Letters: Mate, Asta, Outsourced 'Thank You'

Scott Simon dives into the listener mailbag. Topics include a recent essay on finding an American counterpart to Australia's "mate," the absence of the wire-haired terrier Asta in a feature on Nick and Nora Charles of Thin Man fame, and an "outsourced" thank-you note.

Copyright © 2005 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

SCOTT SIMON, host:

Time now for your letters.

Got many letters about my essay last Saturday about the one-day ban forbidding security guards in Australia's Parliament from using the word `mate.' I suggested we need a mate in American English, something that suggests/reflects a friendliness without resorting to the immediate and unearned deployment of first names. Many listeners suggested we already have some American equivalents of mate like `hon,' `y'all' and `guys.' Jonathan Wilson of Woodstock, Vermont, writes, `A viable American alternative to mate is "dude." It's not just for kids anymore.'

Also last week, we spoke with The New Republic's Christopher Orr about the DVD box set of "The Thin Man," six murder mysteries solved by Nick and Nora Charles. As Charles Levi of Houston notes, we failed to mention a crucial character in this series. `What?' he writes. `Not one word about Asta?' Well, I'm afraid, alas, Mr. Levi's correct. We did not mention Nick and Nora's wirehaired terrier. Our apologies. By the way, the actor dog who played Asta was really named Skippy.

And this just in: `Dear Mr. Simon, wishing you a good day. I am Asha Surella(ph), mailing on behalf of Mr. A.J. Jacob. I am his remote assistant. Mr. A.J. Jacob is happy that the interview went on well and he wants to thank you for this opportunity. He is also looking forward for it to be aired on NPR. Regards, Asha Surella, yourmaninindia.com.' And there is a PS: `It is my privilege to be communicating with a Peabody Award winner and distinguished correspondent of your stature.' How nice. I like this communication.

You or your remote assistant can contact us, too. Come to npr.org, click on `contact us.' Please tell us where you live and how to say your name.

Copyright © 2005 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: