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 Non-royal forms of address

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MelissaM



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PostSubject: Non-royal forms of address   Mon Nov 26, 2007 9:41 pm

I have a question about forms of address that might have been common in the early 14th century, so I'm hoping someone here at the Edward II forum might be able to help.

I'm working on a book set in Scotland in 1304 [I know, actually Edward I time frame], and I realized I have no form of address to use in dialogue when a servant addresses my female character. [I've avoided it up to this point, but I do think it's something I should know].

The character in question is an unmarried female who is staying with the family.

I've spent literally hours going through the reference books I have. I've ruled out plenty of words... "miss" won't work since apparently it didn't come into common useage until around 1670; "milady" 1840; ]. I've also 'googled' to no apparent help...

So, now I'm turning to the experts.. Smile I'd be grateful for any input you guys might have.

Thank you all so much!

Melissa Mayhue
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Alianore
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PostSubject: Re: Non-royal forms of address   Tue Nov 27, 2007 8:33 am

Hmm, I've been pondering this for a while (which is just a way of saying I'm not sure of the answer!) Embarassed Very Happy

It probably depends on the young woman's rank. Usually at this time, young women weren't called 'lady' or 'my lady' (in French, dame or ma dame) until they were married to a knight or a lord, or were the daughter of a king. However, if a servant speaks to her, maybe that's what s/he would say...

'Mistress' was presumably only for married women, but maybe 'young mistress'? As your novel's set in Scotland, Melissa, perhaps a Gaelic equivalent would work? There are probably dictionaries online.

It's so difficult to be sure what people called each other in this period - we have letters, so we know what they wrote, but there's little evidence for the spoken language...

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"Sans lui n'estoit rien fait, et par lui estoit tous fait, et le creoit li rois plus que tout le monde." Without him nothing is done and through him everything is done, and the king trusts him more than any other: Hugh Despenser the Younger and Edward II
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MelissaM



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PostSubject: Re: Non-royal forms of address   Wed Nov 28, 2007 2:01 am

Thanks, Alianore. Unfortunately, that's exactly what I was afraid of. hmmm... I may have to take a little poetic license with this one... darn. :-)

~ Melissa
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Melisende

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PostSubject: Re: Non-royal forms of address   Wed Nov 28, 2007 12:39 pm

I think either Mistress or Lady would be appropriate. Both can be used for both titled and non-titled women.

I wonder if, as your story takes place in Scotland, you could an equivalent "native" usage of either word.

Keep in mid that at that time, Norman French might have been used as well as Latin. As the royal court would have been fluent in NF, Latin and Gaelic.
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boswellbaxter

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PostSubject: Re: Non-royal forms of address   Thu Nov 29, 2007 12:59 am

Seems to me that I've read that a knight's daughter could be addressed by "Lady" and her first name. So I guess "lady" could work. And maybe "miss" could be used as the equivalent of "mademoiselle"? Just guessing.
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