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Baby vs. Counsellor to the Court

Teacher P., who is American, calls me Baby. Good for her. There is something democratic about this address, something egalitarian (unless, of course, the term is being used in a sexist way).
Now, just for the record:
  • Teacher P. and I have not met in person. The class is online, and P. used the Baby in a written comment on my home work;
  • By the look of her photo P. is young enough to be my daughter;
  • I am by no means the youngest in the class. Most of my fellow students seem to be in their twenties or thirties.
Baby. We are more formal in Austria, don't even use first names easily. It is not Franz and Liesl but Herr Mair and Frau Müller (Mr. Mair, Mrs. Müller), at least until the first drink. If a person has a title, academic or occupational, we use it - instead of the name. Herr Mair becomes Herr Magister (Mr. MA), Frau Müller becomes Frau Doktor (Mrs. PhD); the school staff goes by Herr Professor and Frau Direktor. The neighbor across the street is Herr Hofrat (Mr. Counsellor to the Court), a title given to him by the government. There is no court in Austria, hasn't been one since WWI ended in 1918. There are no more dukes and princesses, no earls and emperors. The monarchy is dead. On lives its hierarchical thinking.


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