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Orianna2000
01-25-2012, 10:06 PM
My MC is a Swedish woman living in Paris, 1880s, and occasionally she's referred to as "Mademoiselle"--the French term for "Miss". Another character is Italian, but rather than calling him "Monsieur", he is referred to as "Signore"--which is Italian for "Mister". Both are opera singers, but the Italian character is a famous baritone, while the MC is only just beginning her career. Now I'm wondering if this is a discrepancy.

Would he be called "Signore So-and-So" instead of "Monsieur So-and-So," just because he's a famous Italian singer, perhaps to show respect to his origins? And if he is called "Signore," ought the woman to likewise be called by the Swedish term for "Miss"? I would much prefer to call her "Mademoiselle" but I don't want readers to wonder why she's addressed in French, but the man is given his Italian honorific. Should I change his to "Monsieur" or is the discrepancy allowable because she's not yet famous?

DeleyanLee
01-25-2012, 10:11 PM
Well, per The Phantom of the Opera, the Italian prima dona and lead baritone were referred to as Signore and Signora, whereas the French people were referred to by the French honorifics. Tons of people haven't been confused by this in all the years of the musical, the book, the movies, etc.

Siri Kirpal
01-25-2012, 10:51 PM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

The way you have it is fine. Since the lady isn't as well known, they might very well say "Mademoiselle" rather than Signora...especially since she isn't Italian. No need to confuse the issue with the Swedish word for Miss, which most people in France wouldn't know anyway.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal, former opera star wannabe

Orianna2000
01-25-2012, 11:48 PM
Okay, thanks.

KatieJ
01-26-2012, 01:59 AM
I agree, the way you have it is fine. They wouldn't know the Swedish, but might want to use the Italian to honor/impress the star.

Orianna2000
01-26-2012, 02:08 AM
Thanks. I liked using "Signore" for the Italian singer, so I'm glad the consensus is to keep it. :)

I'll keep the Swedish singer as "Mademoiselle".

WriteKnight
01-26-2012, 08:26 AM
Everyone I know, addressed our French fencing master as Monsieur or "Maitre" . We addressed our Italian Master as Signore. It seemed to go better with their last names. This, from native English speakers, and Spanish speakers both.

fdesrochers
01-27-2012, 03:50 AM
Honorifics may be dependant on the person addressing them as well; this may help differentiate the cultural background of the speaker to the person addressed as well.

A french native may still use madame (for a married woman, an older woman, or a woman of 'matronly' demeanor). Mademoiselle is reserved more for younger women, or more familiar relations (ie a teacher may call a student mademoiselle, unless they know she is married). If signora is relative to her occupation, someone more intimately familiar with her and her profession may use that honorific.

The same would apply to men in relation to the language of choice (monsieur or signore), depending on the speaker and audience.

The difference in deference would be in how other reacted to them, or the expectations these characters had of others. A famour (possibly prima dona-ish) character would have more exacting standards on social etiquette, expectations, etc.

Orianna2000
01-27-2012, 04:11 AM
Honorifics may be dependant on the person addressing them as well; this may help differentiate the cultural background of the speaker to the person addressed as well.

A good point. I'll keep that in mind, thanks.