seyadit-kom are Levantine.)


    (يا سيدي) [Ya Seedi] or [Seedi] means the same as [Sayyidi] but it is not proper at court. [Ya Seedi] or [Seedi] may be accpted from very old people (usually have very serious-looking faces) or from people with lower education. If you are educated or look professional to some degree, then [Ya Seedi] sounds as if you are joking, or addressing a close-friend. The consequences may be bad, even if you look serious. It could sound as a street slang.


    me3allem and sett are not much used in Egypt these days. They are even considered as a bit offensive by some classes, even though their original usage was a very respectful one.
    And about Moa'allem...
    Never in Egypt.
    It is the same in Levantine Arabic. [ya Moa'allem] (يا معلـّم) generally used to address anyone without a degree, and also a lower level education. It has also been used for a long time in technical work, construction work, addressing a car mechanic, etc. As you've said, Moa'allem was used in a respected way; it literally means instructor or teacher, and also means master (in technical form,) and it is still used in written Arabic in that regard. Well, Moa'allem as a spoken word has changed in many parts of the Arab world.

    But, specifically in the North (Lebanon and Syria), [El-Moa'allem x] (المعلـّم س) is used to address a male doctor, or a male engineer boss. It is used when two doctors are working close together. You (and only if you are a doctor) may address your boss doctor inside a clinic or in the operation room by [Moa'allem x].
    Or as an example, a group of engineers working together; if you are an engineer, then you may address your boss-engineer [El-Moa'allem x]. Outside the work area, and among other people, you address him [Doctór], or [Bash-Mohandis.] This way of addressing your boss has been transmitted to the southern parts of Levantine Arabic (Jordan and Palestine.) In some major engineering firms and clinics this is being emphasized.
    For a female Doctor or Engineer, [Moa'allema] is not used.


    In some places, specially foreign companies, men are addressed with (mister) followed by their first name, and rarely by the last name or the family name, and women are adressed with "miss" or "mademoiselle" (if they're not married) and "Mrs" or "madam" (if they are/were) also followed by their first name.
    Those female "titles" are used almost everywhere, not necessarily foreign. As long as the woman doesn't have an academic degree (doctor or engineer) she's adressed either as "Miss X" or "Mrs. X".
    Same goes for school teachers.
    The same is almost true in Levantine Arabic. "Mister x," "mademoiselle x," are used only in foreign companies working locally. Otherwise, if your boss is Arabian then "Mister," "mademoiselle," are not used.

    "Madam" [Madaam] ]is used only to address your boss' wife in the presence of her husband (your boss, or co-worker.) It shows respect to your boss, and it is not followed by a first name or any name. On the contrary, you always act as if you don't know her name.

    If you address your boss' daughter by [Madaam], then you could call it a bad day.

    If you wish to address your boss' wife while she is not present. i.e., "How are you and your wife?" It is always proper to say "the madam" instead of "Madam x" or "your wife."
    So, it is always "the Madam" (المدام) [El-Madam].
    How is the Madam and the kids? [Kaif El-Madam wel-Awlad?] (كيف المدام والأولاد؟)
    You don't say, "how is your kids?" or "how is your madam?"

    [Miss x] (مس س) is used to address your female boss even if she is married. (Levantine etiquette)
    [Sett x] (ست س) is used to address your female co-worker if she was married, and you could use [miss x] also.
    x=first name.
    [Madam] is rarely used.
     

    Mahaodeh

    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    First, regarding the "kunyas", I want to say that they're not widely used in Egypt, so if my boss has a son called Abdullah, I would never call him "Abu 3abdalla", this would be deemed to familiar in Egypt.
    Interesting, I didn't know that! I'm used to considering the kunyya a very formal mode of speech; I hope I haven’t offended any Egyptians I've spoken with!!
    me3allem and sett are not much used in Egypt these days. They are even considered as a bit offensive by some classes.
    That too I didn't know, I thought they are common judging by their extensive use in Egyptian movies and TV shows. In Iraq, sitt is the most formal way to address an unmarried woman, the married one would be called by her kunyya; school teachers are called sitt whether she is married or not.

    Mu3allem, on the other hand, is not used at all; they use ustath pronounced in "slang". So, the university professor is Ustath أستاذ, and the plumber is staad ستاد.

    The same thing about Konya is true in Saudi-Arabia and most of the Gulf states.
    In Iraq too.
    In Levantine Arabic, (باشمهندس) [Bash-Mohandis] is borrowed from the Egyptian Dialect, but only for a male engineer]
    This I have to disagree with. I've worked in Jordan for four years, I've worked in a construction company where the owner and 85% of the engineers are Palestinian/Jordanian (including the owner) for seven years; the only time I hear باشمهندس is when someone is joking, usually he/she also tries to speak with an Egyptian accent.

    The kunyya is the common way of addressing your boss even if he's an engineer.

    [Seyadat]
    In Levantine Arabic: For a Judge, (سيادة القاضي) [Seyadet El-Qaadi] (m/f) is used to address a judge indirectly (when speaking at the general at court). (Seyadat is MSA, Seyadet is Levantine)
    That applies in Iraq too.

    (يا سيدي) [Ya Seedi] or [Seedi] means the same as [Sayyidi] but it is not proper at court. [Ya Seedi] or [Seedi] may be accepted... etc.
    I'd just like to add that sayyidi (the proper way of pronouncing it as in MSA) is used by military and semi-military (police, intelligence, civil defense...etc.) professions to address their superiors. In Iraq (only as far as I know) this extends to very high government officials such as ministers and of course, the president.
     

    knight_2004

    Member
    Arabic
    ... I've worked in a construction company where the owner and 85% of the engineers are Palestinian/Jordanian (including the owner) for seven years; the only time I hear باشمهندس is when someone is joking, usually he/she also tries to speak with an Egyptian accent.

    The kunyya is the common way of addressing your boss even if he's an engineer.


    Well, I have to agree with you and also disagree at the same time; and I will explain.

    In my previous replies, I tried to explain the general forms of addressing a "boss" in Levantine Arabic; and, I've also mentioned that sometimes it depends on the firm/company. In some places, they may stress on certain addressing codes; and in other places it may be left up to you. If it is left up to you, then the general forms are usually accepted.

    Please consider that I am speaking about Levatine Arabic and specifically here about Jordan. I don't know how it is in Iraq, and I am not sure if Iraq is considered Levatine (someone may be able to correct me here.)

    You have to remember that some people are annoyed (even irritated) if you don't address them in the proper way, even though they might not show it. Some others might let you know right away, and some may point at their patches to let you know. The point here is that it is almost in all cases disrespectful. Even when two brothers are working together; unless they are in a private room, they would address each others in a professional manner.

    Suppose you address a medical doctor by [ustath] or [Moa'allem] in a work place! Well, if he is a professor medical doctor at medical college, and you are a medical doctor student, this would be accepted. Otherwise, it is not accepted at any other situation in the professional field. S/he may smile or be polite, but they won't be happy.

    Personal experience is another thing, and it is not a general rule.
    On a personal level, I also worked in Jordan. Here is my comments on my personal experience:

    1. In a major contracting firm in Jordan, with more than 1,000 workers at any given time during 6 years.
    This firm is ranked among the largest 25 contractor companies worldwide. The only proper way of addressing anyone in that firm was [Moa'allem.] You address your "boss" [Moa'allem,] you address all the male workers under you [Moa'allem] and it is the only way accepted to address anyone from the area-manager, project manager, office engineer, site engineer, male secretary all the way to the drivers and small laborers. Their "statement" was that everyone is a master [Moa'allem] at his trade. It felt as if you were in a communist company where everyone is a comrade. But, it was perfectly fine. All the new personnel would address each others, Mohandis, Bash-Mohandis, Ustath, Ustaz, etc., but within a couple of weeks they learn the word [Moa'allem] and they stick to it. The company has offices and projects worldwide and everyone is addressed [Moa'allem,] even foreigners Britons, Americans, Indians, etc. They all dropped the word "mister" by time, and learned the word [Moa'allem,] unless they worked temporarily and for a short time. So, you'd hear, [Moa'allem Smith], [Moa'allem John], [Moa'allem Omar], [Moa'allem Kumar], etc.

    2. In another work place in Jordan, [Bash-Mohandis,] and [Mohandis] were used to address all male engineers.

    3. At the engineers union or (Jordan Engineers Association) (نقابة المهندسين), all the male engineers were addressed [Bash-Mohandis] in a direct form (verbally), in meetings, dinners, Ramadhan Iftar's, festivals, etc., and the female engineers were addressed [Mihandeseh x], where x is the first name or "Konya" (if she is older.)

    The above are three examples. Probably the most significant and most professional in my experience was number 1, for it was a big company, the project values were enormous, and it is an International company (the founders are Lebanese), but the word [Moa'allem] was limited to the borders of the work place; i.e., outside the projects and offices, it was a different story. So, it cannot be used as the general rule here.


    You mentioned the military as an example for [Sayyidi] or "sir."
    Well, the military may not be a good example for Arabic-addressing forms, for one reason; when you speak about the military, you'd always ask for the meaning of two words, "sir" and "dismiss". (سيدي و إنصراف)

    In the military, the higher rank (boss) is always addressed by "sir" or "Sayyidi", and the lower rank is always addressed by his/her rank-name when addressed by a higher rank. If both hold the same rank, then it is generally guided by the lineal seniority. This holds true for most military force worldwide. That's why it is not a perfect example. But, it can be as an example of where addressing forms are strictly enforced (by rules and punishment.) You'd find the same codes in the U.S. army, Egyptian, Jordanian, Northern, Southern, etc.,
     

    Mahaodeh

    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    I don't know how it is in Iraq, and I am not sure if Iraq is considered Levatine
    Oh no, of course it's not Levantine and I'm not trying to claim so, I was just pointing out similarities/differences.

    Suppose you address a medical doctor by [ustath] or [Moa'allem] in a work place! ...etc.
    I know what you mean, you have to be really familiar and intimate with that doctor to call him moallem :)

    The above are three examples. Probably the most significant and most professional in my experience was number 1
    I must admit that calling everyone moualem sounds strange to me. Sure, you do call your boss and your subordinate that from time to time; but formally? like the managing director too? I don't think I'd be happy called that in a high-level meeting with prospective clients/partners; I'd rather my subordinate called me by my first name.

    I’m not questioning your experience of course, I’m just saying that it doesn’t seem really formal, it seems much more casual to me. On the other hand, the construction industry is one of the most casual industries in terms of relationships with people; from the mode of address, mode of dress (how many of those 1000 people you worked with came to work in suite? How many of those were Armani, compare that to a bank),

    Well, the military may not be a good example for Arabic-addressing forms, for one reason; when you speak about the military, you'd always ask for the meaning of two words, "sir" and "dismiss". (سيدي وإنصراف)
    Why would you just pick on these two words? I'm sure you can find a few dozen more that are not common in everyday speech (مكانك راوح - استرح - عرضات)

    I was just giving another alternative, don't forget that it also exists in the police and they are much less strict and more relaxed.
     

    Nikola

    Senior Member
    English - American
    This is an interesting thread and shows how the same language can have different cultural uses.
     

    knight_2004

    Member
    Arabic
    (About Iraq)

    Oh no, of course it's not Levantine and I'm not trying to claim so, I was just pointing out similarities/differences.
    I was not referring to you. I was referring to my lack of knowledge of Iraqi forms of addressing. That's why I asked if Iraq was part of Levantine when I was speaking about Levantine Arabic in general.

    I must admit that calling everyone moualem sounds strange to me. Sure, you do call your boss and your subordinate that from time to time; but formally? like the managing director too? I don't think I'd be happy called that in a high-level meeting with prospective clients/partners; I'd rather my subordinate called me by my first name.
    It is one example of a company's form of addressing code. Besides that, I mentioned it was found by Lebanese. [Mo'allem] word is more respected in Lebanon than the rest of levantine


    The word [Moa'allem] in MSA means "teacher," "instructor," "schoolteacher," and other similar meanings; all with high respect.
    It is still used in this form in written Arabic and in formal speech.

    The problem with the word [Moa'allem] is in spoken Arabic in some part of the Arab world. The word has been overused, and it also depends on how it is pronounced in the different dialects and also within the same dialect.

    For example when you add a definite article to the word, it becomes "The teacher," and in MSA [Al-Moa'allem.]
    In local Levantine dialects, it is pronounced [El-M'allem,] [Le-M'allem.] With this sound, the word has been used in all trades, especially without a definite article [M'allem]. From a schoolteacher, to a carpenter, car mechanic, brick-layer, etc. When used with a definite article [El-M'allem] means the owner of the shop, the master mechanic, or the one with higher rank in the same trade. i.e., anyone calls his boss [El-M'allem] even if the boss is a corner grocery-store owner (i.e., where no education or training involved.)
    Within a group of mechanics, each is [M'allem] individually, but when working together, each is [Mikaneeki] "mechanic," and their boss is [Le-M'allem.] When you approach a group of construction workers, you may address a sigle worker and say, "good morning boss," [صباح الخير يا معلم] but when you ask about the manager you say, "where is the boss?" [وين لـِـمعلـّـم]. Hence, any group could be described in this way. A group of professional people (doctors, engineers, etc.) or a group of gangsters, thieves, etc. Each one is [Haraami] "thief" and the boss is [Le-M'allem.]

    Now, as described above, the word [Le-M'allem] is generally used in this form all over the Levantine Arabic, but in some parts, the word [Le-M'allem] is still considered and used of high respect, especially in the Northern parts (Lebanon and most parts of Syria) where it is usually used as [Le-M'allem x,] x is a first name or [Konya.] It is very common to hear [Ya M'allem] when someone addresses his friend in Lebanon, where it is not common in Jordan, Palestine (southern parts,) Syria (some parts.)

    I have seen medical doctors working in the same clinic, addressing each other [Ya-M'allem] or [El-M'allem], especially if one is younger or with less experience; even in front of patients. This is common in Syria and Lebanon. It is not common in Jordan, but it does exist.



    (how many of those 1000 people you worked with came to work in suite? How many of those were Armani, compare that to a bank),

    Armani ?
    Please don't tell me that the Pakistani Oils sold at Al-Mohajireen Bridge [جسر المهاجرين] in Amman's downtown is not a fashion statement anymore!? And also, that fish key-chain clipped to the belt-loop of a jeans pants... no more in style? :eek:

    Well, I agree with you. On the construction site, you don't wear a 3-pc. suite (although Armani is fine,) and dressing is usually casual. But, there are daily meetings on site, in the offices, in regional offices, and also other meetings where formal suites, etc., is required. Still the addressing forms are not different. It depends on the company and the code. The way you address your boss at work, is the same way you address him in meetings.
     

    Abu Talha

    Senior Member
    Urdu
    Hello,
    In MSA, Is it acceptable (and preferred) to address a female person formally with 2nd person masculine plural pronouns and conjugations?

    فعلتم ، تفعلون، افعلوا ، إليكم ، etc.

    If not, are singular feminine constructions considered ok?

    Thank you
     
    Last edited:

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    I would say the singular feminine is more than ok, it's the correct and more natural form to address a singular female person. Using the plural is too formal and can/is used in writing, but never in speech as far as I know (except maybe in rare occasions?).
     

    Abu Talha

    Senior Member
    Urdu
    Thanks!

    Just to be clear, when the plural is used in writing to address a senior female person, it is the masculine plural, not the feminine plural, correct?
     
    Last edited:

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Yes, the masculine plural. Example:
    سيادة المديرة،
    أرجو من سيادتكم الموافقة على كذا..

    I would personally only use this in writing, I don't know if there are people who do this in spoken language.
     

    Mahaodeh

    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    I don't know if there are people who do this in spoken language.
    Well, if she was the president of the country, a senior minister, a very high level judge, or a high level religious a scholar and she was in a formal TV interview, they might :D . Emphasys on high level of course.
     

    Abu Talha

    Senior Member
    Urdu
    Is there culturally an asymmetry then, between addressing a female using the masculine plural vs addressing a male?

    For example, if a woman addresses a man using the masculine plural, and the woman is superior in qualification and role (but not at the level of a president, judge, etc.), then should the man respond back with the masculine plural, or feminine singular?
     

    Aliph

    Senior Member
    Italian (North)
    Hi everybody, interesting thread. I know some of the participants are gone, but others are still here :)
    I have a general question. What is the meaning of the س after the .د and the .م ? ( post 3)
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    I have a general question. What is the meaning of the س after the .د and the .م ? ( post 3)
    The س is like X in English and other "western" languages. The د is dr. (short of doctor دكتور) and the م is short of مهندس.

    Well, if she was the president of the country, a senior minister, a very high level judge, or a high level religious a scholar and she was in a formal TV interview, they might :D . Emphasys on high level of course.
    Yes, that's possible. But it would still feel convoluted. :)
    Is there culturally an asymmetry then, between addressing a female using the masculine plural vs addressing a male?

    For example, if a woman addresses a man using the masculine plural, and the woman is superior in qualification and role (but not at the level of a president, judge, etc.), then should the man respond back with the masculine plural, or feminine singular?
    If his position is higher, he'd most certainly use the feminine singular, unless if he's one of those super polite people who treat people as respectfully or even more respectfully that they treat them.

    But I still believe that using the plural in speech is rare and artificial. For example, if I can remember correctly from videos where the former first lady of Egypt was visiting a place or another, people would treat her with utmost respect, but still use the singular feminine form, not the masculine plural.
     
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