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What's the Point of "Ser" Instead of "Sir"


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#1 MadKingDavid

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 12:29 PM

So what's the point of using "ser" instead of "sir?"  We all know what it means, so why not use the original?  I mean he doesn't use "keng" instead of "king" or "lard" instead of "lord."

 

"Look, it's Lard Lannister coming to save King's Landing!"   :lmao:



#2 Lord Thornhart

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 12:32 PM

I asked this in the small questions thread before and was told it's basically to sound more unique while also having the same impact as the actual word. Like Maester. And of course there are a lot of familiar names with spelling variants.



#3 joluoto2

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 12:36 PM

The Westerosi can't spell things properly.



#4 Universal Sword Donor

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 12:38 PM

Same reason the English spell aluminum, color, and many other words wrong.



#5 Chebyshov

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 12:39 PM

Look, it's Lard Lannister coming to save Keng's Landing!"   :lmao:

 

Fixed it for you  :D

 

It's the same deal as "southron," isn't it?



#6 Barristan the G.O.A.T

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 12:39 PM

Same reason the English spell aluminum, color, and many other words wrong.

And the most ignorant comment of the day goes to.......



#7 Slender Aimry Hill

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 12:39 PM

It's not quite the same as lard or keng (hilarious as your examples are), as messer is actually one historically valid way of translating the English 'sir'. Master to maester is a better comparison. A little continental touch which reinvents the word and the concept...

 

It IS a little exhausting though in some ways! In my day to day work I have reason to write about various knights (mainly 20th cent academics not mail clad warriors sadly), and it's all I can do to avoid tripping up...



#8 The Ned's Little Girl

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 12:40 PM

Tolkein once made the point that an alternate world should still have enough elements that are familiar enough for people to be comfortable with. If the world is too strange they might pay more attention to that than the story.

#9 Waylin Stark

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 12:42 PM

Same reason the English spell aluminum, color, and many other words wrong.

 

Sarcasm or genuine ignorance?

I swear we need a sarcasm font.



#10 HelenaAndTheMachine

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 12:43 PM

And the most ignorant comment of the day goes to.......

Ha, beat me to it! :D
There is an SSM on it, where he elaborates a little and mentions something about not wanting people to see "Sir" whatshisface and associate with Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table style knights.

#11 HelenaAndTheMachine

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 12:44 PM

 
Sarcasm or genuine ignorance?
I swear we need a sarcasm font.

We have one. Comic Sans MS

#12 Chebyshov

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 12:44 PM

 

Sarcasm or genuine ignorance?

I swear we need a sarcasm font.

 

Well, Comic Sans is an option...



#13 Lady Fevre Dream

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 12:46 PM

So what's the point of using "ser" instead of "sir?"  We all know what it means, so why not use the original?  I mean he doesn't use "keng" instead of "king" or "lard" instead of "lord."

 

"Look, it's Lard Lannister coming to save King's Landing!"   :lmao:

 

I'm sorry, but now I'm hearing A Fish Called Wanda, Look.......it's, Kkkkkken, cccoming to kkkkkkill me.  :lmao:



#14 Grody Brody

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 01:06 PM

"Southron" is a real word though, although you're supposed to say it like "SUTH(e)ren", rather than "sowth-ron". There was probably some old word "southeren" which got contracted different ways in different parts of England.

 

Source: I made it up



#15 Universal Sword Donor

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 01:18 PM

 

Sarcasm or genuine ignorance?

I swear we need a sarcasm font.

 

Sarcasm peppered with a small flavoring of seriousness.



#16 RumHam

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 01:25 PM

Martin employs a simple but effective technique, IMO, to make the his world familiar enough to be inviting, yet sufficiently "apart" from our world to preserve Westeros's integrity as a fantasy realm with its own fictional history. What he does is to simply manipulate the spelling of names and certain nouns, or replace key nouns with invented cognates.

Almost immediately a reader is confronted with the term, "Ser," and easily recognizes this as an equivalent of the familiar "Sir." Common names are similarly manipulated ("Eddard"=Edward, the double-d'd "Robb", etc.), and certain critical terms are altered altogether with invented cognates ("sept"=church). The result is something of a "slanted rhyme" effect whereby Martin's world sounds and feels "medieval" yet stays safely sequestered from Earthly history. 

To me, there's more than a superficial "fiddling-with-spelling-to-make-it-different" going on here. For example, by simply changing the spelling of "Sir" to "Ser," Martin slants this honorific title in such a way as to decouple it, so to speak, from associations he wants to avoid -- readers see "Ser" and understand "knighthood" and "feudalism," but leave behind the unwanted King Arthur-ish baggage that the s-i-r spelling brings with it.

 

 

 

http://www.goodreads...ork-or-are-they



#17 HelenaAndTheMachine

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 01:27 PM

 
 
http://www.goodreads...ork-or-are-they

^^this is the one I was referring to

#18 HouseHarrison

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 01:28 PM

GRRM has things in the book to give Westeros in its "own" culture. It's why names are often spelled so differently as well.



#19 theriveryeti

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 01:29 PM

"Pease" is the weirdest example to me.  



#20 MadKingDavid

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 01:33 PM

Oh wow!  This has developed into such a great thread!  Thank you everyone!  

I asked this in the small questions thread before and was told it's basically to sound more unique while also having the same impact as the actual word. Like Maester. And of course there are a lot of familiar names with spelling variants.

Thanks. I actually thought that it was a real word, an older version of "master," the way that "daemon" is an older version of "demon," but my Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary doesn't contain it.  It does seem like a logical variant of "master" though. 

 

The Westerosi can't spell things properly.

I got a good chuckle.  Thanks! 

 

Same reason the English spell aluminum, color, and many other words wrong.

That make me laugh too.

 

 

Fixed it for you  :D

 

It's the same deal as "southron," isn't it?

Okay, Keng's Landing was just hysterical!! Of course that sounds like where the Klingons landed...  :lmao:

As in Tolkien's southrons with the oliphant?  Never heard of 'em.   :D Actually I'm listening to LotR in the car on CD and just passed the whole oliphant scene earlier this week. 

 

And the most ignorant comment of the day goes to.......

I think he or she was just making a wee joke, although the lines of the previous poster's comment about the Westrosi.  

 

It's not quite the same as lard or keng (hilarious as your examples are), as messer is actually one historically valid way of translating the English 'sir'. Master to maester is a better comparison. A little continental touch which reinvents the word and the concept...

 

It IS a little exhausting though in some ways! In my day to day work I have reason to write about various knights (mainly 20th cent academics not mail clad warriors sadly), and it's all I can do to avoid tripping up...

I'm glad you enjoyed it!  Hey, those aren't 20th century silly English kuh-nig-uts, are they?   :lol:

 

Tolkein once made the point that an alternate world should still have enough elements that are familiar enough for people to be comfortable with. If the world is too strange they might pay more attention to that than the story.

Ooh, excellent reference!  Still, every time I see "ser" I think of "sear" and it makes me wonder if someone's going to burn.  Of course in A Song of Ice and Fire, that's actually probably just around the corner...  :D

 

 

I'm sorry, but now I'm hearing A Fish Called Wanda, Look.......it's, Kkkkkken, cccoming to kkkkkkill me.  :lmao:

Wow, I'm really getting old.  My memory isn't what it used to be.  Here I just did two Monty Python references but about a Fish Called Wanda can recall only that it had John Cleese and that it was funny.  Of course in fairness, I have seen Monty Python on and the Holy Grail many times, but A Fish Called Wanda only once. 

 

"Southron" is a real word though, although you're supposed to say it like "SUTH(e)ren", rather than "sowth-ron". There was probably some old word "southeren" which got contracted different ways in different parts of England.

 

Source: I made it up

Apparently your made up version is pretty close to the truth.  According to my Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary it actually is pronounced SUTH-ron, and it originated in Scotland as a term for the English.  

 

Hey, is it okay for a Scot to say that the English can't pronounce anything right?   :P