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Old 17-05-13   #1
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Proper Way of Formally Addressing a South Indian?


Which part of a South Indian's name should be used to address him/her in a formal, respectful manner, particularly those who have a Christian name of western origin? If "South Indian" is too unspecific, please break it down by region, society or race.

For example, if the full name is John Selvamani (I think that's a Tamil name) or Anthony Joseph, etc. and I want to address him in a personal dialogue as Mr/Dr.XYZ without citing his full name, which part of his name should be used in place of XYZ?

I have this vague idea that the first name is commonly used, e.g., Dr.John or Mr.Anthony whereas, in a western society, the proper form would be Dr.Selvamani or Mr.Joseph. Could some members please provide enlightenment?

Last edited by Pimpom; 17-05-13 at 02:58 PM. Reason: Slight change of wording for better clarity
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Old 17-05-13   #2
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Re: Proper Way of Formally Addressing a South Indian?

first name is fine most of the times.
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Old 17-05-13   #3
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Re: Proper Way of Formally Addressing a South Indian?

Some people use the last name (like Mr Kumar/kapoor) for addressing some one while others use the first name
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Old 17-05-13   #4
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Re: Proper Way of Formally Addressing a South Indian?

^^ he's talking of south indians.
no kumar/kapoor there.
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Old 17-05-13   #5
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Re: Proper Way of Formally Addressing a South Indian?

First name.
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Old 17-05-13   #6
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Re: Proper Way of Formally Addressing a South Indian?

If he calls you pick it up and be like "Enna da Macchan!"

Just kidding, usually First name will suffice, if he is older add sir or just use Mr. followed by last name.
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Old 18-05-13   #7
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Re: Proper Way of Formally Addressing a South Indian?

Thanks for all the replies, but I think some of you missed my point. In a diversified society like India taken as a whole, any form of address may be acceptable or at least tolerated even if it's incorrect. What I want to know is the correct one to use with a Mr. or Dr. prefix for a South Indian, not what is merely also acceptable or tolerable. Under certain circumstances, using the wrong form may leave a bad impression.

To give another example: A Bengali lady doctor named Sujata Mukherjee should be addressed as Dr.Mukherjee. "Dr.Sujata" may be acceptable in some circles but it's not really the proper one. (Friends and close associates may just call her "Sujata", but that's a different matter).
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Old 18-05-13   #8
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Re: Proper Way of Formally Addressing a South Indian?

Many people in the south would consider calling their last name offensive . First name is the best choice
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Old 21-05-13   #9
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Re: Proper Way of Formally Addressing a South Indian?

Originally Posted by BORN2RACE View Post
Many people in the south would consider calling their last name offensive
lolwut?
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Old 21-05-13   #10
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Re: Proper Way of Formally Addressing a South Indian?

last names are usually indicative of caste/clan
so first names are common
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Re: Proper Way of Formally Addressing a South Indian?

YEP if your from a higher caste and you call the last name (caste name)of a lower caste person then your in trouble mate.....
Also so people use fathers name as last name so when you call fathers name loud in he open to call him many consider that as the rudest thing to do
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Old 23-05-13   #12
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Re: Proper Way of Formally Addressing a South Indian?

First name is the safest way. In most of the cases, the other names are derived from parents', village name, house name, caste etc. etc. and hence not preferred.
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