Bright Ideas and True Confessions: How and What to Do and Why

Everyday Language Use for the SCA


Quiz: Which of the following constructions is the most ridiculous?

  • Professor Mrs. Simons
  • Mr. Doctor Benjamin Spock
  • Dr. Mr. Seuss
  • Princess Lady Diana
  • Mr. Lord Jim
  • Mr. Sir Alec Guiness
  • Mr. Senator Gary Hart
  • Queen Madame Elizabeth
  • King Sir Arthur Pendragonson
  • Prince Sir Thorndike
  • Count Sir Billy-Bob
  • Princess Mistress Ravina
  • Mistress Lady Maria
  • Baron Sir Anything

Answer: They are all equally ridiculous.

I know German uses "Herr Doktor Professor" and that current Britain uses "Captain Sir" in the military. Any more exceptions to declare? They're not applicable to the period and language we're using. In English (which is the language of the Society) before 1600 (which is the period we're studying) I don't know of any double titles being used. If anyone does know of any, please write to me and show me documentation. (I will not consider "Duke Sir Master Horatio says so" as convincing documentation.)

Use the highest title you know unless a person requests otherwise. If a Viscount prefers "Sir" or a Countess prefers "Mistress" that's fine. A way you can manage to indicate both on occasion is to introduce a person as "His Excellency, Sir Rodrigo" or "His Grace, Sir Rolf." If you're addressing someone to his face you should just use the address form rather than the title anyway. To get someone's attention it's better to say "Your Grace" than "Duke Archie."

(There is a bit more on this in the section on heraldry.)



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