Friday, October 16, 2009

Sehr geehrte(r) Herr/Frau Doktor(in) Professor(in)

I continue to maintain a little friendly distance with my organ teacher here. I've been experimenting with signing my emails "--Liz" rather than "Elizabeth Paley," and with varying the more formal closing, "Mit freundlichen Gruessen," with the snappier "Beste Gruesse" and "Freundliche Gruesse," but at this early point in our relationship (five months of email, one phone call, one two-hour lesson, and a two-page German-to-English translation), there's just no getting around that formal introductory greeting, "Sehr geehrter [title] [name]" (Very honorable [title] [name]). I have admittedly been dropping the "Herr" and "Doktor" bits, going just for "Professor," which has felt closer to my informal American style. Still, for one-sentence responses (e.g. "yes, 10am Monday works for me"), it would be nice not to have to type out the "Sehr geehrter Professor" phrase. And as I continue always to be "Sehr geehrte Frau Paley," despite my "--Liz"s, we're clearly not yet at the informal "Lieber [title] [name]" (Dear [title] [name]) stage.

This seems like a great opportunity for an abbreviation, but typing "S.g.H.D.P.[name]" looks crude rather than speedily formal. Perhaps after the next lesson...

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