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related to names

The write-up that encouraged us to respond about our names made me remember an issue. In Nigeria, names are important but something more important is the identifying of people by titles especially in public gatherings. While in the University i was sent by the editor of my hall press club to seek funds from an influential man . When i got there, in my naivety i asked to see Mr....Immediately i was sternly corrected by an assistant of his to adress him as not Mr but Chief.

This trend can tend towards the ridiculous. Sometimes one individual can be introduced as Chief, Dr, Barrister... all at once.Since i am now used to the ways of my kinsmen, i can tolerate the Chief, Dr part but for crying out loud, i cannot accept the use of Barrister as an adjective. It is a noun and should stay that way.Other titles you are likely to hear being used in Nigeria to address individuals if you visit are the following; Architect, Engineer, Pharmacist, Surveyor etc. A word of caution, do not tease if you ever encounter this situation. The consequences may be unpalatable to say the least. The last warning do not address a married woman without calling her Mrs....Failure to do so will make her elevated status of being married inconsequential.

In other countries do stuff like this exist? somebody please respond


jadefrank's picture

What's in a name?

Hi Efe,

It's interesting to hear about this practice of titles in Nigeria. And isn't it amazing what consequences exist for making a slip? In my experience in the United States, it is a bit more casual.

Though interestingly - the case of "Mrs." is a bit different. In my experience, women in this country are more concerned with the appearance of age than of marriage as an elevated status. Here the standard age for marriage is later and many women go to great lengths to appear much younger than they actually are (societal pressure to keep up with what the entertainment industry deems "beautiful"). So calling a woman "Mrs." is sometimes considered insulting as you are implying that they are old. Therefore the title "Ms." is the safest bet as you are not assuming anything. This title works for any woman whether she be single, married, divorced or widowed.

I hope to hear more voices on this issue.

Warm regards,

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