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Thread: Обращение на "вы"

  1. #1
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    Обращение на "вы"

    I'm somewhat puzzled by the differentiation within the etiquette rules:
    My book says that господин/госпожа & фамилия (I call it "advanced вы") are used in official cases or instances whereby the person is unknown.

    I know that вы & имя & отчество/ вы & полное имя / вы & сокращённое имя
    work with "вы". (I call it "simple вы")

    What about господин/госпожа & фамилия then? Are they HIGHLY official cases? When talking to gov. officials? At the airport etc.?
    What if I wanna talk to a doc (a new doc, a stranger)?
    What about my boss? вы & Сергей Иванович / Сергей / Серёжа?

    In other words, what exactly are those official situations?
    When do they actually use господин/госпожа & фамилия?

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    Почтенный гражданин dtrq's Avatar
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    Well, in theory, господин\госпожа is the same as mister\ma'am, Herr\Frau, monsieur\madame etc., but it's not used in everyday speech. Sad thing, Russia currently doesn't have any common honorific title. Bolsheviks replaced old form (господин\госпожа and сударь\сударыня) with товарищ, but after collapse of USSR it fell into disuse and nowdays you can hear awkward мужчина\женщина when someone addresses to a stranger.
    If people can see that you are foreigner you can use господин\госпожа when you would use its equivalent in your native language (I guess the rules are common for all European cultures?).

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    Well, my question is:

    Let's say you go to Dr. Сергей Владимирович Живаго

    How do I address him?
    If I happen to be another doc working with him...I'd use вы + Сергей Владимирович, Сергей or Серёжа.

    What if I were a new patient that is abs. strange to him and vice versa? Господин Живаго? (No "Доктор..." pls )

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    Почтенный гражданин dtrq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cumulus View Post
    Well, my question is:
    What if I were a new patient that is abs. strange to him and vice versa? Господин Живаго? (No "Доктор..." pls )
    Well, in this case, when addressing directly to him, usually it's just "доктор" (no name attached).
    If you know him well (he's your attending doctor) you say Сергей Владимирович.
    And if he's your good fellow and you are about same age you can say Сергей or Серёжа

    Господин\Госпожа can be heard in media, political debates, official papers etc, but common people rarely use it, mostly with irony\sarcasm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dtrq View Post
    Well, in this case, when addressing directly to him, usually it's just "доктор" (no name attached).
    If you know him well (he's your attending doctor) you say Сергей Владимирович.
    And if he's your good fellow and you are about same age you can say Сергей or Серёжа

    Господин\Госпожа can be heard in media, political debates, official papers etc, but common people rarely use it, mostly with irony\sarcasm.
    So, as a normal person, you barely get to use it? Other than talking to gov. officials at the airport etc.?

    How do students address professors?
    "вы" + имя + отчество? or господин? (in case of him being among the top profs. from committee XY)?

    Thx.

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    Почтенный гражданин dtrq's Avatar
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    Yep, "вы" and имя + отчество. Sometimes профессор, maybe (not very natural, imo).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cumulus View Post
    So, as a normal person, you barely get to use it? Other than talking to gov. officials at the airport etc.?

    How do students address professors?
    "вы" + имя + отчество? or господин? (in case of him being among the top profs. from committee XY)?

    Thx.
    It's an interesting question. It's a time-honored tradition in Russian to use вы and sometimes to not use it. Sometimes the borderline is very obscure, and when this borderline is not observed this may cause tensions.

    Not using it intentionally can be often understood as manipulation, which is another interesting aspect of it.

    In case with student to professor address - вы is a must, and using имя+отчество is a must - if we are talking about any institution starting from public school to grad school, i.e. any 'official' academic environment.
    One exception that I am thinking about would probably be something like language courses when your tutor can be younger or your peer, so the range of address can be anything from a short name to longer name to имя-отчество (and the educational environment is very informal here, so this borderline is very thin and sometimes doesn't exist at all),

    but Господин/Госпожа is very official and is never used when addressing professors. In fact this is used often to establish the distance between the parties, when such distance is necessary.
    One has to remember that Господин/Госпожа hasnt been used in Soviet times (товарищ was the universal address), and is now often viewed with suspicion by many.

    So students don't address professors as Господин/Госпожа - that would be too official and cause too much a distance between them, so in this case the Anglo-Saxon use of Mr./Ms is not the same as Господин/Госпожа. In the Russian academic environment use of имя-отчество is traditional and doubtless.

    to dtrq, PROFESSOR means just преподаватель ВУЗа или колледжа in AmerEnglish.

    to those who watched Pozner-Bezrukov interview - think about how they addressed each other, and you see that it's an important problem in Russia...

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    Quote Originally Posted by alexsms View Post
    It's an interesting question. It's a time-honored tradition in Russian to use вы and sometimes to not use it. Sometimes the borderline is very obscure, and when this borderline is not observed this may cause tensions.


    but Господин/Госпожа is very official and is never used when addressing professors. In fact this is used often to establish the distance between the parties, when such distance is necessary.
    One has to remember that Господин/Госпожа hasnt been used in Soviet times (товарищ was the universal address), and is now often viewed with suspicion by many.

    to those who watched Pozner-Bezrukov interview - think about how they addressed each other, and you see that it's an important problem in Russia...
    Thanks for your explanation.

    What would those "very official" situations with господин/госпожа be though? When you are talking to, say, a Госдума member? Police? МЧС?

    What would / or actually: do you do in those situations?

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