Re: Arbitrary titles

Ruby Rohrlich (rohrlich@GWIS2.CIRC.GWU.EDU)
Sat, 2 Mar 1996 20:27:36 -0500

I think it's also a question of location. The west coast is much more
informal and the folks there were the first, I believe, to prefer the
first name. But it's gradually being picked up on the East Coast, too.
Ruby Rohrlich
On Sat, 2 Mar 1996, Ronald Kephart wrote:

> In message <> Amy
> Ward writes:
> > I know this is somewhat of an irrelevant topic but this apparently
> > bothers many of you "professors" out there. I am an undergrad and call
> > my professors what they wish to be called. On the first day the teacher
> > usually tells us what he/she prefers to be called, whether it be Dr.,
> > professor,or by their first names. Most of my professors prefer to be
> > called by their first names because they think the term professor is just
> > an arbritary title. The lack of formality really helps interaction
> Linguistically, the term "professor" is indeed arbitrary in the sense that there
> is no necessary iconic connection between its phonological shape and the concept
> which it symbolizes.
> On the other hand, and at the risk of sounding more elitist than I wish I were,
> the right to have the term "professor" or "doctor" added to our name is not
> (usually) arbitrary (forget about Newt Gingrich). Those of you who sweated as
> much as I did know what I'm talking about. Even so, I too prefer that students
> use my first name, especially those majoring in the program I teach in.
> Ronald Kephart
> Department of Language & Literature
> University of North Florida
> Jacksonville, FL 32224
> ph: 904-646-2580
> e-mail: