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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

FAQ re: Sra

Is Sra your real name?
No, it is a nickname.

Where did it come from?
It's an abbreviation of my real name, and was given to me by my best friend in high school. He had a talent for imitating foreign accents and for inventing completely original accents. (He once convinced a native Scottish lady that he also hailed from Scotland.) Sra stems from one of his original accents in which he enjoyed putting the emPHASis of words on the wrong sylLABle. Sra quickly became my nickname among friends, and it carried over into college, where it was adopted by my various roommates throughout my college career. Some friends still call me Sra in real life, and I decided to keep using it as my online name.

How is it pronounced?
It is monosyllabic and rhymes with "bra". Some people mistakenly pronounce it as "Shra", after the pronunciation of the /sr/ combo in Sri Lanka. But the S is just a regular English S-sound, and not a SH-sound. Some people have a hard time not adding a syllable between the S and R (sir-RAH), and that's ok too, but it's not the preferred pronunciation.

Does Ian call you Sra?
No. He prefers not to address me by any name at all, although he will call me Honey, Sweet-pea, My Petal, and other such nauseating terms of endearment (I admit I do the same for him offline, though I have no qualms about calling him Ian to his face). He will use my real name when talking ABOUT me to other people, although I sense that he is uncomfortable even doing that.

We have a different attitude about names. I view the use of a name as a showing of respect. If I address you by your name, particularly if I insert your name where it otherwise might not be necessary to say (as opposed to saying your name to get your attention), you know I am showing you respect. I am saying, "Not only do I remember your name, but I like you as a person, and will address you by your given title." Ian, on the other hand, views the use of a name as a mode of expressing anger. Perhaps he got a little too much of the full-name treatment from his folks when he was a naughty young lad. I've had to learn to accept that he won't honor me by using my name, and he's had to learn to accept that I'm not angry with him when I use his name.







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20 comments:

Natalie said...

ok...i have just said sarah pretty much every time i've seen sra. not sure why that is. i just assumed i guess.

oh...did you ever get the bookmarks? maybe you've mentioned them, but i have been a hopeless case about checking blogs and emails lately. i could have very easily missed it.

Karen said...

My fiance uses my real name so rarely that it usually turns me on when he does.

But I'm weird like that.

Sra said...

Natalie, Yes, I got the bookmarks, thanks very much. I sent you a thank you postcard (as I am wont to do), but who knows if it will make it to Turkey before you end up moving to the States :) They are quite lovely, and I'm very pleased to have some proper bookmarks so I can stop using receipts and ticket stubs.

Karen, I wonder if I would be turned on too... I don't think Ian has EVER addressed me by my name, so I wouldn't know. ;)

sovknight said...

I remember that first night we met up in RL and chatted at the coffee house for several hours, you told me that if you used someone's name in conversation it meant you respected them and liked them. I also recall that as we left, we had a brief goodbye in the parking lot and you addressed me by my name specifically. I always felt good about that.

I think the lack of using names in a relationship is definitely a guy thing. I know I tend to use pet names with girlfriends. Typically "babe" or "hon" or such. I rarely, if ever, use their proper name. It just sounds weird after you've become familiar with someone to address them that way. Too formal, maybe. I also understand that women don't see it that way. I think it's another one of those quirks between the sexes.

B.R. said...

Since I haven't heard my first name pronounced correctly since I was a teenager, basically, I'm quite a fan of onomastic silence altogether.
Those with uber-sensitive ears tend to ignore the content of an argument on account of shabby form.
It is my experiential understanding, however, that an active use of the first name, among close couples at least, is simply not necessary. Cognitively, this remains to be proven. My personal opinion states that a lack of onomastics is a declaration of closeness.
Those who prefer 'economy of language' might concur.

Exlempli gratia:
-Thanks, You, nameless person, for making dinner and listening to my quotidian narratives day in, day out without complaining.
-Touche, You.

B.R. said...

Also, it makes sense why some of your readers would have a hard time reading 'Sra' monosyllabically. "S" and the liquid "r" would have a hard time residing together without a 'schwa' in-between. Which then would make your name bisyllabic?
Es reicht jetzt mit dem Shop-talking!

Sra said...

@ Sov: That's interesting, I didn't consider the name thing as being a guy thing/girl thing, but you might be on to something. One of my exes was also rather reluctant to use my name, so there could be a pattern. Of course, it also could be a pattern of relationship status and not sex.

I don't remember calling you by your name that night, but I'm not surprised that I did. It comes naturally when the respect is real.

@ B.R.: I'd be curious to hear the correct pronunciation of your name. I remember I missed the very first class I had with you on account of a funeral, and thus I missed your introduction of yourself. When considering how your name might be pronounced, I remember debating with myself whether your last name might rhyme with a certain cut of steak.

Anyway, it's hard to expect people without your native accent to say your name properly. I have a close Bosnian friend who calls me "Sah-rah", with a Spanish-like R that flits against the roof of the mouth. Sometimes the S is a Z. I'm sure I likewise butcher the pronunciation of her name. But I think it would sound even stranger if she pronounced my name with an American accent and everything else with a Bosnian accent. Maybe we don't have set pronunciations of our names. Maybe it depends what language it's being spoken in.

I am guilty of ignoring content due to shabby form. Both in reading and in listening. This could be bad news for law school. Lawyers can be such terrible writers.

I think there is credence to your opinion that lack of onomastics denotes closeness. (Thanks, You, for teaching me this delightful new word which I had heretofore ne'er heard.)

It is quite clear at this point in the comment that economy of language is not something that I am particularly skilled at practicing.

As to the schwa, sometimes I wonder if the difference between there being a schwa and not being a schwa is a psychological matter. I don't know if that makes any sense or not. But sometimes I feel like a syllable would be pronounced the same whether you phonologically designate the presence of a schwa or not. Maybe it's a matter of how quickly a syllable is said. Schwa or not, I definitely think there are two ways of saying Sra, thus begging the question of mono or bisyllabicity.

/blather

tauns said...

I had never really thought about a name thing. I usually call my husband "Love" or "daddy" (to the kids) and he usually calls me "sweetie" or "mommy" (to the kids). It isn't often that my real name is uttered from his lips to me.

By the way, I had always thought you pronounced it how you said. I actually knew a girl named Sara that would go by Sra at times, so I think that is how I linked it. If I hadn't known her, I think I would have went with the "SH" sound as well.

amyeliz said...

Living in Miami, I of course looked at Sra, as the abbreviation for Seniora. I never considered it being a shortened version of your first name, so thanks for the clarification.'

The nickname thing was on my mind last night. I'm going through a break-up, and am now calling my boyfriend by his first name, instead of the endearing nickname, I usually use. Calling him by first name feels more than weird.

Claire said...

I'm not much of a proper name person, although I'm not overly fond of pet names or sweet nothings, either. Generally speaking, I will either create a nickname for the people with whom I speak (a gift appreciated more by some than others - and usually bestowed upon Real Friends® and RMWF - Random Miscellaneous Work Friends), or by their full name (e.g. "Excuse me, Robert, do you have any idea when capital budgets are due?").

I agree with Sra that addressing a person by name adds gravity and respect to one's conversation. My friends know that if I pause, use their name, and lock eyes, I am being serious (or trying to distract them while I steal their fries/drink/wallet).

Sra said...

Tauns: I'm a fan of "Love" as an endearment term as well. It sounds so quaint and a little bit British.

Amy: I'm sorry about the breakup, truly. It's always difficult. I believe one of the times, if not the only time, one of my ex boyfriends called me by my real name, it was as we were parting after the breakup talk. My name never felt so heavy as it did that day.

Claire: I'll remember to keep my hand on my wallet when I hear you say my name ;)

Brittany said...

My husband and I are the same way about names....I can't remember the last time I heard him say mine...

Trovan said...

What's in a name? A rose...something...something...something...

Anyway, I usually call my wife (Tauns) 'Sweet-heart.' Sometimes 'Sweetie.' But I call her by her name quite a bit as well. I guess I'm the oddball (which, coincidentally, is her pet name for me)

I always pronounced 'Sra' correctly.

Leave it to a language fanatic to use a nickname that breaks English morphology rules.

Sra said...

Touche.

heidikins said...

New word found, looked-up, learned and loved. Thank you B.R., Sra, Bunsip and The Internet in general.

I love nicknames...my two that have stuck are heidikins (obviously), and Du. Love them both. :o)

xox

heidikins said...

New word found, looked-up, learned and loved. Thank you B.R., Sra, Bunsip and The Internet in general.

I love nicknames...my two that have stuck are heidikins (obviously), and Du. Love them both. :o)

xox

Sra said...

I remember calling you Du! Du-heidi!

heidikins said...

New word found, looked-up, learned and loved. Thank you B.R., Sra, Bunsip and The Internet in general.

I love nicknames...my two that have stuck are heidikins (obviously), and Du. Love them both. :o)

xox

heidikins said...

New word found, looked-up, learned and loved. Thank you B.R., Sra, Bunsip and The Internet in general.

I love nicknames...my two that have stuck are heidikins (obviously), and Du. Love them both. :o)

xox

Claire said...

I'm not much of a proper name person, although I'm not overly fond of pet names or sweet nothings, either. Generally speaking, I will either create a nickname for the people with whom I speak (a gift appreciated more by some than others - and usually bestowed upon Real Friends® and RMWF - Random Miscellaneous Work Friends), or by their full name (e.g. "Excuse me, Robert, do you have any idea when capital budgets are due?").

I agree with Sra that addressing a person by name adds gravity and respect to one's conversation. My friends know that if I pause, use their name, and lock eyes, I am being serious (or trying to distract them while I steal their fries/drink/wallet).

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