The different meannings of "mate." How do you use it?
In a recent post (Irish logic) I made a point about ethnic jokes and got the response: "Get your neck in mate." This got me thinking about the various uses and meanings of address terms such as 'mate' and 'pal', especially since they are not used where I come from. In fact, growing up in Northern Ireland, the only time I would hear the word 'mate' as a term of address was from the mouths of British soldiers who stopped us at checkpoints etc. As kids, I remember if we playacted "the brits" (as they were known) we would just have to throw in the term 'mate' to make it clear who we were parodying (even if our fake English accents did come out like a cross between an Australian and a German!). I understand that the terms can be used in various ways depending on context, tone etc. They would also appear to be 'classed' terms. i.e. you wouldn't expect politicians to use them, etc. But what do you think about these terms and their useage? Do you use the term 'mate' or 'pal', and if so how? Is it to show (class) allegiance? Perhaps to encourage someone? Maybe even to aggressively make a point? Perhaps it sometimes means "You are no better than me. You may think yourself superior, but I am just as good as you." How do you emply such terms and do you consider them a good way of making a point?