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Old 05-15-2008, 11:10 AM
 
Location: The place where the road & the sky collide
19,643 posts, read 24,493,318 times
Reputation: 7602

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MzMiss123 View Post
Could someone help me understand the usage of "Yes, Ma'am / Sir" and "No, Ma'am /Sir"? Having moved here from PA, I immediately noticed that people in NC said "Yes, Ma'am" to me. And it wasn't just young children.....adults have said it to me, too.

Thoughts:

- Is it an age thing? (i.e., Younger people say it to people who are clearer older than them?) If so, then why have "middle-aged" men & women said it to me? I'm only in my late 30's!!!

- Does anyone think it sounds subservient.....and/or has racial undertones (from the days of slavery)?

- Or, is it just a very polite way of addressing people?


I've since picked up the habit in the short time that I've lived here. But I want to make sure that I don't offend anyone by saying "Yes, Ma'am / Sir" to them. Would someone from the South think it sounds funny coming from a Northerner? That is, I don't exactly have the right accent and all....!!!
I was brought up in Michigan to say Yes/No Ma'm/Sir. My mother & other adults addressed strangers that way, too. I have lived in South Jersey for most of my life where it is not said.

It's courtesy.

 
Old 05-15-2008, 11:12 AM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC
714 posts, read 1,826,535 times
Reputation: 462
If someone with a "Northern" accent says it, I just assume they were in the military.

(Or, yes, were just raised to be polite.)
 
Old 05-15-2008, 11:20 AM
 
4 posts, read 54,848 times
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I think it shows good manners, no doubt. Growing up, had I not said "Yes ma'am" and "No, ma'am" I would have got my hiney beat.
 
Old 05-15-2008, 11:49 AM
 
Location: The place where the road & the sky collide
19,643 posts, read 24,493,318 times
Reputation: 7602
Quote:
Originally Posted by SunnyKayak View Post
I was at conference over the weekend at Myrtle Beach and I was going thru the snack table and a lady ask me a question and I said No Ma'am and she took offense to it.

She proclaim hey I am not much older than you and I have not even look at her yet.
I do not say yes sir, no ma'am base on age but rather out of politeness no matter how much older or younger you are to me. I told her I am sorry it just my southern ways and left it at that. I am not changing the respectful way I was brought up because someone in insecure with their age.
Sunny, I was brought up to say Yes/No Sir/Ma'm in Mchigan.

When the family moved to South Jersey I quickly learned to drop it because it was offending people. I say that when these people move to the south they can adopt the custom or not, but that woman was out-right rude. Your response was more tactful than she deserved.

When I get moved, I will resume using it & if another Yankee dares to say a thing to me......
 
Old 05-15-2008, 11:59 AM
 
Location: The place where the road & the sky collide
19,643 posts, read 24,493,318 times
Reputation: 7602
Quote:
Originally Posted by faina00 View Post
People older than me say "Yes Ma'am" to me all the time. It's been happening since I was in my 20's. I don't really care, its silly to be offended by it.

What DOES bother me is when complete strangers (usually Southern accented women) say hun, honey, baby, etc to me! I don't know you! This fake sweetness is quite annoying!
LOL, In the Philadelphia area, they are offended by Yes/No Sir/Ma'm, but they will "Hun" you to death. It's harmless.
 
Old 06-08-2008, 11:23 AM
 
Location: The 12th State
22,974 posts, read 55,993,765 times
Reputation: 14853
Southerners was brought up on manners because it distinguish what class of person you was.

Men and woman get further up class levels by using proper manners. A good hand shake can tell you alot about a person if they are passive, assertive or just take care of their hands.

Kids addressing adults with yes maam and no sir shows not only respect for adults but better treatment and development as a productive member in society keeping their morals in check. For instance you are not going to have many manners from prisoners in this state so why not raise your kids with respect of authority so that this will last them a life time.

Boys should know when to stand up or sit down and when to wear a hat and removing the hat in certain situations.

A good book on correct etiquette is Stand Up, Shake Hands, Say "How Do You Do"

With the aid of this unique book, a boy can easily learn or be taught what he needs to know about table manners, introductions, going to parties or giving them, being a houseguest or entertaining one, traveling, restaurants, going to sporting events, writing letters and thank-yous easily and quickly, and above all else, about being an admired and loved member of his own family.
 
Old 06-11-2009, 09:51 AM
 
Location: North of Hell, South of Heaven.
310 posts, read 561,468 times
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I'm with the rest of you - It's definitely a good thing, and a little sad to see this tradition going the way of the Dinosaurs with a lot of children, and even adults. It has nothing to do with age, it has everything to do with manners and addressing adults/bosses/superiors/authority figures with respect and courtesy. Almost every job I've gotten, after I had blended in my boss always said "I gave you the job because you came in and gave me a good firm handshake and said yes sir no sir yes ma'am no ma'am." In this era of "anything goes" it's refreshing to see all you like-minded people here Manners and good Southern Etiquette don't have to die out, it's up to people like us in this thread to carry on!
 
Old 06-11-2009, 05:04 PM
 
Location: Boone, NC
1,153 posts, read 3,032,683 times
Reputation: 282
I was born in AZ, raised in Northern CA since the age of 2. I left California a little over 3 years ago and moved to Johnson City, TN and now live in Boone. I'm 40 years old now. I was not raised to use "ma'am" and "sir" when addressing people. Doesn't mean I'm not polite, you can be polite without using those words. Doesn't mean I'm disrespectful. It just means living out in California I was not around "ma'am" and "sir".

A couple years ago I had a job as a customer service rep at a customer service center in the Tri Cities area. I noticed all my co-workers around me used "ma'am" and "sir" when addressing people on the phone. I never did. It sounded funny to hear myself say it, I was not used to saying it and had no intention of starting. Still have no intention of starting. I've always hoped that others around me have never thought I was rude or disrespectful for not using "ma'am" and "sir". I'm very polite and courteous, really I am! I've had people address me as "sir" at work, even people older than me. I know it's from their upbringing. If they didn't address me as "sir", I wouldn't be offended or feel disrespected.

Funny thing is, though, I rarely address people using their names anyway. At work, when picking up the phone after having someone on hold, I'll say "Thank you for holding, I'm sorry to keep you waiting" and go on from there.

Different strokes for different folks, I guess.
 
Old 06-11-2009, 07:10 PM
 
646 posts, read 1,743,183 times
Reputation: 455
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattman704 View Post
I'm with the rest of you - It's definitely a good thing, and a little sad to see this tradition going the way of the Dinosaurs with a lot of children, and even adults. It has nothing to do with age, it has everything to do with manners and addressing adults/bosses/superiors/authority figures with respect and courtesy. Almost every job I've gotten, after I had blended in my boss always said "I gave you the job because you came in and gave me a good firm handshake and said yes sir no sir yes ma'am no ma'am." In this era of "anything goes" it's refreshing to see all you like-minded people here Manners and good Southern Etiquette don't have to die out, it's up to people like us in this thread to carry on!
I've seen some of the nastiest adults and kids be able to 'ma'm/sir' you to death.

It really shows NOTHING about actual charecter and manners. Give me a good, polite person and I really don't care if they never say ma'm/sir in their lives.

On the other side of the coin, all the superficial 'manners' in the world won't hide a snotty attitude and a mean disposition.

But hey, if ya'll want to deal with nasty peices of work because they know how to mouth a few polite words....bless you heart, you are welcome to them.
 
Old 06-12-2009, 09:25 AM
 
Location: North Carolina
1,077 posts, read 2,975,837 times
Reputation: 881
I always say it to older people. The only time I reply Sir/Mam to people my age or younger is if it's business related. I'm 23 and if my waitress at a restaurant is only 16 or 17 years old, I still say yes mam and no mam. My children will do the same. Just a type of southern respect I guess.

Last edited by gman6974; 06-12-2009 at 09:34 AM..
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