Cross-Cultural Reporting and Honorific Titles

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To the Editor:

You report in "Spellings Joins Passage to India on Education" (April 19, 2006) that U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, on her recent trip to India, was “scheduled to meet with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Minister of Science and Technology Shri Kapil Sibal in New Delhi.”

The way that sentence in your article is written, it appears that you thought “Shri” is Kapil Sibal’s first name, as the names of other Indians in the article are not similarly prefaced. In actuality, “Shri” is a standard honorific akin to “Mr.” in Western society. (I’m venturing a guess that the error occurred because Mr. Sibal frequently refers to himself using that term.) This occurrence suggests the complexities of reporting in cross-cultural contexts.

Michael Korff
Arlington, Va.

Vol. 25, Issue 34, Page 37

Published in Print: May 3, 2006, as Cross-Cultural Reporting And Honorific Titles

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