3 degrees of pronominal (in)formality

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by Istriano, Nov 25, 2011.

  1. Istriano

    Istriano Senior Member

    Hi, do you know any other language (or dialect) with three degrees of informality when it comes to personal pronouns (let's restrict it to the singular):

    Belgian Dutch:

    gij (informal)
    jij (semiformal~semiinformal)
    u (formal)

    Continental Portuguese and regional Brazilian Portuguese (Rio, parts of South, and Central and Upper Northeast, and the Amazon):

    tu (informal)
    você (semiformal ~ semiinformal)
    o senhor/a senhora (formal)

    Spanish in El Salvador and some other Central American countries (but not all):

    vos (informal)
    tú (semiformal ~ semiinformal)
    Usted (formal)

    Some Austrian dialects of German:

    du (informal)
    Ihr (semiformal ~ semiinformal)
    Sie (formal)

    In Portugal, and Flanders, as well is in Brazil, and parts of Central America, semiformal~semiinformal style is common in TV shows, it's the way many media people (and journalists) address people on the streets and so on...It is also used for marketing purpose (ads)...
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2011
  2. Maroseika Moderator

    Russian also has 3 degrees, but only in the written language:

    ты (ty - informal)
    вы (vy - formal)
    Вы (Vy - very polite).

    On oral speech the latter two of course are not distinguishable.
  3. DearPrudence

    DearPrudence Dépêche Mod (AL mod)

    French (lower Normandy)
    In French, only 2 degrees:
    tu (informal)
    vous (formal. Incidentally, also the (in)formal plural))

    Some people in rural areas use the third person "il/elle" (when they don't know if they should use "tu" or "vous"): personally I find it horrible.
  4. Rallino Moderatoúrkos

    In Turkish we have 3.

    Sen (Informal)
    Siz (Formal)
    Sizler (Super formal)

    The last one is used mainly for kings/queens/ambassadors... and you get the idea. (It's used in other contexts too, though.)
  5. Istriano

    Istriano Senior Member

    Oh, how could I forget Indic languages:

    tum (semiinformal ~ semiformal)
    ap (formal)

    And Marathi:
    • tuu तू "you"
    • tumhi तुम्ही "you" (plural or formal)
    • aapan आपण "you" (extremely formal)
    tui (you) (very familiar) tora (you) (plural)
    tumi (you) (familiar)
    tomra (you) plural
    apni (you)(polite)
    apnara (you) plural


    Informal तँ
    Semiformal timī तिमी
    Formal tapāī̃ तपाईं
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2011
  6. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Small correction: usted(es) isn't automatically capitalized in Spanish, even though the abbreviated forms Ud. and Uds. are.

    Italian has at least three "levels" of pronouns -- tu, voi and Lei -- but I'm not sure if the distinction between voi and Lei is one of formality, so much as a regional difference or a difference in the level of archaism. (voi was apparently the standard formal pronoun before the 20th century, whereas now it has mostly been replaced in this role by Lei.)
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2011
  7. jazyk Senior Member

    Brno, Česká republika
    Brazílie, portugalština
    Romanian has three: tu, dumneata and dumneavoastră.
  8. Istriano

    Istriano Senior Member

    Yes, I have heard the 3 level distinction in Northeastern Italy (around Udine), but not really anywhere else in Italy:

    tu (informal)
    voi (semiformal) [voi, signorina, siete molto fortunata]
    lei (formal)

    in some dialects of Croatian (and Slovenian):

    ti si bio/bil/bija (informal) you were
    vi ste bio/bil/bija(semiformal;the informal participle used with the formal pronoun) you were
    vi ste bili/bili/bili (formal) you were
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2011
  9. terredepomme Senior Member

    Human Language
    Why horrible? Don't we say, quite like the Portuguese, madame est servie? I think it's nice to hear, pity that we lost it.
  10. terredepomme Senior Member

    Human Language
    Korean has... many.
    너Neo - informal, only when the person has the same age as you and you are friends
    자네Jane - informal, when a superior addresses an inferior
    형Hyeong - to an older male by a younger male
    오빠Obba - to an older male by a younger female
    누나Nuna - to an older female by a younger male
    언니Eonni - to an older female by a younger female
    아저씨Ajjeossi - to an older grown-up male
    아줌마Ajjumma - to an older grown-up female
    당신Dangshin - formal, or informal according to context
    그대Geudae - formal, literary and romantic
    자기Jagi - "dear" or "honey"
    댁Daek - informal, a bit of distance or irony, often used by women for other women
    어르신Eoreusin - formal, when a young person addresses an older man
    And many, many more!
    Note that the pronouns in Korean in general do not play a big role as is the case in European languages... the 2nd-person pronoun is only reserved for certain context. We mostly call people by their roles or professions (mother, teacher, boss, etc) rather than a simple "you"...
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011
  11. 涼宮

    涼宮 Senior Member

    Sbaeneg/Castellano (Venezuela)
    Like Korean, Japanese uses a lot of personal pronouns, not only for ''you'' but also for ''I''. But Japanese pays more attention to formality in ''you'' and not gender, contrary to ''I'' which is also for gender. Japanese doesn't have 2 formalities like most languages, it has 4. Formal, informal, honorific and humble.

    あなたさま anatasama, extremely formal (Not usually used. More information about that pronoun here http://okwave.jp/qa/q3920325.html)
    あなた anata, formal (it would be informal when a wife addresses her husband)
    そなた sonata, somewhat archaic informal (when you are close to the listener)
    あんた anta, informal. (usually used when something annoys you, you are angry or simply don't want to sound too rude but not too friendly)
    おたく otaku formal. (A polite way of saying "your house", also used as a pronoun to address a person with slight sense of distance) (It turned into a slang term to refer to type of geek)
    君 kimi, informal (It is informal to subordinates; can also be affectionate; formerly very polite. Sometimes rude or assuming when used with superiors, elders or strangers)
    おまえ omae, very informal (Used by men with more frequency, but also used by women. Expresses contempt/anger, the speaker's higher status or age, or a very casual relationship among peers)
    てめー/てめえ temee, rude (Used when the speaker is very angry)
    貴様 kisama , extremely rude and hostile. (Almost always by men. Historically very formal, but has developed in an ironic sense to show the speaker's extreme hostility / outrage towards the addressee)
    貴下 kika informal (informal, to a younger person. Used by both genders)
    おんしゃ onsha, (formal, used to the listener representing your company)
    きしゃ kisha, formal (Similar to onsha)

    But like Korean, Japanese doesn't usually use personal pronouns in 2nd person or 1rst person, you say nothing or you add a title to the speakers' surname/name, like -sama, -san, -kun, -chan. You would use the personal pronouns if it's the first time you say something about the speaker, or you emphasize or want to be rude. However weird it may be, no, Japanese doesn't conjugate verbs per person like Italian or Slavic languages, in Japanese one deduces from context who speaks to whom, no pronouns are needed every second.

    There are more pronouns of course, Japanese has many. :)
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011
  12. tFighterPilot Senior Member

    Israel - Hebrew
    In Hebrew there's only
    Ata - usual, almost always used.
    Heinkha - very formal, sometimes used in written invitations that start with "You are invited to..."
  13. mataripis

    mataripis Senior Member

    In Old Tagalog: You(IKaw) (Informal) ,You( Sila) (Semi-informal), You(Kayo) (Formal). The Modern Tagalog (Pilipino) has only "YOU" (IKAW) .
  14. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Does heinkha vary according to gender as ata does?
  15. tFighterPilot Senior Member

    Israel - Hebrew
    Of course, gender and number. Heinkha, Heinekh, Heinkhem, Heinkhen. (ms,fs,mp,fp)
  16. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)

    informal (sg/pl): te - ti
    (less) formal: maga - maguk
    formal: Ön - Önök

Share This Page