A Word With Mrs Vast

Ma'am
harkovast at 5:05AM, Feb. 20, 2009
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‘Ma’am’ is only one word, after all. At three am post-posting, Mr. Harkovast and I had a serious discussion about the word ‘ma’am’ and how it is different to Americans and the English. As you probably know, I am an American living in England (God help me) and Mr. Vast is English (God help him.)

As used in the most recent post (block 5, Sir Muir introduces himself), ‘ma’am’ in England is pronounced as Americans would say ‘Mom.’ He tried to tell me it was pronouced ‘Marm,’ which rhymes with ‘harm’ to us Americans. But since the English don’t seem to make a sound for their R’s when occurring in that type of word (fart sounds like fahhht to us), they actually pronounce ‘Marm’ like ‘Mahm’ or as I said ‘Mom.’

The English ‘ma’am’ is used as a high level of respect, in context of butler v. privileged pretty boy employer. If you have seen Wooster and Jeeves, then you will know that Jeeves consistently refers to women of higher rank as ‘ma’am’ (pronounced as American ‘mom’ or English ‘marm’.) This is where it starts to gets fun.

Apparently the accent in which the English ‘ma’am’ is said is the Southern English Accent. For my fellow Americans, the South of England is where all the poncy snobs live. (Living in the North, I am obligated to say that.) So the Southerner in England would say ‘ma’am’ to imply some type of upper class respect, whilst the American Southern ‘ma’am’ uttered from freckled faced child would imply, 1) you are in a one room school house or, 2) you have just got your change for a hot dog you bought at the demolition derby. This is not to imply that Sir Muir is a snobby Southern Englisher. Mr. Vast has used it simply to exhibit the medieval respect that S. M. would have given to a lady at that time.

I guess the reason mothers in England are called ‘Mum’ instead of ‘Mom’ is simply because Mom sounds too much like ‘Ma’am’ and mothers weren’t having it. But if a good Southern Mama likes to be called ‘ma’am’ in America I don’t know why the same isn’t true over here—imagine this conversation as it got toward half three (that means three-thirty for you Americans, but that is for another discussion.)

For more Harkovast related goings on, go to the Harkovast Forum
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
confusedsoul at 3:18PM, Feb. 21, 2009
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To me, ma'am and mum don't have a similar phonetic quality. The pronounciation of the word ma'am can be either “mahm” or “mam”, depending on where you live. It seems to be mainly “mahm” around the South-East (I live in the more southerly region of the UK, and it's definitely around London and the bigger cities that they get snootier ^^;). For example, my old school used to have us refer to the female staff as ma'am (pronounced “mam” down here). It was meant to be respectful, but it really just saved the students from bothering to remember their names.

I suppose the pronounciation might be more dependant on how you'd pronounce “madam”, seeing as that's the contraction. But then, I use “mam” and pronounce madam as “maduhm” rather than “madahm” or “madam”. Might be a matter of personal choice.

I always thought the American pronounciation of Mom was more like “Mawm/Mawhm” (it's difficult trying to express the vowel sound). I think the English “mum” is a combination of mama and mother. Hmmm. It's not something I've really thought about.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
harkovast at 1:58AM, Feb. 25, 2009
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Thank you for the helpful comments re. ma'am. I am trying to type this with a 7 month old on my lap lunging for the keyboard. I don't often come on line during the day because I have three very little children. (And a pan of porridge boiling over, brb!)
I'll be back soon to tell you why I think comic animals are so….how do I put it…
Furry!!!!
—-julie
now how do i upload a picture on here?

For more Harkovast related goings on, go to the Harkovast Forum
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
confusedsoul at 3:19PM, Feb. 27, 2009
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If you haven't had that question answered elsewhere, then you can upload images as a file under the “file” setting on the comic, copy the HTML and paste it with the image links around the address. The the image should show up!
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
Ironscarf at 9:17PM, March 13, 2009
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Speaking as a poncy southern snob, I have to say I cannot hear any similarity between ma'am, mum or the American mom. The reason some mothers in England are called mum is because that is what they have always been called, long before Americans were invented and decided that football was something to do with socks.

I hope this helps to clear things up! Chin up, best foot forward, shoulder to the wheel, nose to the grindstone and metaphors to the mixer.
 
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
harkovast at 4:33PM, March 14, 2009
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ironscarf
long before Americans were invented and decided that football was something to do with socks.

You have a point about Mum being what mothers are called in England a long time before America became America. I forgot you guys came first. Apologies about the Southern Ponce thing, I hope you can move North soon.
American football is decidely homosexual but I can't figure where the socks come in. White Socks? Red socks? That's baseball. There was an American player who used to kick goals in his bare feet. American football is boring to watch maybe that's why they grab eachother on the arse so much. Oh yeah, and there was that half-time wardrobe malfunction via Jackson/Timberlake. Well worth it. (If you like old booby.)
The only good football in America is soccer played by Latino players from Mexico or any South or Central American countries. We got the world cup a few years back in America on a Spanish channel and it was very exciting to watch though we didn't speak the language.
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLL!!!!!!!!
We tuned into an English speaking American channel to watch it and the guys commentating were audibly picking the wax out of their ears and commenting on it. Not really, but it was that interesting.

For more Harkovast related goings on, go to the Harkovast Forum
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
confusedsoul at 2:28AM, July 31, 2009
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harkovast
ironscarf
long before Americans were invented and decided that football was something to do with socks.

You have a point about Mum being what mothers are called in England a long time before America became America. I forgot you guys came first. Apologies about the Southern Ponce thing, I hope you can move North soon.
American football is decidely homosexual but I can't figure where the socks come in. White Socks? Red socks? That's baseball. There was an American player who used to kick goals in his bare feet. American football is boring to watch maybe that's why they grab eachother on the arse so much. Oh yeah, and there was that half-time wardrobe malfunction via Jackson/Timberlake. Well worth it. (If you like old booby.)
The only good football in America is soccer played by Latino players from Mexico or any South or Central American countries. We got the world cup a few years back in America on a Spanish channel and it was very exciting to watch though we didn't speak the language.
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLL!!!!!!!!
We tuned into an English speaking American channel to watch it and the guys commentating were audibly picking the wax out of their ears and commenting on it. Not really, but it was that interesting.

Why is it called soccer over there? As far as I know, no where else calls football soccer.

As much as I dislike any and all sports, I prefer watching Rugby to American football, which (physically, I don't know the rules of either) I consider the closest in terms of action. Rugby players don't need all that padding, either, they're bred for no-necks and muscle!

I imagine the stereotypical sport of the Uk is probably Cricket, which must look really odd to Americans.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
assortedboxofchick at 6:09AM, June 3, 2010
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Cricket is odd to Americans. Two guys face off one with a couple a sticks behind him and the one guy tries to knock the other guys sticks down and then they do a dance. I have no idea what the rules are or how it's played. The biggest sport here must be football (soccer) and I guess so because the world cup starts soon and England's first game is a week from Sunday and they are playing the U.S. It will be a divided house here! I have bought a flag from each to fly in the front. If America wins we get eggs on our house. The fever is massive. We only moved here just after the world cup ended in 2006 and there were still the odd flags hanging about and Dan said nobody here was patriotic and hung flags like in America but it seemed as if he didn't know what he was talking about. Nowdays, cars just drive by with those England flags on the windows like they do in America. I've really got to learn how to post photos on here because I would show you that the English flag is not in fact the British flag which Americans think is the English Flag. It's called the St. George's cross and it's all white with a big red cross with horizontal/vertical bars.
where were we?
Oh yes I need to read the previous advice about how to upload photos on this forum! I used the excuse of having an unruly seven month old on my lap, but now it's a six month old. How did he do that? It's been a long time since I've updated.
bye for now
Mrs vast, who is going to get a profile picture
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM

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