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RFV discussion: July–October 2012[edit]

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Any comments? --Æ&Œ (talk) 05:07, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

It seems to be more common in English books than French ones, but searching for the phrase the one citation already in the entry uses, google books:"oui ma'ame", turns up 154 hits, of which at least 5 of the first 10 are valid (they're in French and not scannos): [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]. Do you think it's dated? - -sche (discuss) 05:25, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
It looks like a good entry for an attestable word to me. :) - -sche (discuss) 05:28, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
There are no relevant hits on Google groups, which indeed suggests that it is antiquated. This contraction is considerably rare ; I am betting that this is dialectal, but I cannot say for certain. (“bonjour ma’ame” or “non ma’ame” also turn up some hits.) --Æ&Œ (talk) 05:48, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
(after edit conflict) The original cite is suspect, since it's an anecdote about an Irish fellow in England trying to pass himself off as French: note the user of "shure" to show how bad his accent is. There still seem to be plenty of cites where one can eliminate imitation of English as the source of the spelling. I wonder if it's significant that all of the ones I looked at were servants trying to pacify someone in a superior position? Perhaps social changes have caused this form to disappear. Chuck Entz (talk) 05:57, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
Good catch! Another reason to write "ma'ame" might be to stress the African accent of a servant or a slave. Before accepting a citation, check carefully the origins of the speaker.
In France, nowadays, I know of only three ways to verbally abbreviate "madame":
  • by omitting the first "a" (m'dame, much like m'sieur). This the most common way.
  • by omitting the "ma" (dame). Used in rural areas and only before a proper noun (afaik, you would not say "bonjour dame!")
  • by omitting the "da" (mame, m'ame or ma'me). Idem.
For a native French, "ma'ame" is difficult to pronounce because of the two successive "a". Therefore, this is definitely not a natural way to abbreviate "madame". From my point of view, "ma'ame" denotes someone of foreign origin who makes the effort to pronounce "madame" correctly, but without success. — Xavier, 07:18, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm with Xhienne on this, it's really counterintuitive. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:54, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
@Xhienne: without knowing any old French, I would guess "ma'ame" is intended to be pronounced with a single "a", like English "ma'am" (which is /mæm/, not /mæ.æm/). - -sche (discuss) 17:55, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
Possibly. But in such a situation where the author wants to stress that the word has been altered by the speaker, it is very uncommon in French to write letters that should not be pronounced. I can quickly and easily find a lot of unambiguous examples on b.g.c. with "m'ame" or "ma'me" instead of "madame" (by unambiguous, I mean that these texts are not translations and the story happens in France, or the speaker is French).
This is much less obvious with "ma'ame". At first sight, among your examples, only #2 is unambiguous for me. #1 is a translation; in #3 the speakers have an English name; I have little context on #4 but it looks like a collection of novels of which the origin is unknown to me; #5 is not readable for me but its author has an English name. — Xavier, 22:47, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
The last one I linked to, I noticed, is the same as the one in the entry. So, it does seem to be a dated, nonstandard term. How's this? - -sche (discuss) 23:43, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
Resolved. - -sche (discuss) 22:09, 1 October 2012 (UTC)