Yes or yeah?

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Posted 3/22/2014 by Kluski in NSBR Board
 

Kluski
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Posted: 3/22/2014 6:09:53 PM
Am I old school when I teach my children and students 'yes' is for adults 'yeah' is for friends?


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Posted: 3/22/2014 6:39:45 PM
If so, I am old school as well.

In fact, I'll go a step further on the old school road and suggest that the "yes" is promptly followed by a "ma'am" or a "sir."

I know that there are geographically differences for this pattern of speech, and definite opinions on it's usage, but I live in and grew up in the south and it is considered common courtesy here.

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Posted: 3/22/2014 6:49:44 PM
As long as they say it clearly I have no problems with either way.


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gavinsmom
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Posted: 3/22/2014 7:21:30 PM
I prefer YES


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Posted: 3/22/2014 7:24:20 PM
yeah if for friends. Yes if for everyone else but especially those in an authoritative position, like you boss.


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Posted: 3/22/2014 8:35:42 PM
Both DH & I grew up saying "Yes, Ma'am" and "Yes, Sir" and that's what our kids have always said, although there are times, now that they are teenagers, that we have to remind them to put a Sir or Ma'am on it.

As a scout leader, I do correct the youth if they say "yeah" to me I will say it's "yes" or "yes, Ma'am".

FWIW, I'm on the downhill side of my forties, and *I* still say "Ma'am" and "Sir" to my parents and elders, as well as when speaking to clients on the phone at work.



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Posted: 3/22/2014 8:46:44 PM
I prefer them to say yes, but never said yeah was for friends. We also don't use sir/ma'am/miss here.






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Posted: 3/22/2014 8:53:15 PM
Generally yes with adults/authority figures/more professional or formal situations. Yeah is reserved for friends, casual events.

My parents never liked the formality of me calling them sir or maa'am... I only learned that from TV and it never took in our family.


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Posted: 3/22/2014 8:53:18 PM
yes

EastCoastPea
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Posted: 3/22/2014 8:54:22 PM
Oops. I meant to say I like yes. I don't think you're old school.

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Posted: 3/23/2014 9:34:35 AM
I also prefer yes to yeah. And when I call you, don't ever answer with 'What?'.




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Posted: 3/23/2014 9:36:57 AM
I can't stand yeah. It's yes, ma'am, or something similarly polite. It's never yeah or what!



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Posted: 3/23/2014 2:46:51 PM
I can't stand yes, but a polite yes ma'am or yes sir is just fine.

I always say yeah, or yep, or something derivative like that. It's never been an issue. Never even thought about it.









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Posted: 3/23/2014 3:04:01 PM

I also prefer yes to yeah. And when I call you, don't ever answer with 'What?'.



carole2k
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Posted: 3/23/2014 3:25:54 PM
Yes! I lived in the south years ago and although I live on the west coast now, I still say yes ma'am no ma'am, etc.

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Posted: 3/23/2014 3:28:55 PM
I don't like yeah either never did.

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Posted: 3/23/2014 3:30:02 PM
I never really gave it any thought, so most likely "yeah" doesn't bother me. Don't really see the big deal, I certainly don't think it is disrespectful or anything.

Not a fan of the "maam" or "sir". Sounds smarmy to me.

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Posted: 3/23/2014 3:39:43 PM

Not a fan of the "maam" or "sir". Sounds smarmy to me.


You're in Mass, right? That makes sense. It's not part of the culture there like it is here.

When I told my father "Yes, Sir," I was told never to call him "Sir". He was an enlisted man in WWII, and of this he was adamant.

But here? Totally different. Little bitty tykes are taught "Yes, Ma'am" and "No, Sir" when they are learning to speak. It is said in a tone of politeness to show respect and is important because our language has become less differential overall.






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schooby
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Posted: 3/23/2014 3:44:24 PM
Like most good Southern moms, I taught my children to always say "Yes, ma'am" and "Yes, sir" to their elders and superiors. It is a politeness that we take pride in, and my children (teens) notice it when someone does not use this form of respect.

I do realize it is a regional thing, but never realized how people in other parts of the country could interpret this show of respect. We were seeing a doctor in Cleveland, and my DD was answering his questions with "Yes, sir". In the middle of collecting her history, he stopped her, and asked her why she kept answering him with "sir". He thought it was a military thing. (He was from Asia, and had not been in the US very long) We both were shocked, and then explained it was a sign of respect for his station and being polite. It was actually kind of funny to watch him smile, puff up his chest with pride, and look at us with new eyes. Apparently, of the hundreds of patients he had seen, no one had shown him that kind of respect, even though I'm sure they were respectful of his expertise. Then, he told us that my DD reminded him of his own DD. We went from being yet another patient to becoming real people in his eyes. What a great lesson for DD in seeing how other parts of the country are different.

I still stay "Yes, ma'am", and "Yes, sir". It doesn't matter if it's on the phone, at the doctor's office, to the grocery store checkout lady, etc. I would say it's more common to hear it than to not hear it in daily life in my city.

And, we do say "Yeah", but it's more in casual conversation with friends and family.

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Posted: 3/23/2014 4:44:07 PM
I grew up in the South where yes mam and yes sir were used all the time.

I taught my kids to say yes and not yeah. I teach my 3 year old preschoolers to say yes or no thank you.

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Posted: 3/23/2014 4:52:10 PM

Not a fan of the "maam" or "sir". Sounds smarmy to me.


Definitely a cultural/geographical thing.

When I was a senior, a girl moved to our town from Louisiana. The teachers all thought she was being a smart-ass when she answered them 'Yes ma'am' & 'Yes sir'. And of course she wasn't - it's just how she was raised.




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Posted: 3/23/2014 5:09:54 PM

Not a fan of the "maam" or "sir". Sounds smarmy to me.


Definitely a cultural/geographical thing.


I swear, if you heard it from any one in my family, it wouldn't be meant as snarky. I promise. It was taught that it is a proper way to display respect. I would hate to think that my kids would be perceived poorly because of something I insist on.

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Posted: 3/23/2014 5:16:26 PM
As long as you don't spell it yah, I don't care if you say yeah.

FWIW, at least among my acquaintances in this part of the south, yes, ma'am and no, sir are much less common these days. I rarely hear it from students.


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Posted: 3/23/2014 5:24:48 PM
Not just yes, but yes please, or yes thank you. For the most part, at 13 she's got it down.


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Posted: 3/23/2014 5:29:03 PM
"Yes" for more formal situations: authority figures, in business, with strangers, etc.

"Yeah" more informal: close friends, family.

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Posted: 3/23/2014 5:35:21 PM
I try to always use yes no matter who I am talking to. Although I know a yeah has come out of my mouth a time or two.
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Posted: 3/23/2014 6:29:08 PM
Either or. The answer is the same.

Never sir or ma'am unless I am being snarky... and that's how it comes across when I hear it from others. It can be very disrespectful to say sir or ma'am... so it drives me crazy when I read that it's an automatic sign of respect. No it's not. The tone and general usage of any language shows respect... not some forced title (that not every superior deserves, by the way, you need to earn that). I'd be pretty weirded out if some child called me ma'am. Just call me by my first name... none of this forced formality that allegedly shows me respect.

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Posted: 3/23/2014 7:12:03 PM
I don't like "yes", it sounds so modern and vulgar. I make my kids say either "yea" or "aye".



Mary

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Posted: 3/23/2014 7:19:55 PM
I don't care as long as the tone is polite. Even "yes" with the wrong tone can be rude. I am a big fan of "please" and "thank you" though. Typically I say, "Yes, please" but I don't fault someone if they don't.

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Posted: 3/23/2014 7:52:17 PM

It can be very disrespectful to say sir or ma'am... so it drives me crazy when I read that it's an automatic sign of respect. No it's not. The tone and general usage of any language shows respect... not some forced title (that not every superior deserves, by the way, you need to earn that). I'd be pretty weirded out if some child called me ma'am. Just call me by my first name... none of this forced formality that allegedly shows me respect.


When a child says "Yes, Ma'am" to you in a polite tone and out of respect, and not because it's forced upon them, you'll understand.

Really, it's quite endearing. It makes people smile and the child learns a way to begin really communicating with adults since adults tend to treat that child with more respect as well.

You make it sound like Mommy Dearest is standing in the corner with a coat hanger ready to bash a poor kid for not getting it right.






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Posted: 3/23/2014 8:45:17 PM

I swear, if you heard it from any one in my family, it wouldn't be meant as snarky. I promise. It was taught that it is a proper way to display respect. I would hate to think that my kids would be perceived poorly because of something I insist on.


I would not think any less of your kids because I do understand the intention behind it.


Never sir or ma'am unless I am being snarky... and that's how it comes across when I hear it from others. It can be very disrespectful to say sir or ma'am... so it drives me crazy when I read that it's an automatic sign of respect. No it's not. The tone and general usage of any language shows respect... not some forced title (that not every superior deserves, by the way, you need to earn that). I'd be pretty weirded out if some child called me ma'am. Just call me by my first name... none of this forced formality that allegedly shows me respect.


It really pisses me off, but I agree with GrinningCat here. When it is just something that is ingrained since birth and it is said to everyone, it really doesn't come across as a sign of respect imo.




When a child says "Yes, Ma'am" to you in a polite tone and out of respect, and not because it's forced upon them, you'll understand.

Really, it's quite endearing. It makes people smile and the child learns a way to begin really communicating with adults since adults tend to treat that child with more respect as well.



I lived in the south for 7 years before returning to my Yankee home. I never did find it endearing.

Julie

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Posted: 3/23/2014 10:17:58 PM
Try saying yeah to a judge and see what happens !

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Posted: 3/24/2014 12:34:54 AM

I lived in the south for 7 years before returning to my Yankee home. I never did find it endearing.


Did you work with young children during that time, or was this something that felt odd when you heard it?

I didn't *get it* fully until I had been here a long time, had children and worked with children. That's when I finally got used to it. But then, I married a polite southern guy. I knew I'd have to adjust to all kinds of things. This is nothing!





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Posted: 3/24/2014 6:59:15 AM

Never sir or ma'am unless I am being snarky... and that's how it comes across when I hear it from others. It can be very disrespectful to say sir or ma'am... so it drives me crazy when I read that it's an automatic sign of respect. No it's not. The tone and general usage of any language shows respect... not some forced title (that not every superior deserves, by the way, you need to earn that). I'd be pretty weirded out if some child called me ma'am. Just call me by my first name... none of this forced formality that allegedly shows me respect.


Because I hear it so rarely here- when I do, it is often being said with some level of sarcasm. That's how it comes off to me anyway. When in the south- it's everywhere so it never crossed my mind that it is disingenuous. When I say that I find it awkward- it's simply because it isn't the norm here. I can see that others would feel otherwise.
My in-laws arE Indian, and the kids are usually taught to refer to adults as Auntie and Uncle- as a term of respect. I found it strange at first, because I don't even call my real aunts and uncles that. I'm used to it now, so it doesn't phase me.


Janeliz
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Posted: 3/24/2014 7:10:15 AM
Either one is fine for me around the house. We don't stand on formality. I do encourage my girls to speak clearly and politely to adults when out and about, though, so I would probably ask them not to use "yeah" if I heard them do so with others.

I don't insist on sir or ma'am at all. It doesn't bother me if kids use it with me, but I have heard adults just go nuts all over kids for not using sir or ma'am. Silly, IMHO.

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Posted: 3/24/2014 7:56:09 AM



You make it sound like Mommy Dearest is standing in the corner with a coat hanger ready to bash a poor kid for not getting it right.

Honestly, when I hear answers like "MY children do it" or "I insist they answer with sir or ma'am" in threads like this... it does sound like mommy dearest and that the kids will be punished for not following the arbitrary code to address people.


It really pisses me off, but I agree with GrinningCat here. When it is just something that is ingrained since birth and it is said to everyone, it really doesn't come across as a sign of respect imo.
Exactly. If it's just a reaction because that's what they were told to do for everyone, it's not really respectful. Respect is something that people earn versus an automatic response. That's why the "my kids have been taught to say that" and "they will address adults that way" responses say. Why not teach kids to be be kind and thoughtful to others without using arbitrary names like "sir" "ma'am" or the one I loathe the most "Miss Grinningcat"? The names do not denote respect alone, there is a lot more to respect than just using a generic name.

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Posted: 3/24/2014 8:15:06 AM
I never taught my kids any distinction between the two. I haven't noticed any issues with how they speak


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Posted: 3/24/2014 8:39:14 AM

I didn't *get it* fully until I had been here a long time, had children and worked with children. That's when I finally got used to it.


I'll be honest. I've lived in the south for sixteen years, I have children and work with children and, while I'm used to it, I don't really like it and didn't teach it to my own children. To me it seems a false display of respect, more about the parents' need to be seen as conforming to societal standards than anything else.

The only people I've known personally (here in Houston) who insist on their kids using sir/ma'am are very conservative, evangelical Christian, usually from a small town. Either that or they're African American (and it's only a small subset of that population that does it, at least at my school). And also to be honest, I haven't noticed that the kids at our school who do use sir and ma'am are overall any more respectful or better-behaved than those who don't. Respect is so much more than a simple word of address.

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Posted: 3/24/2014 9:35:09 AM

... it does sound like mommy dearest and that the kids will be punished for not following the arbitrary code to address people.

I'm sure that does happen, but those parents would overcontrol their children some other way if they didn't do that. In my experience, that's not the norm.



The names do not denote respect alone, there is a lot more to respect than just using a generic name.

In my experience, and that's key, it is used to denote respect to an elder person and is used appropriately as such.

You don't like it. Fine. You don't like a whole hell of a lot of things that people thousands of miles away from you do. It gets old.





Merge, Houston is a different ball of wax, and public schools in Houston are even more different. I completely believe what you say and would also find it a bit disconcerting.

I live in an area of small towns with many evangelicals, blacks, hispanics, asians, and transients. Not everyone speaks English, and many have very strong accents. These simple gestures translate across a lot of people in a simple way. But even in school here, it's too much all the time.






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anxiousmom
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Posted: 3/24/2014 1:30:24 PM
Just from my perspective, of course, but I am nothing like Mommy Dearest ready to do battle when the proper "ma'am" isn't issued.

I did just like most parents do, when my children learned to talk and/or interact with adults, I corrected them when they were rude, disrespectful or down right ugly. I taught them to be respectful in their interactions with adults. When they would say "yes" or "yeah" I would add a gentle "yes ma'am" or when at home a "excuse me" and they would say "yes ma'am." I modeled the behavior, I still say "ma'am" and "sir" when I talk to people; in particular those who are older or in a position of authority-but everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt and should be treated respectfully.

I get what you are saying in that people should earn the respect, and I completely agree. However, I also believe in treating everyone respectfully and one way I can do so is in the words I choose to address that person. By using what is geographically and culturally agreed upon terms, I convey my respect with my words.

I have taught that to my children. They are teens though, and perfectly capable of being snarky and ugly even when saying "ma'am." And when they do, they get called on it just as they would if they snarled "whatever" in that way that only a teen can do.

You can be generally respectful to everyone, and you can earn respect. When you earn it, there are a myriad of ways to show it, not just limited to the words you chose to use.





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